While buses are one of the safest modes for transportation and keep thousands of vehicles off of the road each year, bus rides don’t always occur without incident. In fact, in 2011 and 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that roughly 250 buses were involved in fatal accidents each year (245 in 2011 and 251 in 2012).
When an accident involving a bus occurs, the breadth of injuries that may occur is tremendous. Whether you’re a passenger on the bus or another motorist who was hit by a bus, get legal representation from our bus accident lawyers in San Diego so we can start working on your case.
Common Injuries in a Bus Accident
For anybody involved in a vehicle accident, one of the most common injuries is whiplash. Whiplash occurs when a vehicle stops or makes contact with a barrier suddenly and unexpectedly, causing the body to jolt forward and backwards. Whiplash may require medical treatment in some cases and may cause the person to miss work.
Other injuries may be more severe. In the event of a rollover, for example, a passenger may sustain spinal cord injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, or traumatic brain injury. This may necessitate surgery and long-term medical care and may have significant effects on earning capacity.
Injuries may be especially severe for occupants of other vehicles involved in the wreck, pedestrians, bicyclists and others. Whatever your status, if you suffered serious injuries because of a bus driver’s or other party’s negligence, our bus accident lawyers in San Diego can help recover damages you’ve suffered.
Determining the Cause of the Accident
Like all motor vehicle accidents, bus crashes can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes, the cause is independent of the bus driver, and can be blamed on another motorist. Other times, though, the actions of the bus driver may be to blame for the accident. Below are some potential causes of bus accidents.
- Driver aggression
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Illegal maneuvers
- Impaired driving
- Defective vehicle equipment
- Poor road conditions (snow, rain, etc.)
Our attorneys help you investigate the cause of the accident to determine which party or parties may be liable for your damages. We’ll collect evidence like police reports, eyewitness testimonies, medical records, bus repair records, accident reconstruction expert testimony and more, depending on your case.
Proving Liability After a Bus Accident
A bus is what’s known as a common carrier. A common carrier is a vehicle that has a duty to carry its passengers safely, as specified by law. According to California Code section 2100, “A carrier of persons for reward must use the utmost care and diligence for their safe carriage, must provide everything necessary for that purpose and must exercise to that end a reasonable degree of skill.”
If a common carrier does not exercise the proper level of responsibility in keeping passengers safe and if an accident occurs as a result, then the common carrier [bus driver and company] may be liable for any injuries or property damages.
If you’ve been in an accident caused by bus driver negligence or a defective bus part – such as a defective tire or defective brakes – then the bus company, bus driver, school district (if the accident involved a school bus) or defective product manufacturer may be liable for your injuries. Another driver who caused a wreck with a bus might be liable in some cases as well.
Think You Have Case? Speak with Our Lawyers in San Diego Today!
If you want to recover compensation for injuries or property damage, California Code 335.1 allows two years from the date of injury to do so. Our bus accident lawyers in San Diego can help you get started. Call Hiden, Rott & Oertle, LLP today at 619-296-5884 or use the form on our contact page to set up your free consultation.