Riding the bus is typically a safe and cost-effective way to travel within Placentia and throughout Orange County. Unfortunately, accidents can happen, and bus passengers or other vehicle occupants can suffer devastating injuries as a result of bus crashes. In such cases, it is the legal obligation of the bus company to provide the utmost duty of care to the injured victims. There are many cases each year, however, involving bus companies that shirk their legal obligations. A skilled Placentia bus accident lawyer can help injured victims and their families better understand their legal rights and options.
Duty of Care Civil Codes
Under California law, bus companies owe their passengers the "utmost duty of care." This duty of care to their passengers even supersedes their duty owed to others on the roadway such as other motorists or pedestrians. No bus company can guarantee the absolute safety of its passengers. However, it is their duty to ensure that they hire good drivers and maintain their buses properly so passengers are not exposed to dangers as a result of negligence. Some of California civil codes pertaining to common carrier duty of care include:
- Under California Civil 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." This means that bus companies and their drivers must take care to protect their passengers at all times. When bus companies fail to properly train and supervise their bus drivers, they are failing to meet this obligation. When a bus operator exceeds the speed limit or acts negligently, he or she is failing to exercise due care.
- California Civil Code section 2101: "A carrier of persons for reward is bound to provide vehicles safe and fit for the purposes to which they are put, and is not excused for default in this respect by any degree of care." When was the last time the bus was inspected? Are the tires worn? Are the brakes in proper working order? Did the bus company put passengers in harm's way by failing to properly maintain the vehicle? In such cases, the bus company can be held responsible for any injuries resulting from their negligence.
- California Civil Code 2101 requires operators and bus companies to not overcrowd or overload their vehicle. Civil code 2103 requires carriers to treat all passengers with civility and Civil Code 2104 requires all bus drivers to stay on their route at a reasonable rate of speed.
Compensation for Injured Victims
All drivers have a negligence duty owed to other drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists. Common carriers have a duty of utmost care that is higher than their legal obligation to other injured victims of the crash. This means that bus companies must work to swiftly provide care to passengers who are injured in an accident. Did the bus company assess the victim’s losses and offer fair compensation? When a company fails to act accordingly, civil litigation may be the only way for victims.
Victims of Orange County bus accidents may suffer a wide range of injuries. A lawsuit against a bus company or bus driver can help victims recover compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Hospital expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost future wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Disability coverage
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of companionship
- Medical devices
- Prescription drug costs
- Rehabilitation services
The experienced Placentia bus accident lawyers at our law firm can help hold negligent bus companies and bus drivers accountable. Anyone who has suffered a loss in an Orange County bus accident would be well advised to get their name in the police report, seek prompt medical attention and call a skilled personal injury lawyer. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Placentia bus accident, please contact us for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.