Bus companies are recognized as common carriers. Under the law, common carriers have a legal obligation to provide the utmost duty of care to their passengers. Unfortunately, many bus operators fail to live up to this higher level of responsibility. When a bus company fails to properly train a driver or a bus driver fails to drive with care, innocent people can suffer the consequences. Injured victims and their families would be well advised to contact an experienced Lake Forest bus accident lawyer to better understand their legal rights and options.
Bus Accident Liability Issues
Bus companies can be held accountable for the injuries suffered by bus passengers. They are not, however, the only potentially liable party. Determining liability for a bus crash is important because injured victims can sue whoever was at fault for the accident. The list of potential at-fault parties in a bus accident case include:
- Bus operator: Was the bus driver exceeding the speed limit? Did he or she enter traffic without yielding the right of way? Did the bus driver make an unsafe lane change without checking the side mirrors? Was the bus driver distracted at the time of the collision? Bus drivers who are responsible for an injury accident may be held accountable for their negligence.
- Bus company: There are a number of ways in which a bus company can be held partially responsible for the crash. Did the company hire a driver who was unqualified or who has a history of negligent driving? Did the bus company fail to properly inspect and maintain the vehicle? Did the bus company require the driver to work long hours without a break?
- Other driver: Bus companies and bus operators are not responsible for every accident. Some collisions occur as a result of negligence on the part of another driver. Was one of the other drivers involved in the crash cited by the authorities for violating a vehicle code? Was the at-fault driver drunk, speeding, distracted or otherwise careless?
- Bus part manufacturer: Some accidents occur at the result of a defective auto part or mechanical malfunction. Defective brakes and tires, for example, can cause devastating bus accidents.
- Government liability: Sometimes, bus accidents occur as a result of dangerous or defective roadways. In such cases, the governmental agencies responsible for maintaining the roadways can also be held liable. Please remember that any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency must be filed within six months of the incident.
Determining liability is an important part of the claim process, but it can become complicated and convoluted. A skilled bus accident lawyer will stay on top of the official investigation to make sure that all of the responsible parties are held accountable for the injuries and damages caused.
Duty of Care
In some cases, the special duty of care that a bus company owes a passenger begins before you even get on the bus. Bus companies have an obligation to provide safe bus stops. Once you step onto the bus, you are under the care of the bus company and bus operator. The duty of care continues until you are safely off the bus and on the curb. If you are dropped off at an unsafe location, such as in traffic, the bus operator violated their duty of care to you.
It is important to remember that there is a statute of limitations on California bus accidents. The experienced Lake Forest bus accident lawyers at our practice have helped numerous injured victims and their families obtain fair compensation for their damages and losses. Injured victims can seek compensation to cover medical expenses, loss of wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation and other related damages. Bus companies often have powerful defense lawyers and insurance companies guarding their best interests. Please contact us for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.
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