Buses are a popular mode of transportation for many Los Angeles residents. Public buses, school buses, and charter buses transport countless people around the city every day.
While buses are reliable and relatively safe, bus accidents can be catastrophic. Buses carry large groups of people and often don’t have seatbelts.
They are also much larger and heavier than passenger cars and can cause severe damage if they collide with one.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a bus accident, you might have the right to pursue a compensation claim.
An experienced Los Angeles bus accident lawyer at Peerali Law Firm can help you understand your legal options. We know how traumatic a bus accident can be and how stressful the aftermath is.
You likely don’t know how the claims process works, how to find the right doctor, or who will pay your medical expenses. Our legal team is here for you when you need assistance after a bus accident.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents in Los Angeles
A wide variety of actions and circumstances can lead to a bus accident. Some of the most common causes include the following:
- Bus company negligence;
- Bus driver’s negligence, such as texting and driving;
- Traffic violations, such as speeding or running a red light;
- Bus driver’s fatigue;
- Another driver’s negligence;
- Inadequate bus driver training or failure to adequately screen drivers;
- The bus catching on fire;
- The bus driver or another driver driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Hazardous road conditions;
- Improper loading;
- Mechanical defects with the bus; and
- Adverse weather.
Oftentimes there will be several causes that contribute to an accident. For example, a bus driver might have caused an accident because they fell asleep at the wheel and ran a stop sign.
However, bus drivers aren’t always responsible for accidents. Other drivers often cut buses off, drive in their blind spots, or try passing on a one-lane road, all of which can cause an accident.
It’s crucial to identify all potentially liable parties in a bus collision. That is where an experienced bus accident law firm in Los Angeles can help.
Your attorney at Peerali Law Firm can help you uncover all potential sources of financial recovery in a bus accident by identifying all of the parties who might be liable for your injury.
Potential Bus Accident Injuries
Bus accident injuries are often severe to catastrophic because occupants are usually not wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident. Buses are also prone to rollovers in a collision, leading to more severe injuries for passengers and other drivers.
Some of the most common bus accident injuries include the following:
- Sprained or torn ligaments;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Lacerations and burns;
- Chest injuries;
- Broken and fractured bones;
- Internal bleeding;
- Herniated discs;
- Severed or crushed limbs; and
- Spinal injuries, including paralysis.
Unfortunately, some victims might pass away from their injuries. If a victim dies from injuries sustained in a bus accident, surviving family members might have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Your bus accident attorney can explain how to file a wrongful death claim.
How to Prove Liability in a Los Angeles Bus Accident
To recover compensation from a bus accident claim, you must first prove who is liable for your injuries.
Bus accident claims are often personal injury claims that require you to prove negligence. When you bring a negligence claim, you must establish four factors to succeed and recover compensation.
These factors are:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care when the accident happened;
- The defendant must have breached the duty of care;
- This breach of duty is what caused your injuries; and
- You suffered damages, such as financial losses, because of your injury.
Failure to prove even one element means you haven’t built a successful liability argument. That is why hiring a bus accident lawyer in Los Angeles who knows how to establish each element is essential.
If you were a passenger on the bus at the time of the collision, it’s highly unlikely you had any fault in the accident. However, it’s possible that the bus driver and another driver share some responsibility for the accident.
In California, multiple defendants can share fault for the same accident. As an injured passenger, you might be able to collect money from both parties.
If you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still recover some compensation. That’s because California is a pure comparative negligence state.
In California, a party who is partially responsible for the accident that injured them can still recover compensation. However, their compensation will be proportionally reduced by their share of the fault.
For example, if you were 20% at fault for your bus accident, you can still collect up to 80% of your damages.
Types of Recoverable Compensation in a Bus Accident
Understandably, prospective clients want to know how much money they might receive. Every case involves unique injuries, which means your potential settlement will differ from someone else’s.
Some of the most common types of compensation available in a bus accident claim include:
- Medical expenses to date,
- Future medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Future loss of earnings capacity,
- Property damage,
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress and mental anguish, and
- Loss of consortium.
Your bus accident lawyer will review your case and explain what types of compensation you’re eligible to receive. We will also help you calculate and prove your damages.
What to Do After a Los Angeles Bus Accident
There are a couple of steps you should take immediately after being in a bus accident.
First, if no one else has already called, you should contact the police to respond to the accident scene. You’ll also want to exchange information with all involved parties and get the accident report number from the responding officer.
Even if you don’t believe your injuries are serious, you should seek immediate medical treatment. Some injuries are not visible to the naked eye, but that doesn’t make them any less severe.
We highly recommend retaining a Los Angeles bus accident lawyer. You need someone to protect your rights and help you identify all of the responsible parties.
Bus accident claims can involve complex legal rules, and you need an experienced lawyer who knows how to handle them. You’ll likely have multiple defendants to manage and numerous legal questions that need answering.
It’s also important to note that claims involving government-owned buses differ significantly from claims involving privately-owned buses. For one, you might only have six months to file an administrative claim against a government entity.
That’s why we suggest hiring a lawyer as soon as possible. Should you miss any deadlines, the court might dismiss your case.
Be cautious when speaking to insurance adjusters representing the driver, bus company, government, or any other party. These people are not looking out for your interests.
They only care about their bottom line and reducing the liability of their insured policyholder. Do not agree to give a recorded statement or sign anything without first speaking to a lawyer.
Contact Peerali Law Firm
Finding the right Los Angeles bus accident lawyer is crucial, especially because most buses are owned or operated by large companies or government entities.
At Peerali Law Firm, we have years of experience bringing claims against government entities, corporations, and large insurance companies.
Our lawyers know what it takes to succeed at the negotiating table and in the courtroom, and we are passionate about pursuing justice for injured victims.
When you need someone to protect your rights after a bus accident, Peerali Law Firm is ready to fight for you. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.