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Bus Accident and Injury Attorneys


Bus Accidents in General

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards define a bus as any motorized vehicle capable of carrying more than 10 passengers. The category includes school buses, large vans used for public transport, church buses, municipal transit buses, many airport shuttles, tour buses, trolleys and interstate carriers, such as Greyhound buses.

Because of California’s population growth, and the growth of the Sacramento Area in particular, the number of school and city buses is growing as well. More bus riders and students mean greater chance for accidents and injuries. Unfortunately, a large number of buses every year are the cause of traffic accidents or in some way are involved in traffic fatalities and injuries.

Millions of Americans use buses as transportation, including 24 million elementary and secondary students who need buses to travel to and from school. Of these, almost 12,000 children are injured each year in school bus accidents.

If you or a loved one has been injured in such circumstances, you can file for a claim of damages against the bus company. A bus company must fulfill a duty of utmost care that comes with being a public carrier of passengers. This duty is greater than the duty owed by the bus company to drivers of other vehicles and to pedestrians on the road. Since buses usually are intended for passenger transportation, the rules and regulations related to a bus company’s liability for passenger’s injury or death in accidents are very high.

A bus accident lawsuit in Sacramento can stem from incidents involving: Buses used for public transportation, buses operated by private companies for long distance travel, tour buses and school buses.

If you have been injured as the result of a bus accident or your child has been injured in a school bus accident, either as a passenger or a pedestrian or as a driver of the bus or the passenger of another vehicle involved in the accident, you may be able to file a claim against the bus company or other responsible party to recover your damages.

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Laws on Seat Belts in Buses

Although the bus driver’s seats in these vehicles must by law have seat belts, the passengers' in many of these buses do not because the federal government does not require passenger seat belts. The governments reasoning is that installing them would cost the bus manufacturers and bus companies money that, so far, the government believes they should not be compelled to spend. Because of the lack of a mandate to install seat belts, when a tour bus or a Greyhound bus crashes, bus riders are at a greater risk of being seriously injured or killed than would be the case if bus restraints were required.

Although federal law does not require these types of buses to have seat belts for passengers, some courts across the nation have nevertheless allowed suits to proceed against those responsible for deciding not to install them.

California law mandates that new school buses (smaller buses purchased or leased after July 1, 2004 and larger ones purchased after July 1, 2005) be equipped with lap and shoulder restraint systems similar to those found in most automobiles. However, older school buses still in service, are not required to be retrofitted with seat belts. Because these older buses lack this basic protection, children in older buses are at a greater risk of injury in a school bus crash.

Children can also be hurt when supervision at the school drop-off and pick-up points is lacking. Often these bus accidents occur when the children are entering or exiting a bus. In fact, such bus accidents are more common than those involving bus crashes on the open road. To reduce the risk of accidental injury in the above circumstances, the State of California requires school bus drivers to adhere to a list of precautions. These include activating flashing lights when stopping to pick up students and assisting them in crossing roads.

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Common Types of Bus Accidents

  • Pedestrians hit by buses
  • Accidents caused by tire blowouts on buses
  • Collisions resulting from poorly maintained buses
  • Bus driver negligence
  • Bus accidents caused by defective machinery, or an untrained driver or operator
  • Drivers inattention or error due to tiredness, stress or other factors
  • Poor road or weather conditions
  • Inadequate security
  • Criminal activity, such as an assault by a passenger on the driver. The bus service operator may be liable for damages caused by criminal activity if the criminal activity could have been foreseen and avoided.

Regardless of the cause of the accident, a Sacramento bus accident attorney can get you compensation to help ensure that victims of bus accidents and their families receive the compensation necessary to continue leading a normal life. A Sacramento bus and school bus accident lawyer from the Crow Law Offices can pursue legal action in these cases.

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What You Should Do Post Accident

Injured victims and parents of injured victims involved in bus accident cases should never agree to settle for any amount of money or services without first consulting a Sacramento law firm for advice. Even if only to ask questions, it is essential to consult an experienced Sacramento bus accident lawyer. Unscrupulous behavior by insurance companies and leasing corporations is common after a tragedy. Sacramento bus and school bus accidents involve complicated laws that should be handled by experienced lawyers.

Because California law dictates that any bus or school bus accident lawsuit must be filed within a certain time period, it is important to contact a Sacramento bus accident law firm as soon after the accident as possible. Even if the guilt or negligence is clear in a bus accident, a claim may not be made if it is filed after the statute of limitation has ended.

Because buses are usually operated by government entities, legal actions that stem from bus accidents in Sacramento can often prove quite complicated. Making claims for damages against a public entity such as a school or a school district can be difficult, and there are strict time limitations to make them. The laws are complicated and vary greatly depending on circumstances surrounding the accident. Therefore it is essential that you contact a Sacramento bus accident attorney at the Crow Law Offices right away in order to protect your right to recover compensation for you damages from the at fault party.

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Injuries Sustained in Bus Related Accidents

The results of a bus crash often are catastrophic. Buses usually carry passengers who ride without safety measures, such as seatbelts or any other type of restraint to protect them in an accident.

The victim of such an accident may seek bus accident compensation in Sacramento for: Brain and spinal cord injuries, broken bones, sprains, abrasions and lacerations, internal and soft tissue injuries. The victims of these accidents and their families face enormous medical bills, and are often disabled from work.

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Statistics on Bus Accidents

According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, there are less than 300 fatal bus accidents in an average year. Of those, about 30% involve transit buses and 40% involve school buses. 12,000 children riding the school bus to and from school are injured each year in school bus accidents. Although the majority of injuries are minor, some are catastrophic and as many as 11 children a year die as a result of a school bus accident.

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Proving Your Case

If you were a passenger on a bus that was involved in an accident, the bus company, whether public or private, owes you the utmost duty of care associated with being a common carrier. This duty of utmost care is higher than the duty owed by the bus company to drivers of other vehicles and pedestrians.

Early in the case it is important to identify certain parties, such as the owner of the bus, the company that operates it, and the company responsible for making repairs and maintaining the bus in a safe mechanical condition.

Some of the responsible parties your Sacramento bus accident attorney may identify include:

  • The Bus Company
  • Bus Maintenance Companies
  • State or Local Governments
  • School Districts and School Boards
  • Affiliated Cruise Lines and Tour Operators
  • Bus drivers involved in a bus crash. Bus drivers can be held personally responsible for the injuries sustained by the passengers, although generally it is the companies employing the bus driver, and their insurance companies, who are held financially responsible for bus crashes and accident injuries
  • Drivers of other vehicles and their employers
  • Manufacturers of the Bus and/or its Parts

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Financial Damages in Bus Accident Cases

When a bus accident occurs the consequences can be both emotionally and financially devastating, not only for the passengers on board but also for their dependents and loved ones. Your Sacramento bus accident lawyer may identify possible claims for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Life care expenses
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Workers' compensation
  • Punitive damages
  • Wrongful death

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