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Taking the bus is economical, convenient, and a lot less stressful than driving your car in traffic. Buses transport children to school and adults across the country. The National Transportation Safety Board reports that about 700 million people ride buses every year, and they are safer than most other vehicles.
However, when a bus accident occurs, it is usually devastating because more passengers can be hurt. The size and weight make it more deadly against pedestrians, bicycles, and other vehicles. If you suffered injury, a Rialto bus accident lawyer can help determine which parties are to blame and fight to get you compensation from them. To begin discussing your case with a dedicated attorney, get in touch with one of our attorneys today.
The person most people think of as being responsible for a bus accident is the bus driver or other negligent drivers who contribute to a crash. Under California Civil Code § 2100, bus drivers must exercise extreme care when driving a bus, deemed a common carrier in California. The driver and rider share something similar to a fiduciary relationship, in which a person puts trust in another to act in their best interest. If a driver acts negligently and a rider is harmed, the driver might be found liable.
Other drivers may not realize the braking time a bus needs to come to a full stop, and by acting recklessly, such as cutting off a bus in traffic, stopping abruptly, or tailgating, the driver can easily cause a bus and car wreck. A personal injury attorney experienced in bus wrecks knows others may also be liable for an accident.
California Code § 2100 also specifies that bus drivers must have the skill to operate the bus safely. Companies that employ bus drivers have a duty to make sure they are trained and certified as necessary. Companies also must make sure the bus maintenance is performed as recommended by the manufacturer. Failure to provide training or service vehicles could land a bus company in court facing a negligence lawsuit if passengers or others are harmed in an accident.
Many buses are owned and operated by city or county governments, such as the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority or the school system buses used to transport students in the county.
People hurt in accidents involving county-owned buses can sue the government, but many hurdles impede such lawsuits. For instance, the government is self-insured, so the accused is also responsible for the payout on an insurance claim.
The government also requires that bus drivers in six categories obtain a California Special Driver Certificate through a local California Highway Patrol (CHP) office nearest them. This helps insulate the government from personal injury claims because it can show it was not negligent by insisting drivers be certified. The categories for certification are:
Additionally, a plaintiff has two years to bring a personal injury lawsuit against a private party but only six months to bring one against the government. A Rialto bus collision attorney could make sure a victim injured in a bus accident follows the unique rules in place if a government entity is the defendant.
If a bus manufacturer places a dangerous product into the commerce stream, it can be held liable if someone is hurt because of the flaw. The flaw can be in the bus design, in components that are used to manufacture the bus, or in the sale of the bus, for instance, in failing to warn a school district of some known danger such as an exploding gas tank upon impact. Manufacturers are responsible for making vehicles as safe as possible, and failure to do so can leave them liable if an accident occurs.
The injuries you suffer after a bus accident, both physical and emotional, can be traumatizing and leave you in need of money if you cannot work.
If you are injured in a wreck with a bus, call a Rialto bus accident lawyer for your initial consultation. We are here to help get you the compensation you deserve.