California Bus Accidents
Most buses are owned and operated by local governments and schools. However, there are also tour buses, coach buses, charter buses and other buses on the road. Regardless of the type of bus you were riding in, being involved in a bus accident is a traumatic ordeal. In the aftermath of such an incident, you and the other passengers may have been approached by representatives from the bus company and/or their insurance company. As helpful as these representatives may paint themselves out to be, they only have one thing in mind: protecting their client. Even if they know full well that you are entitled to damages, they won’t make it easy for you.
Why are Bus Accidents So Dangerous?
Although bus accidents aren’t very common, they are downright devastating when they occur. A few factors contribute to the dangerous nature of these incidents. First, there’s the sheer size of the average bus. School buses, city buses, charter buses, tour buses and similar vehicles are enormous when compared to regular passenger vehicles. They weigh several tons too. While they tend to inflict major damage on other vehicles, their size results in major collisions that cause serious injuries to their passengers too.
Another thing that makes bus accidents so dangerous is the shape of the average bus. They are big and bulky, and that tends to result in more severe collisions. More importantly, they are also often top-heavy. They’re designed like this to provide passengers with roomier and more comfortable accommodations. The downside is that it makes buses more susceptible to rolling over in collisions. As you can imagine, when a bus rolls over, passengers don’t tend to fare very well. If you’re in another vehicle that’s involved in a rollover accident with a bus, you can incur serious injuries too.
Bus Accident Causes
At Lamber-Goodnow, we handle numerous bus accident cases every year. They happen all over the state of California, and they happen for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, the vast majority of bus accidents are caused by negligence of some kind. Sometimes, the driver is to blame; other times, the bus company or manufacturer is. Regardless of who is ultimately responsible for a bus accident, victims need to take steps to protect themselves. Government entities, school districts and tour bus companies aren’t going to do it for them.
A few of the most common causes of bus accidents include:
- Driver Error – Due to inexperience, a lack of training, inadequate training or other factors, the driver of a bus may react inappropriately to hazards or otherwise engage in behaviors that put passengers at risk. These days, texting while driving is often to blame and is certainly among the most egregious offenses imaginable.
- Driver Impairment – Bus drivers are charged with safely transporting people from place to place. Often, these people are school children. Despite this serious responsibility, bus drivers sometimes partake in alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel. Other times, they are seriously fatigued and have no business operating a massive vehicle.
- Manufacturing Defects – Defective bus components often put innocent people at risk. Could they be to blame for the injuries you incurred in your bus accident?
- Improper Maintenance – Whether a bus is owned by a local government, a school or a private company, it needs to be properly maintained to ensure its roadworthiness. Sadly, many companies and other entities fail to keep up with bus maintenance or cut corners in order to keep costs down. When companies engage in these behaviors, innocent passengers like you lose.
- Unsafe Roads – Local municipalities have an obligation to maintain roads. Sometimes, bus accidents happen due to defects or hazards in the road. Proving negligence of this kind is very tricky, but victims have been able to recoup damages under such circumstances.
- Inclement Weather – In a way, a bus accident that happens due to inclement weather is ultimately the fault of the driver. At a certain point, a bus driver must make a judgment call about whether or not it’s safe to operate a vehicle during bad weather. Whether roads are icy or heavy rain has reduced visibility to practically nothing, a conscientious bus driver will know when to stop and wait.
Seeking Compensation for Bus Accident Injuries
Because so many buses are owned and operated by government entities like counties and cities, the process of seeking damages for bus accident injuries can be very convoluted. For one thing, the statute of limitations for filing suit against a government entity is very brief. If you don’t act quickly, you could miss your chance to protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve. For another, government entities have huge resources at their disposal. Attempting to go up against them without qualified legal representation is a recipe for disaster.
In the aftermath of a bus accident, the top priority is ensuring that you are safe. Before doing anything else, seek medical attention. Once you are stable and no longer at risk, retain an experienced bus accident lawyer. The sooner you do this, the better. Whether the bus you were in is owned by the government, a school or a private company, insurance representatives are likely to pressure you into an unfair settlement. Don’t let them win. Take steps to protect your rights by contacting the Spodek Injury Law Team today.