Bus accidents are not very common in California since buses are fewer as compared to other vehicles. However, when these accidents occur, they produce severe injuries or even death. If you are injured in a bus accident, you are likely to be left with expensive medical bills, inability to return to work, and immense pain. Fortunately, you can file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your injuries. When submitting a lawsuit, you will be required to produce evidence showing how the defendant contributed to the accident and your injuries. Collecting and presenting relevant evidence in a bus accident lawsuit can be complicated, and you would benefit from competent legal representation. At The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm in California, we work hard to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your claim.
Overview of a Bus Accident Case in California
Due to the low population of uses as compared to other vehicles, bus accidents are not common. However, when you are involved in an accident with these large vehicles, you likely suffer serious injuries. Uses are challenging to operate and harder to stop. Bus accidents are often fatal since these vehicles are heavy, and the impact of a pedestrian or a smaller vehicle can cause severe damage. There are several scenarios in which you can be involved in a bus accident, including:
- A bus you are riding in is involved in a crash, and you suffer significant injuries
- You are injured when getting on or off the bus because the driver was in a hurry
- A bus collides with a vehicle you are driving due to another person’s recklessness
- A bus hits you while you were crossing the road or on the sidewalk
- You get injured when a bus gets into an accident, rolls over and hits your vehicle.
Most bus accidents result from negligent and reckless actions from different parties. A bus accident can leave you with severe injuries and expensive medical bills. Fortunately, if you are injured in a bus accident, you can file a case against the liable party. By submitting a personal injury claim, you will get compensation for your injuries. Proving that the defendant was negligent can be difficult in a bus accident. Therefore, it is crucial to enlist the help of a personal injury attorney.
If you are involved in a bus accident, you will need strong evidence to win a personal injury claim and receive compensation. Immediately after the accident, it is essential to seek medical attention. Whether you are feeling pain or not, it is crucial to get checked to avoid any internal injuries. Also, you need to notify the authorities so they can get an account of what happened. A police report will be crucial in your injury claim.
Also, you should share contacts with the bus driver and other individuals who played a part in the accident. You need to contact an attorney as soon as possible and avoid discussing the collision with the insurance company. Substantial evidence is an essential part of your injury claim after a bus accident. You can use your cellphone to get photographic evidence or a video of the occurrences. The insurance company may show up and try to make you an offer. Often, these offers are lower than you deserve. It is vital to ensure that you do not accept any deals without the presence of your attorney.
Proving Liability in Bus Accident Case
When filing a personal injury claim, you will be required to identify the party responsible for the accident and show how they caused the accident. Several parties can be held liable for your injuries in the case. Proving liability is one of the pieces of evidence required for a successful bus accident lawsuit. In most accident lawsuits, responsibility for the injuries is based on negligence. The following are elements of negligence to prove:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care - The duty of care is the responsibility each individual has to ensure they don’t cause harm to others. In the lawsuit, you will be required to prove that the liable party owed you a duty of care.
- Reach of duty by the defendant - It is essential to show how a defendant breached the duty of care they had towards you. Some of the evidence you can present showing that the bus parts were defective, the driver was speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Causation - When a person breaches the duty of care they have towards you, their actions should be a substantial contributing factor to the accident and your injuries. Your attorney needs to prove how the breach of duty resulted in the bus accident.
After an accident, most people will be quick to assume that the driver is at fault for the accident. It is essential to understand that there can be several liable parties in a bus accident. In such cases, multiple parties could share the responsibility for the bus accident and all of them will contribute to your compensation in a successful claim. With the help of a competent personal injury attorney, you can prove how each or all of the following parties contributed to the bus accident:
The Bus Driver
Bus drivers have a significant responsibility in ensuring your safety during the bus ride. Since buses are heavy vehicles, the driver needs to be careful to ensure they do not hit smaller vehicles or other road users. There are several ways in which a bus driver can be a cause of a crash, including:
- Fatigue - A driver is supposed to rest for a given amount of time, as stipulated by the law. When a driver does not follow these regulations, they may end up too fatigued to make the right decisions on the road. A tired bus driver is unsafe and is likely to cause serious driving errors. If you can present evidence indicating that the driver was fatigued, they can be held liable for your injuries.
