Los Angeles Bus Accident Lawyers
The experienced California bus accident attorneys at Bisnar | Chase have successfully represented individuals who have been seriously injured in all types of auto accidents including bus accidents. We have also helped families that have lost loved ones obtain fair compensation for their significant losses.
Please contact us for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation. Call (323) 238-4683.
Thousands of Americans are seriously injured or killed each year as a result of bus accidents. Due to their size and weight, buses can be particularly dangerous when they are involved in crashes with smaller passenger vehicles.
At the same time, when a large bus rolls over or is involved in a violent crash, its passengers may get ejected on to the roadway or suffer other types of blunt force trauma that may even prove fatal. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, an experienced Los Angeles bus accident lawyer will be able to better advise you regarding your legal rights and options.
Traveling by bus is a cost effective and relatively safe way to get around Los Angeles. LA County bus crashes, however, can occur, and when they do, the results can be devastating. Many victims of Los Angeles bus accidents need immediate medical attention and have to miss work while they heal. To make matters worse, bus companies have a long history of refusing injured victims the support they need. It is important that negligent drivers and careless bus companies are held accountable for their actions.
Causes of Bus Accidents
Recently there was a stream of California bus accidents involving tour bus companies. The Feds sstepped in and cracked down on unsafe bus companies. Typically these charter busses are poorly maintained and put lives at risk. Some of the most common causes of Los Angeles bus crashes include:
- Driver inexperience: It is the responsibility of all bus companies to ensure that their drivers are skilled and experienced. Bus drivers who are new to the job should not be allowed to transport passengers on the congested and dangerous streets of Los Angeles.
- Bus driver negligence: It is crucial that bus drivers check for traffic before changing lanes or entering traffic. Bus drivers must obey the speed limit and slow down on the few days during the year when roads are wet in Los Angeles. They also must remain attentive to the road and not let themselves get distracted by their passengers or other electronic devices. It is illegal under California for all drivers to use the cell phone or text while driving.
- Driver fatigue: It is irresponsible to drive a bus full of passengers while drowsy. Drivers who push through fatigue are more likely to doze off, to lose focus and to miss important changes in the flow of traffic. All commercial drivers are required under federal law to comply with hours-of-service regulations that limit the number of hours bus drivers can drive at a stretch.
- Faulty equipment: Some Los Angeles bus accidents could have been prevented had the bus company performed proper safety inspections and repairs. When bus companies cut corners by failing to replace worn or broken parts, everyone on the roadway is put in harm's way. An uninspected bus or a bus where repairs have not been made may have over-inflated tires that could blow, brakes that are ready to fail and engines that can catch fire.
Bus Accident Prevention in LA
When you are a passenger on a bus, there is very little you can do to prevent an accident beyond making sure that you are not a distraction. Bus drivers can prevent accidents by consistently checking their mirrors, traveling at a safe speed and by keeping their eyes on the roadway at all times. Bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists can reduce their chances of being in a Los Angeles bus accident by giving buses plenty of room.
If You Are in a Bus Accident in Los Angeles
If you are injured while riding a bus in Los Angeles, there are a number of steps that you can take to protect your best interests. First, you should make sure that the authorities have been notified about the crash. Remain at the site of the collision and try to determine if anyone needs assistance. As you wait for the police to arrive, write down everything you remember about the crash. Keep these questions in mind when making notes. Where were you seated? What were you doing at the time of the crash? When and where did the accident occur? What types of injuries did you sustain? Who were the people who witnessed the collision? These are all important questions to ask in order to gather critical information, says California bus accident lawyer John Bisnar.
If you are able to move around without suffering additional harm, write down the contact information for the bus company and the bus driver. Photograph the bus, the damaged vehicles and where you were seated. When the police arrive, make sure that your name is on the police report. Last, but not least, seek medical attention right away. Your medical records can help you prove that you were injured in the crash.
Getting Fair Compensation After an L.A. Bus Accident
You have the right to request compensation for all of the damages you have suffered if injured in a LA bus crash. The bus company or its insurance provider may claim that you were not hurt or that they are not responsible for your losses. Remember that you have rights. Whether it is through an insurance claim or an bus injury lawsuit, there are ways to ensure that they are responsible for your considerable losses. It's best to consult with a bus accident attorney familiar with Los Angeles, its roads, and its courts.
Bus Driver Negligence
A number of bus accidents are caused by bus driver error or negligence. Bus drivers and bus companies have a legal obligation to safely transport their passengers. There are many ways in which a bus driver's negligence can cause a bus to crash. Some of the actions that can lead to a catastrophic bus accident include:
- Making an unsafe lane change. Buses are large vehicles that may have several blind spots. However, it is the bus operator's duty to ensure that it is safe to change lanes before doing so. Changing lanes without looking properly is one of the most common reasons for auto accidents.
- Exceeding the speed limit. Because of the size and weight of buses, they are often difficult to stop. Bus drivers who exceed the speed limit may not be able to adjust to the changing traffic conditions or to come to a stop in time to avoid a collision.
- Driving distracted. Under California law, school, transit and commercial bus drivers are not allowed to use a cell phone or text while driving. There are other forms of distracted driving that can prove dangerous as well. Any driver who takes his or her hands of the wheel, eyes off the road or mind off the task at hand is considered distracted. Failing to stop at a train track. All bus drivers should stop at train tracks to look and listen for approaching trains.
- Driving while fatigued. Operating a bus while drowsy can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Commercial drivers including bus drivers are required to get adequate rest before they start a shift.
Bus Company Negligence
Bus companies have a legal obligation to ensure that they hire the right people to operate their buses. They should also make sure that their bus drivers are properly trained and supervised. In addition, the responsibility of maintaining the buses also falls on the bus company. Companies should perform regular inspections on their vehicles while paying special attention to the tires and brakes to reduce the number of bus crashes annually.
Los Angeles Bus Statistics
Metro, the major operator of bus and rail service throughout Los Angeles County, has seen an increase in ridership in recent years. According to Metro.net, there were approximately 1,193,860 weekly bus riders as of October 2013. There are also 15,967 bus stops, 2,228 Metro buses and 170 Metro bus fleets. With such a high number of buses on our congested roadways, the frequency of bus accidents is hardly a surprise.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were about 11,000 bus accidents in the United States in the year 2008 that resulted in injuries. Approximately 24,000 people were hurt in bus accidents during that same year.
Some bus accidents involve school transportation vehicles. Between 1998 and 2008, there were 1,409 fatal school transportation accidents. The majority of the fatally injured victims of these crashes were not on the bus at the time of the crash. During that 10-year span, 72 percent of the fatally injured victims were occupants of other vehicles while pedestrians and cyclists made up about 20 percent of the fatally injured victims. Eight occupants of school vehicles (bus drivers or children) were killed.
Above all, be proactive when using public transportation says bus accident lawyer John Bisnar. 'Don't assume the company is passing safety inspections or keeping the buses properly maintained. Pay attention to your surroundings including how the bus driver seems to be acting. More than once, bus driver's have been accused of drinking on the job". In 2013 alone California became a hotbed of bus crashes. Every news headline seemed to mention tour bus crashes on the 15 freeway, tour buses sliding off Los Angeles freeways, and casino buses injuring dozens of passengers.
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