Skilled Representation from a Knowledgeable Los Angeles Bus Accident Lawyer
If you use public transportation or send your child off to school on a bus, you trust that the driver, bus company, school officials, and other entities will ensure your safety. Still, bus accidents occur in Los Angeles with alarming frequency and they shatter the lives of injury victims and their families. Physically, emotionally, and financially, the impact of a bus crash is widespread. There are laws that protect you and impose liability on those at fault, but the process for filing a claim or going to court is complicated, especially when a government body is involved.
Solid, experienced legal advocacy is critical in seeking compensation for your injuries, and our Los Angeles bus accident attorneys at the Dolan Law Firm are prepared to deliver. We have represented the needs of many injured victims whose lives were torn apart by bus crashes, and we are dedicated to maximizing the amount you can recover for your losses. Our lawyers provide peace of mind during this difficult time by taking on the legal challenges for you.
Potential Responsible Parties for a Bus Accident Claim
Negligence is at the core of most bus collisions, which means you need to prove the existence of a legal duty, breach of that duty, and causation between the accident and your injuries. Complex legal concepts often arise because of the multiple parties that could potentially be responsible for the breach of duty, such as:
- The Bus Driver: Operators must follow the rules of the road, as well as special California, LA County, and city laws that apply to them. Drivers may be liable for a failure to comply with these rules or engagement in negligent acts.
- The Bus Company as the Driver’s Employer and Other Entities in Agency Relationships: When a driver, including the bus operator, causes an accident while performing job-related duties, the employer may be liable to pay compensation to injured victims. You may be entitled to recover compensation from a company, such as cruise line or tour operator, that provides transportation in connection with a tourism package.
- The Bus Company as a Common Carrier: California law provides that common carriers that transport people in exchange for compensation owe the highest duty of care to their passengers and must provide equipment and personnel suitable to meet this utmost standard. The operator’s employer may be liable for negligence in hiring a driver that is not qualified, for failing to properly train employees, or for not conducting proper maintenance measures. There may also be issues if the company does not implement or enforce safety policies.
- Manufacturers: Some bus accidents are caused by defective parts or components on the vehicle itself, rather than an operator or other motorist. A manufacturer that produces the bus can be held legally responsible in products liability where defective design, manufacture or assembly subjects passengers and others to an unreasonable risk of harm.
- Maintenance Services: Some bus companies contract with other businesses to provide maintenance on the vehicles. If this organization shirks its duty by putting an unsafe bus on the street, there may be legal liability.
- Other Drivers: Just as in a car accident, other drivers on the road may be responsible for negligence in a bus collision. Courts will look at comparative fault to determine apportionment of damages.
Complex Issues with Public Transportation Accident Injury Claims
Many Los Angeles residents rely on public transportation to get around town, which implicates the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (LACMTA) as a potential party. Additionally, school districts and boards, as employers of bus drivers, could be involved in a bus accident claim. There is a special law that applies if you are a crash victim and want to enforce your right to compensation from governmental bodies.
Under the California Tort Claims Act, you must comply with special procedures and rules when attempting to recover from a government entity like the LACMTA. Examples include:
- You must file a written claim with the appropriate governing agency within six months from the date you suffered bus accident injuries;
- Your claim must include contact information and list all potential parties that are government agencies;
- In your written claim, you must provide:
- The date, location, and other information regarding the bus accident; and,
- A detailed description of how the collision happened and how the LACMTA, school entity, or other governmental agency was negligent.
Failure to follow these specific steps could lead to a denial of your bus accident injury claim, but there are still multiple reasons the responsible party may use to justify a rejection. You can still file a lawsuit in court against the LACMTA or a school-based organization, however. Note that, under the statute of limitations designated in the California Tort Claims Act, you must sue within one year after your administrative claim is officially denied.
Other California Laws That May Impact Your Los Angeles Bus Accident Case
Besides the statutes that apply when filing a bus accident injury claim against a government body, there are other state laws that can affect your case.
- California’s Statute of Limitations: If you are pursuing a private, non-governmental entity for compensation, you have two years from the date of the bus accident to file a lawsuit in court. The California statute of limitations acts as a complete bar to your claim if you do not sue the responsible party for your losses in time. There are very limited exceptions to the law, so it is important to act quickly.
- Comparative Negligence: California follows a rule termed comparative negligence, which takes into account your own actions in a bus accident case. If you were partially responsible for causing the crash, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of blame assigned to you.
Discuss Your Claim with an Experienced Bus Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles
The attorneys at the Dolan Law Firm have a long, proven history of success in helping victims who suffer losses after being injured in a bus accident. We have produced considerable results for clients, obtaining compensation for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. However, time is of the essence in these cases, especially when you are seeking financial recovery against a governmental body like the LACMTA. If you would like to schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles bus accident lawyer, please call us toll free at 1-888-452-4752. You can also visit our website to learn more about how an attorney is a critical asset in a personal injury case.