- The driver was driving under the influence of drugs - Drunk driving is one of the most common causes of road accidents in California. A drunk driver does not follow the traffic rules and can end up causing a crash. DUI is evident by swerving and failing to yield to the right way. If a drunk bus driver hits your vehicle or caused an accident, they will be liable for the injuries you suffered. A police report and witness from the accident scene can provide sufficient evidence required to prove that the bus driver was under the influence of drugs.
- Aggressive driving - Driving is not a competitive sport, but some drivers try to make it so. When a driver is speeding, they tend to be reckless and pose a danger to other road users. Some drivers will speed because they are in a hurry to get to their destination. When a bus exceeds the legal limit, it can cause serious injuries.
- Driver error - Driver error comes in different forms resulting in a bus accident. This can be in the way of taking full turns or failing to check blind spots. A bus driver can also make a mistake by failing to keep the right distance with other vehicles causing head-on collisions. Proving the driver’s error in a bus accident lawsuit is difficult, and you would benefit from competent legal guidance.
- Distracted driving - A driver is considered to be distracted if their focus is not on the road. Some drivers choose to drive while texting, talking on the phone, or eating. This shifts the focus from the way, making it difficult to make quick decisions. If you want to claim that the bus driver was driving while distracted, you have to show evidence of doing an activity that shifted focus from the road.
Bus owners and transport companies play a significant role in ensuring their safety. This is because they are expected to purchase a bus that is in good condition. Also, they need to do regular repair and service of the bus to ensure it is in proper working condition. Other than defective parts, a bus is supposed to carry a particular amount of weight. The transport company is responsible for ensuring that the bus is not overloaded both for luggage and passengers.
Even when a driver’s negligence or lack of expertise causes an accident, the bus owner may be liable for the accident. This is because the company needs to hire qualified and experienced drivers to operate these vehicles. Buses are expensive to maintain and most bus owners will try to avoid costs by using substandard parts. Sometimes the repairs are not done by professionals making the vehicle road unworthy. When a poorly maintained vehicle causes a bus accident, the owner can be held liable for the injuries. If you are injured in a bus accident, you can file a personal injury claim against the bus company. However, you will be required to show evidence of how the owner contributed to the accident.
Defective bus parts are one of the leading causes of bus accidents in California. Some manufacturers will produce substandard parts in an attempt to make more money and save on production costs. Defective parts that can contribute to a bus accident include:
- Defective seat belt - A seatbelt is an essential part of the vehicle which protects you from injuries during a crash. When the belt has some defects, it will not perform the intended function and can put you in harm’s way. Also, a defective seat belt can in itself result in your juries.
- Faulty tires - Tires are responsible for ensuring bus suspension and grip on the road to avoid accidents. When the tires are not replaced regularly, they will be worn out and be at risk of bursting when the bus is moving. Sometimes the tires stay for a long time on the shelves, hence they expire before purchase. However, they are still sold as new and can fail on the road, causing a crash.
- Defective brakes - Brakes are essential when driving. The driver may be required to make critical sudden stops on the road. When the brakes are faulty, the driver cannot stop until they hit another object, which could be a pedestrian or another vehicle. Also, the failure of the brakes to engage can result in rear-end collisions that produce severe injuries.
When defective vehicle parts are a contributing factor to the bus accident, you can file a personal injury claim against the bus part manufacturer. The car dealers or distributors of the defective parts can be held liable for your injuries in such a situation. You will be required to provide evidence showing how the defective part contributed to your injuries before getting compensation. Proving vehicle part defects can be quite complicated. Therefore, it is crucial to have a competent legal representation in your claim.
Other Drivers and Road Users
Sometimes a bus accident is not the fault of the driver or the manufacturer. A third party can be the leading cause of the crash. When other drivers do not keep the right distance between them and the bus, it can contribute to the crash. This is because a bus is a heavy vehicle that doesn’t break quickly and gets into rear-end collisions. Over speeding or drunk driving from other drivers can be the cause of the accident. Pedestrians can also be held liable for a bus accident when their actions caused the bus driver to make a rash decision and get into an accident. Evidence to show how other road users caused the accident can be obtained from:
- Testimonies from witnesses who were present at the crash
- The police report from the scene. When an accident occurs, it is crucial to contact the authorities. The police will assess the situation, and in the report they make, one has an idea of the individual who was liable for the accident.
