Public transportation is a way of life for many Southern Californians. The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority alone oversees five transit agencies that carry hundreds of thousands of riders a year. While the majority of bus trips happen without incident, the sheer volume of busses on the road in heavy traffic means that accidents will occur. If it happens to you, talk to the bus accident lawyers at Kalfayan Merjanian LLP to pursue compensation for your injuries under California Law.
Passenger Bus Accidents in California
If you are riding on a bus when an accident occurs, whether it’s a tour bus, city bus, school bus, or shuttle, there are basic protocols you should follow.
- If you are injured, seek medical attention immediately. If the bus staff are unable to call 911, do it yourself.
- Document the accident scene if you are able to safely do so. Use your phone to take photos of the road, the bus, all injuries, and the general surroundings.
- Gather contact information from other passengers, others that were involved in the accident, and any witnesses.
- When law enforcement arrives, request the names of the officers.
- Call an experienced bus accident lawyer in California to protect your rights and pursue compensation on your behalf.
Pursuing damages in a public transportation accident can be particularly complicated. There is the potential for more victims and more responsible parties. Also, injuries may be more serious than a car accident as buses typically don’t have safety equipment such as air bags or seat belts. For these reasons you should contact an experienced bus accident attorney who can help navigate your unique situation.
Pedestrian Bus Accidents
Unfortunately, pedestrians do get hit by busses when crossing the street or sometimes when standing on the corner. If this were to happen to you, it’s imperative that you go to the hospital for a checkup, even if you think you’re “okay”. Injuries can manifest themselves days or even weeks weeks later in the form of lower back problems, rotator cuff damage, or similar issues.
Car and Bus Accidents
What will you do if your car is hit by a bus? If your injuries allow you to do so, you should follow the same steps as outlined above. Be sure to take photos of your car as well as the scene, then call the experts at KM to learn about potential compensation that you may be entitled to receive under the law. There are many parties that can be pursued, such as:
- The company that owns the bus
- The company that services the bus
- The bus driver
- The union the driver works for
- The city, if it’s public transit
- The company that built the bus, if there is a manufacturing defect that caused the accident
It’s important to let an experienced attorney handle these claims for you in order to help maximize your recovery.
Bus accident law firms have expertise in knowing which damages should be pursued. It is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Your lawyer will need to argue for each potential settlement and be able to support the argument with evidence. Possible damage awards include:
- Medical costs. This includes future medical expenses that may occur because of the accident.
- Repairs to property. If the bus hit your car, for example, or if you had a laptop on board the bus that got destroyed, you may be compensated for your loss.
- Lost wages, including future earnings.
- Emotional distress. We now know that accident survivors can suffer from PTSD and other emotional trauma.
- Pain and suffering. This can be emotional, mental, and physical pain.
- Loss of consortium. This applies when the accident cost the life of a spouse, partner, or parent.
- Home modification. An example of this is adding ramps to your home because you can no longer navigate stairs due to injuries sustained in the accident.
- Loss of enjoyment in life.
In addition to these damages, your lawyer may be able to pursue punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for negligent behavior. It may apply if the bus driver was drunk or if the bus was maintained improperly, for example. Your attorney will need to prove that one of the responsible parties acted with fraud, malice, or oppression. This sets a higher baror negligence and requires legal skill and expertise. Your bus accident lawyers at Kalfayan Merjanian have the experience to seek the best settlement possible.
Bus Companies and Their Insurance
Due to the nature of hauling thousands of people every day, bus companies have a different insurance structure than car and truck drivers do. It is typically more comprehensive as it needs to cover all the passengers who may be on board at any given time. Depending upon the insurance policy, it may use one pool of money to cover all injuries and damages, or it may cover each passenger individually.
When the policy provides a pool of money, it has the potential of limiting your compensation. If there are significant injuries to many passengers, the amount you receive may be considerably less than your actual damages. This is where you really need an attorney in your corner to ensure that your rights are observed. There may be ways to work around the policy limitations, especially if the responsible parties have acted in bad faith.
Put the power of experience to work for you with a California bus accident attorney from California Trial Attorneys powered by KM Law. We understand your rights under California law and will pursue compensation to the fullest extent. You are not alone with Kalfayan Merjanian at your side.