An accident involving a bus is often more catastrophic and more parties are involved by the nature of the vehicle. A bus can be owned by a government agency or a private charter company. Injured parties in a bus accident can not only include the passengers on the bus but also other vehicles or pedestrians in their path. A lawyer who specializes in personal injury and traffic law is often necessary to properly investigate the case and bring justice to the wronged parties.
Buses and Common Carrier Rules
Unlike in a traffic collision between private parties’, buses have a legal responsibility to perform at a higher duty of care because they are operating for profit. There are specific laws and rules in California that put a more stringent duty on the drivers of a bus to avoid accidents.
Causes of Driver Liability
When a bus driver gets behind the wheel of their bus it is their responsibility to ensure that they are of full capacity to properly operate the vehicle. They can be liable for causing an accident if their driving is impaired by fatigue or they are under the influence of an impairing substance. The company that employs the bus driver is also required to ensure that the driver is capable and has the proper training and expertise to fulfill the route and job they are employed to do.
A driver can also be found responsible for causing an accident if they are not following traffic laws, some of which are unique to the operation of a bus. The driver can also be driving recklessly which could cause an accident.
Causes of Malfunction Liability
In addition to ensuring that the driver is capable of driving the bus the driver and the bus company are also responsible for ensuring the bus is maintained and safe to operate in the capacity it is commissioned to do so. A bus with faulty or ill-maintained parts is a recipe for disaster and can cause accidents. If a tire blows out because it is old or a part comes loose because it hasn’t been inspected in an appropriate timeframe, fault can be found for improper maintenance.
Injuries and Wrongful Deaths Related to Bus Accidents
A bus accident can cause serious injury or even death. If the cause of the accident is negligence or error on the fault of the bus driver or bus company they will need to bear the responsibility of paying the medical costs of the injured. In addition to medical costs bus accidents are also often associated with future stress related conditions and loss of earnings, whether during recuperation or in the event of catastrophic injury the future earning potential.
Parties connected with the bus company are specifically interested in minimizing their risk from liability and keeping a positive public opinion of their company. With bus accidents insurance companies are usually involved and they will employ professionals who handle bus accidents regularly. It is important for a private citizen to employ the help of a lawyer to ensure that their rights are equally being represented by trained professionals who are also familiar with bus accident situations.
A law firm like The Ryan Law Group will know exactly the steps to take to make sure the maximum settlement or judgement is received and that medical issues are handled in a timely and fair manner.
In the event of a bus accident it is important that all injured parties seek medical attention and the police are notified so they can file a report. At the scene of the accident documentation can be performed to assist in determining the cause of the accident in the future. Taking photos, getting statements from witnesses, and collecting physical evidence is something law enforcement should be doing to ensure sense can be made of the accident.