Representing Bus Accident Victimsin California
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 see if you have a case.
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. Injuries can even manifest themselves days or even 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. 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
An experienced attorney may be able to help maximize recoveries on behalf of their clients.
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 a car, for example, or if a laptop is on board the bus that got destroyed, compensation for the losses may be applicable.
- Lost wages, including future earnings.
- Pain and suffering. This can be emotional, mental, and physical pain.
- Loss of consortium.
- Home modification. An example of this is adding ramps to a home due to an injury sustained by a bus accident.
- Loss of enjoyment in life.
In addition to these damages, lawyers 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. The attorney will need to prove that one of the responsible parties acted with fraud, malice, or oppression. This sets a higher bar for negligence and requires legal skill and expertise. The bus accident lawyers at Kalfayan Merjanian have the experience to pursue 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 compensation. If there are significant injuries to many passengers, the amount each person receives may be considerably less than actual damages. This is where an attorney can be valuable. 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 with a California bus accident attorney from California Trial Attorneys powered by KM Law. We understand rights under California law and will pursue compensation to the fullest extent for our clients.
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