Each year, thousands of California municipal and city bus riders are seriously injured or killed in bus accidents. Due to their often cumbersome size and weight, buses cause especially catastrophic damages when they are involved in crashes with smaller passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, a bus’s large size often does not act as a guarantee that the passengers inside will not be injured, especially if the bus rolls over or is involved in a violent crash. Bus passengers have been known to be thrown from the bus onto the road and/or suffer other types of serious injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Southern California bus accident, an experienced auto accident lawyer will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.
Often, bus accidents in the San Fernando Valley are caused by bus driver error or negligence. Whether you are riding in a public bus run by the city or in a private bus owned by a company, the laws are the same: bus drivers and those in charge of the bus have a legal obligation to safely transport their passengers. This means that the company that owns the bus could be responsible for compensating you financially for your injuries. Additionally, if you were driving in a vehicle that was hit by a bus and suffered injuries as a result, reach out to a car accident lawyer to discuss your legal rights.
As you might have experienced firsthand, there are several ways that a bus driver’s negligence can lead to a serious crash involving multiple cars. Some of the negligent or reckless actions that can lead to a catastrophic bus accident include:
- Making an Unsafe Lane Change. Due to their size and shape, buses often have several blind spots. It is the bus operator’s duty to ensure that it is safe to change lanes prior to making the lane change. Changing lanes without looking properly is one of the most common reasons for auto accidents in Southern California.
- Exceeding the Speed Limit. The size and weight of a bus can make it difficult to stop. Bus drivers who drive faster than the speed limit may not be able to adjust to changing traffic conditions or brake in time to avoid a collision.
- Driving While Impaired. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is incredibly unsafe and could lead to a serious accident.
- Texting/Talking While Driving. Under California law, school, transit and commercial bus drivers are not allowed to use a cell phone or text while driving. If your bus driver was texting while operating the bus you were riding on, discuss your legal rights with an experienced lawyer.
- Distracted Driving. A driver who takes his or her hands of the wheel or eyes off the road is considered distracted.
- Failing to Stop at a Train Track. All bus drivers need to stop at train tracks to look and listen for approaching trains.
- Driving While Tired. Operating a bus, or any vehicle, while tired can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Commercial drivers, including bus drivers, are required to get adequate rest before they start a shift.
This list is not exhaustive. Your bus operator may have failed to completely stop at a stop sign or driven in another manner considered negligent under the law. A skilled San Fernando Valley auto accident lawyer will go over the facts of your case with you in detail.
Reach out to personal injury attorney Barry P. Goldberg and his team of legal injury professionals today to discuss your legal rights and potential financial recovery.