Each year, thousands of bus riders in California and throughout America are seriously injured or killed in bus accidents. Due to their cumbersome size and weight, buses can be particularly dangerous when they are involved in crashes with smaller passenger vehicles. However, the large size of the bus often does not act as a guarantee that passengers inside will not be injured, especially if the bus rolls over or is involved in a violent crash. Passengers have been known to be thrown from the bus onto the road and/or suffer other types of trauma. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Southern California bus accident, an experienced Los Angeles bus accident lawyer will be able to better advise you regarding your legal rights and options.
Often, bus accidents in California are caused by bus driver error or negligence. Whether you are riding 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 buses have a legal obligation to safely transport their passengers.
As you might have experienced firsthand, there are many ways that a So Cal bus driver’s negligence can lead to an accident. Again, the driver’s negligence could be the reason you are able to recover financial damages for your injuries. 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. Because of the size and weight of buses, they can be difficult to stop. Bus drivers who exceed the speed limit may not be able to adjust to the changing traffic conditions or to come to a stop in time to avoid a collision.
- Driving While Impaired. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is incredibly unsafe and can lead to serious accidents. Your driver is not fit to operate a bus if he or she is over the legal limit.
- 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.
- Distracted Driving. Cell phone use aside, there are other forms of distracted driving that can prove dangerous to passengers. Any driver who takes his or her hands of the wheel, eyes off the road or mind off the task at hand 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.
Again, this is not a complete list. Your bus driver may have failed to completely stop at a stop sign or driven in some other negligent manner. A skilled Los Angeles bus accident lawyer will go over the facts of your case with you to see where the driver may have broken the law.
Don’t forget, bus companies in California have certain legal obligations, including ensuring that they hire the right people to drive their buses. This means their bus drivers must be properly trained and supervised and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition, bus maintenance also falls on the bus company. Companies need to perform regular inspections on their vehicles, paying special attention to the tires and brakes and making sure the inside of the bus is up to standards.
If you or a loved one were injured in a bus accident in Los Angeles know that there is help. You want a lawyer on your side who understands your physical injuries as well as the law. Bradley I. Kramer is a doctor-turned-lawyer with the experience, knowledge, and tenacity to help you recover what you rightfully are owed. For more information on how Bradley I. Kramer, MD, Esq. can help you or your loved one, contact him at 310.289.2600 or www.biklaw.com.