- Photographic or video evidence. If you are involved in a bus accident, you can start collecting your evidence by taking photos or videos of the scene to establish the occurrences. With this information, it can be easy to identify how other road users contributed to the accident.
Evidence of Injuries in a Bus Accident Lawsuit
Bus travel usually is safe. However, when an accident occurs, the injuries sustained are often severe and can be long term. If you are injured in a bus accident, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible. This will ensure that the injuries do not escalate, and the records provide sufficient evidence in the personal injury claim. Some of the most common injuries you can suffer in a bus accident includes:
Whiplash is damage to the muscles of the neck. Victims of a bus accident are likely to suffer whiplash injuries due to the sudden stop. Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, tenderness, and swelling at the neck area. When the damage is severe, you can experience severe headaches, muscle spasms as well as reduced mobility. If your injuries are not treated on time, a whiplash can get severe and cause damage to the brain. Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical attention if you feel you have suffered an injury.
Lacerations and Deep Cuts
It is common that in a bus accident, your body will come into contact with sharp objects like shattered glass. This may cause scrapes and cuts to your body. Depending on the severity of the bus accidents, your injuries may be mere scrapes and bruises to severe cuts and lacerations. These injuries may seem minor on the surface, but failure to treat them can cause severe infections. Some deep cuts will require stitches to reconstruct the skin. When deep cuts occur on the face, they can cause severe psychological trauma from both the pain and scars. Also, deep cuts can cause damage to vital internal organs and bleed, which is a risk to the victims.
It is common to sustain bone injuries in a bus accident. When you get into a crash, your body will get hit against the wall of the bus. Although broken bones do not pose a direct threat to your life, it may prolong your stay in the hospital. Also, some broken bones will require injuries to construct, which will cost you substantial medical bills. Due to the severe nature of broken bones, it can be difficult for you to return to work since your bones become weak. Even if you had a broken bone, which was made worse by the bus accident, you are still entitled to compensation in a personal injury claim.
Head and Brain Injuries
Injury to the brain is one of the fatal injuries you can suffer after a bus accident. When your head hits a hard object in a crash, you are likely to sustain injuries to your skull. When the collision is severe, you may end up suffering a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injury can either result from a violent blunt blow to the head or penetration of a sharp object.
A mild injury to the brain affects the brain function for some time, while permanent brain injury can impair your brain functions entirely. Most body functions depend on signals from the brain. Thus, damage to this organ will have severe consequences in your life. Most brain injuries cannot be detected early. Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as the accident occurs. Brain injuries will manifest in symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty in sleeping as well as dizziness. Some of these injuries are difficult to prove in a personal injury claim, and you will require a medical report.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spine is a vital and delicate part of the human body. Sudden stop or rolling during a bus accident can cause injury to your back and your spinal cord. When your spines are injured, body functions below the point of damage will be affected. Spinal cord injury can also cause paralysis, which will affect your mortal skills.
Evidence Required During Compensation
If you are successful in a personal injury claim, you can get compensation for the injuries you suffered in the bus accident. However, you will be required to provide substantial evidence required for payment:
- Medical bills - After a bus accident claim, you are likely to incur hefty costs in medical bills. Before you get compensation, you will be required to produce a medical report for treatment and other documents dating before the accident.
- Lost wages - Lost wages are the amount you lose during the time you were nursing your injuries. Evidence of lost wages can be provided through a lost wages letter from your employer or past pay stubs and tax returns.
- Future lost earning capacity - Some injuries suffered from a bus accident can affect your ability to work and earn a living in the future. Before compensation, you will be expected to show evidence of the lost earning capacity. This will be obtained by finding the difference between what you make given the injuries and what you would have earned before the accident.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
If you are involved in a bus accident, you likely suffer serious injuries. The most important thing you need to do after the accident is seeking medical attention. This will not only help prevent the worsening of lesions but will help in gathering medical evidence of your injuries to facilitate compensation. The process of filing a claim and receiving your deserving payment will require guidance from a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. A successful lawsuit can help you get compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and future earnings as well as pain and suffering. If you are in any location within California, you can find legal guidance from The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm. Call us today at 619-625-8707 and allow us to guide you through the case.