What Should I Do After A Bus Accident?
VTA and other buses are an efficient and economical way to get around here in San José and other Northern and Central California locations.
It's convenient to travel in California and the United States by bus. Unfortunately, being involved in a bus accident can cause serious injuries and even death.
If you've just been injured involved in a bus accident, you may want to know:
What To Do After An Injury Bus Accident?
Please read on to learn more.
What Is A Bus?
Buses are common carriers that transport people or goods for a fee. Specific federal and state rules apply to buses because they are common carriers.
What Is A “Common Carrier” And Why Is It Important To Know?
The law regarding buses says that common carriers must carry passengers and goods safely and use “the highest care and the vigilance of a very cautious person.”
This means that buses have to be even more careful than a regular motorists.
What Are Some Types Of Buses?
- City and county buses, like VTA
- Commercial buses
- Double decker buses
- Feeder buses
- Federal and state buses
- Limo buses
- Long distance buses, like Greyhound
- Mini buses
- School buses
- Tour buses
Why Are Bus Accidents So Dangerous?
Just the sheer weight of a bus can be deadly when a bus crashes into anything or anyone. A typical city bus weighs around 35,000 pounds - and that's before any passengers get on board!
By comparison, a typical car only weighs around 3,000 pounds.
Buses are heavy, with slow braking times. Buses have limited visibility, are difficult to maneuver and steer, and often lack seatbelts. This combination can lead to deadly results from a bus accident, regardless of whether you're inside or outside of the crashing bus.
Getting hurt inside a bus can cause serious personal injuries. Because most buses don't have seatbelts, and people sometimes stand up while the bus is moving, a bus passenger's body can go flying or get tossed around the bus when it crashes.
Even getting on (boarding) or off (alighting) a bus can be serious in high traffic areas where people might not pay close enough attention to the person getting on or off the bus.
When buses hit cars, and rideshares, causing severe injuries. When a heavy bus crashes into a bicyclist, moped, motorcyclist, scooter or a pedestrian, they usually don't stand a chance because of the sheer force of the bus against these unprotected people. Catastrophic injures and death can be the result of a bus accident.
What Causes Bus Accidents?
Here are some ways that bus drivers cause bus accidents:
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drowsy driving
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Illegal lane changes
- Reckless driving
- Running stop signs
- Running traffic lights
- Sudden braking
Who Can Be Sued After A Bus Accident?
People and types of entities can be sued after a bus accident. Besides the actual bus driver, here are more examples of people and entities that can be found negligent. Being negligent can mean that the person or entity is liable for the accident:
- Bus company: Bus company owners can be liable for their bus drivers because their bus drivers must be properly trained and certified before they are even allowed to drive a bus. If employers fail to train and supervise their bus drivers, they can be held liable for accident-related injuries.
- Bus companies must properly train and certify their bus drivers before they ever let them drive a bus. Then, a bus company has to keep training, and supervising, their drivers. If the company fails to do what they're required to do by law, they can be found negligent.
- Bus manufacturers: Bus designers, manufacturers and sellers have to make sure that all buses they design, manufacture or sell are safe. If a bus fails or is defective, and that causes a bus accident, these people and entities can be found negligent.
- Government: If the government designs, owns, operates or inadequately maintains the bus, they can be found negligent. Whenever you want to make a claim against the government, there is very little time to do so.
- For example, did you know that to make a claim against Valley Transit Authority (VTA), you only have 6 months? And there are special requirements that you have to meet. The VTA claim form looks pretty simple, but it has to be completed and filedcorrectly, completely and on time or rights may be lost forever.
- Maintenance company: If there was a mechanical issue caused by failing to maintain the bus correctly.
- Non-owner operator of the bus: Operating the bus for another company.
- Non-profit: Non-profit owner or operator of the bus.
- Other vehicles involved in the accident: Sometimes other drivers are part or all of the cause of a bus accident when they don't drive with “due care”. These drivers can also be found negligent.
How Long Do I Have to Make My Bus Injury Case In San José?
If you've been involved in a bus accident, you may ask yourself:
How long do I have to file an accident claim for an injury bus accident?
In California, you have two years to file a lawsuit if you are suing a privately owned company and/or a private driver. The clock starts to run on the date of the accident. The clock expires two years later. One year is 365 days.
But, if you want to sue a public entity (like the city or county) or their employee, the deadline is much shorter. The deadline to file a governmental claim is only six short months. Other limits apply, such as when a minor got hurt in the accident.
Statutes of limitations are complicated, and if you make a mistake, you can lose your case forever. That's why I recommend that you contact a good attorney who handles bus accident claims immediately after the bus accident.
What Should I Do Right After A Bus Accident?
For starters, follow these guidelines: What Must I Do After A Car Accident?
But, also do these things:
- Get the bus driver's employee number.
- Make sure that your name is listed on the log of passengers in the bus.
The driver should also log everyone's name.
- When the police arrive, they should write down all the passengers' names and identifying information.
- Ask the bus driver to show you where the video cameras inside the bus are located.
These can record the inside and the outside of the bus.
Take pictures of those video cameras and note where they are located.
Look for video cameras yourself; take pictures and note their locations.
Do I Need A Lawyer For My Bus Accident?
After a bus accident, the bus company's insurance company will fight hard to deny your claim or make a low offer to get rid of you.
I handle bus accidents in San José and these 12 California counties. I will work to hold the wrongdoers responsible.
I speak Spanish - hablo español.
If you a bus accident, contact me at (408) 214-5555 or fill out the below form, for a free consulltation.
If your loved one passed away in a bus accident, please call me about your wrongful death case.