Our experienced Irvine bus accident lawyers can help guide you through what could be a complex claim process and help you secure maximum compensation for your significant losses.
Bus accidents are not as common as car accidents in Irvine. However, the injuries can be devastating when they do occur – whether they involve a city bus, tour bus, or school bus. Since many buses lack safety features such as seatbelts and airbags, passengers of buses are more vulnerable to blunt trauma injuries.
They are also likely to be ejected from the vehicle or suffer lacerations due to flying broken glass. In addition, if you are involved in a collision with a bus, you are likely to come off worse due to the size, weight, and power of these transport vehicles.
Several parties may be held liable depending on the nature and circumstances of the bus accident. If you have been hurt in an Irvine bus accident, you may be able to recover compensation for the injuries, damages, or losses you may have sustained.
Contact our law offices at (949) 203-3814 for a free case analysis with a skilled personal injury attorney in Irvine.
Irvine Bus Accident
Types of Bus Accidents
When we talk about bus accidents in and near Irvine, we could be referring to a crash injuring the passengers onboard the bus or a collision that injures another driver or pedestrian on the road.
There are a number of different types of bus accidents depending on who the operator is and what the purpose of the transportation is.
Here are the three most common types of bus accidents we encounter in Irvine:
School Bus Accidents
School bus accidents often result in severe injuries to children because state and federal government agencies still do not require seatbelts for all school buses. Some raise the issue of the high cost of equipping school buses with seatbelts and argue that the buses are designed to fit children like an egg carton fits eggs. However, crash scenarios have shown us that students are not safe in the event of a crash. They get thrown around and are not protected in the same manner as they are if they were to be buckled up.
Some of the most common causes of school bus accidents include equipment failure, driver error, driver distraction and impairment, and poor bus maintenance. In cases where the accident is caused by driver error or negligence, the driver, school district, school board, contractors, and other parties could be held liable.
Tour Bus Accidents
Southern California, including Orange County and Irvine, has plenty of tour bus traffic. Tour buses depart daily to various destinations, from resorts to casinos. Tour buses are usually a safe way of getting from one place to another. However, tour bus accidents could also prove devastating. In such accidents, several different parties may be held liable, including but not limited to the tour bus company, the bus’s owner, and other corporations that charter the buses to transport passengers.
When a tour bus crash occurs, it is essential to examine whether the bus company violated any federal safety rules about driver’s hours-of-service rules or vehicle maintenance. Drivers of commercial vehicles are responsible for ensuring the vehicle is in good working order before getting on the road. They must also take mandatory rest breaks to help ensure they don’t become fatigued while driving. Drowsy driving has played a crucial role in some of the country’s most tragic tour bus accidents.
Negligent hiring is also an issue in tour bus crashes. Bus companies and corporations that charter these buses must run background checks and ensure the drivers they hire are qualified, experienced, and have a good driving record. For example, a company or tour bus operator could be held liable for a driver who had prior DUIs on his record and caused a bus crash while driving impaired.
Transit Bus Accidents
Several transit buses operate in Irvine and Orange County. The Orange County Transportation Authority operates buses to transport individuals to several destinations within the county. It also operates special buses for seniors and disabled individuals. When there is a bus accident involving a transit bus, the agency that operates the vehicles can be held accountable for the injuries, damages, and losses caused.
Just as with tour and school buses, the transit authority is responsible for hiring qualified drivers and ensuring that the bus is in good working order and well maintained. Tires, brakes, and other bus parts should be serviced and maintained periodically. Broken or worn-out parts should be repaired promptly. Buses in good working order should not be allowed to operate.
Duty of Care to Passengers
Under federal and state laws, buses are considered “common carriers.” These are entities whose job is to transport people from one place to another in exchange for compensation. Common carriers include a tour, charter, school, and transit buses. A common carrier has the “utmost duty of care” and is required under the law to exercise an extremely high degree of care and diligence regarding its passengers’ safety.
Courts examine whether the bus driver or bus company exercised reasonable care in a bus accident case. For example, when a bus driver operates the vehicle while drunk, distracted, fatigued, or recklessly while speeding or violating the rules of the road, that is not “reasonable care” and amounts to negligence.
7 Steps to Take After You Have Been Injured in a Bus Crash
If you are a passenger who has been injured in any bus accident in Irvine, there are many steps you would be well advised to take:
- Be sure to report the accident: Call 911 and tell them you have been in a bus accident. Do not count on the bus driver or bus company to make the report. Be sure to get a copy of the accident report for your own records.
