Bus accidents in San Diego can cause catastrophic harm and possibly fatalities. If you or a loved one is injured while riding the bus or sharing traffic with these large vehicles, you may be entitled to compensation. Call (619) 238-1811 or contact CaseyGerry online today to schedule a free consultation.
Bus accident cases are often complex, as multiple parties can potentially be liable. Therefore, these claims require a thorough investigation to determine which parties can be held accountable and solid evidence to support them. A bus accident lawyer regularly handles these types of cases and will have knowledge of the unique laws that apply to your case and what it takes to recover the compensation you deserve. They will also have the resources to collect the evidence you need, build your case, assess its worth, help you navigate the claims process, and negotiate a fair settlement.
After a bus accident, the bus company may quickly attempt to resolve your case if they believe they may be liable. However, their initial settlement offer will typically be unfairly low compared to your case’s actual value. An attorney will protect you in this situation and will not back down until you are offered full compensation and will represent you in court if necessary.
Bus accidents in San Diego can happen for a wide variety of reasons, but the most common causes include:
Bus drivers and other drivers on the road can make a preventable mistake or error that leads to a collision. For example, failing to use signals, abrupt lane changes, failing to obey traffic signs, driving while fatigued, etc.
Distractions can cause devastating accidents. A driver can easily become distracted by cell phones, eating or drinking, reaching for an item, or watching or talking to passengers.
Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to slow down and avoid a collision. Drivers are often in a hurry to reach their destinations and bus drivers may choose to speed because of strict schedules.
Bus companies must perform routine safety checks of their vehicles, and perform maintenance to keep them safe for use. If there is a lack of or improper maintenance, there is an increased risk of equipment failure, which can cause an accident.
Driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol significantly diminishes a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. It is against the law for a bus driver to work while impaired, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established strict guidelines and requires testing.
Construction zones, dangerous weather, potholes, large cracks, narrow roads, faded traffic lines, improper signage, etc., all increase the risk of a bus accident.
Depending on the specifics of your bus accident, you may be entitled to the following types of damages:
California law applies the rule of pure comparative negligence to bus accident cases. That means that every party involved in a collision is assigned a percentage of fault that reduces their compensation accordingly. For example, if you are awarded $500,000 and found 20% at fault, you can only receive 80% of your award or $400,000. As long as you are less than 100% to blame, you can recover compensation.
Unfortunately, school buses are often involved in accidents, and the students they serve are injured, sometimes severely. When this happens, the parents of the children involved may be able to recover compensation on their behalf. In these cases, the school bus driver, school system, or bus manufacturer may be liable. Public school systems, bus companies, and bus drivers are responsible for keeping students safe. When carelessness leads to a preventable accident, parents have a right to hold the at-fault party accountable.
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS or SDMTS) manages public transportation throughout San Diego County, including bus, light rail, freight service, and more. Public transit is regulated under both federal and state common carrier laws. As a common carrier, MTS is held to a high degree of care when it comes to passenger safety. Therefore, if a passenger is injured as a result of negligence on behalf of a bus driver or bus company, they may have a claim for compensation. Because of a common carrier’s high duty of care, injury claims brought by passengers often succeed. However, that elevated standard does not impose absolute liability on MTS. There must have been a preventable action that led to the injury.
As noted by our San Diego car accident lawyers, determining liability after a bus accident is critical to recovering the compensation you need to cover your losses, but that process can be complex. Liability will depend on a thorough investigation of each case’s unique circumstances. To figure out which party’s negligence contributed to the accident and assign a percentage of fault, an insurance company, lawyer, or the court will review the following:
Any available photos and video of the accident or the scene are critical if they show:
The damage to the bus will also typically be examined in person.
A police report can heavily influence an insurance company’s decision on liability. In the report, the officer will include:
The officer will also give their opinion on how the accident occurred and who was at fault. A traffic violation or if one party is charged with a crime (e.g., driving while intoxicated) can be significant evidence of fault that will be difficult for the at-fault party to challenge.
Eyewitness statements can also carry a lot of weight in determining liability. Witnesses can provide their account of how the bus accident occurred without bias because they have no stake in the claim.
Medical documentation on injuries can establish their extent and link them to the accident. The site of the injuries can also sometimes substantiate your version of what caused the bus accident.
If you disagree with the insurance company’s determination on liability, you can file an appeal or pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Most injury claims settle before trial, but it is in your best interests to hire legal representation to ensure you recover fair compensation. If your case makes it to trial, a judge or jury will decide who was at fault after hearing each side’s argument and reviewing the evidence.
CaseyGerry is committed to protecting bus passengers from negligence, and we will work tirelessly to secure your rights. Call (619) 238-1811 or send us a message online to schedule a free consultation today.