- Get prompt medical attention, treatment, and care for your injuries: If you are bleeding or have any visible injuries, it’s a good idea to go to the hospital or emergency room. However, you should get checked out by a medical professional even if you feel fine after the accident. The shock in the aftermath of a crash could mask symptoms or pain for several days after a crash. You may also have suffered internal injuries, which could prove dangerous.
- Share information with other bus passengers, including phone numbers and email addresses: Try to get contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident. Try to get the bus driver’s name and bus number. Save your bus ticket.
- Do not discuss the crash with the bus driver or anyone else: Any statements you make at the scene or afterward could be used against you. Do not post anything on social media about the accident. It may be a good idea to take down all your social media accounts because any posts, including photos and videos, can also be used against you.
- Collect as much evidence as possible from the scene: Shoot photos and videos on your cell phone, capturing details such as the position of the bus, any other vehicles involved, damage to the vehicles, your injuries, the interior of the bus, and anything else that sheds light on the crash and its aftermath.
- Do not rush into a settlement with the insurance company or attorneys for the bus company or any other party: Offering a low settlement early is a tactic that insurance companies often use to make claims go away. Once you accept a settlement, you cannot claim further compensation, even if you incur additional accident-related expenses. The insurance company knows that average people do not understand the actual value of an accident claim. So, they tend to lowball at first. While this saves significant amounts of money for the insurance company, you could end up paying future treatment costs and medical bills out of pocket.
Contact an experienced Irvine bus accident lawyer who will prove negligence, guide you through the claims process and help you avoid the mistakes that could potentially jeopardize your claim.
Common Bus Accident Injuries
Bus accidents could result in a variety of devastating injuries that could prove disabling.
Here are some of the most common injuries victims sustain in Irvine bus accidents:
Whiplash: The term “whiplash” is used to describe the pain that is caused when the soft tissues of the neck are damaged. Whiplash is an injury that victims of car accidents and bus accidents commonly suffer because of the sudden impact of the collision. Some common symptoms of whiplash include tenderness, swelling, and neck pain. Some bus accident victims may experience severe headaches, reduced mobility, and muscle spasms. A whiplash injury could worsen without proper and prompt treatment. It is extremely important to seek medical attention immediately to prevent it from worsening.
Head injury: When a bus comes to a sudden stop or when there is a sudden jolt, there is the risk that a passenger might strike his or her head on a seat or window. Sudden trauma to the head could result in a traumatic brain injury. Common symptoms of such an injury could range from blurred vision and nausea to seizures, loss of consciousness, and coma. Those who suffer brain injuries may require extensive treatment and rehabilitative therapy to recover. A number of brain injury victims may never be able to recover after treatment, surgery, and therapy.
Spinal cord trauma is also quite common in bus accidents because passengers could get thrown around inside the bus or ejected from the vehicle. Severe spinal cord injuries could result in partial or complete paralysis or death. Spinal cord injury victims often need part-time or full-time nursing care, and the cost of treatment, care, and therapy could add up to millions of dollars over a person’s lifetime.
Bone fractures: If the impact is severe, passengers could get thrown around the bus striking the inside of the bus. They may suffer bone fractures. These types of injuries are often not life-threatening, but they take a long time to heal. Victims may require extensive physical therapy to regain strength, mobility, and flexibility in the affected areas. Broken bones could also affect the victim’s ability to work for an extended period of time. With serious fractures, the victim may never recover completely and be left disfigured for life.
Loss of limbs: In violent bus crashes, it is pretty common to see people lose body parts. There are a number of sharp edges in buses that could be left exposed in the event of a crash. People thrown around during a crash may lose their arms or legs due to the impact. Amputations are devastating, permanent injuries that could turn an individual’s life upside down. He or she may never be able to return to a job or earn a livelihood.
Laceration injuries: Buses are typically designed with glass windows. When a bus crash occurs, there is an elevated risk of passengers suffering serious lacerations. Cuts and lacerations should be treated immediately to prevent infections and other complications. Some serious laceration injuries may result in the need for surgery. These are also the type of injuries that could result in scarring and disfigurement and do damage to skin, tissue, and nerves.
Contact our Bus Accident Attorneys in Irvine
Bus accidents are traumatic and devastating. Suppose you are an injury victim of a bus accident. In that case, you may be able to recover costs for damages such as medical bills, loss of income, medical treatment, rehabilitative therapy expenses, and pain and suffering. You need an experienced Irvine bus accident lawyer who has helped seriously catastrophically injured individuals secure maximum compensation for their losses.
At Bisnar Chase, our personal injury lawyers have a stellar track record of fighting for our injured clients and getting fair compensation. We offer our clients a no-win, no-fee guarantee, which means you don’t pay anything unless we win compensation for you.
Please call us at (949) 203-3814 for a free consultation for your personal injury claim.