If A Bus Driver Accelerated, Can A Claim Be Filed?

When you get on a public bus for a trip downtown, or to get to your next destination you should feel like you are in safe hands. When one thinks of a bus accident, they seldom consider what can happen on the bus alongside other passengers. One of the most common incidents is falling when the bus driver suddenly accelerates through traffic or right before getting to the next bus stop. In this article, we review whether you might have a strong foundation for a legal case and what to expect if you were in this situation. For an accurate case evaluation, you should always consult with an experienced bus accident attorney in Los Angeles.

Determining Fault for Unexpected Acceleration

For those that ride the bus regularly, unexpected acceleration and sudden jolts of speed are not uncommon to you. From the moment you get on the bus, the driver may push forward to start heading toward the next stop. Normally, instances that cause you to stumble for a few feet or bump into the passenger next to you do not warrant legal action. Similarly, a scrape or scratch may not be enough.

Though, the bus company is responsible for making sure that their drivers are certified and trained. Whether the bus schedule allows, a driver should make sure passengers are fully seated before taking off, and any acceleration is within reason. When it isn’t, rapid accelerations can cause severe injuries like:

  • Spinal cord damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Disabilities
  • Death

The bus driver does not always have control of what happens outside the bus, such as a sudden fender bender. Though they can still be found negligent for accidents caused when speeding to change lanes or avoid hazards. If you were injured on a public bus, you have the option to file a lawsuit for damages caused. Whenever your body experiences substantial harm, you should seek emergency treatment or hospitalization. A doctor can provide your personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles with official documentation to support your case. Victims that avoid going to the hospital risk their compensation getting cut in half. The court and insurance companies will deem your injuries were not as severe as you claimed them to be.

Evidence is a vital component of any case, but more so for public transportation. If, for instance, you were not sitting properly when the accident happened or acting carelessly, you may be at fault. This can void any liability and reduce damages owed to you in your case. Depending on how the accident occurred, other factors that can act against your case are whether insurance companies and the court conclude that your injury was avoidable. The driver and company would be able to avoid a serious lawsuit. To avoid this from happening, seek legal advice from an attorney for public transit-based injuries.

Investigating Bus Accident Claims

Fortunately, for injured persons, there may be at least a few witnesses that can attest you were hurt because a bus driver aggressively accelerated without warning. Your transit bus accident lawyer may ask one of the witnesses to testify if a settlement isn’t initially reached. Additionally, bus surveillance footage can assist the case to determine if the driver was negligent if the camera was recording. Keep in mind that the bus company may also use the same footage against you to point out how you can share fault as well.

Statute of Limitations

You should give yourself ample time to build a full case. The California Tort Claims Act limits plaintiffs through short deadlines to file claims against a government entity outside of suing the driver, bus company, and third-party business. If you sustained serious injuries, act immediately for a fair chance at compensation. For normal personal injury cases, the plaintiff has two years to act against negligent parties.

Public Transportation in LA

In Los Angeles, there are more than 4.5 million commuters that rideshare, drive, or take the bus to get to work alone according to the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. In the past few years public transit use has declined, but locals still rely on their services. So, when a bus crashes, collides, flips, or causes other damage, the driver is not the only one liable for the accident. The bus company is also responsible, as well as third-party businesses that routinely check the vehicle for maintenance. The following regulations must be met through the company:

  • Licensing and training requirements for all bus drivers.
  • Restrictions on hours a driver can work to avoid fatigued driving.
  • Strong policies against driving under the influence.
  • Inspections and maintenance checks before the bus gets on the road.

In LA the bus should follow issued guidelines issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and state regulations for the commercial transportation industry. Buses, also known as “common carriers,” may transport hundreds of riders on a daily basis. California law holds bus drivers and companies to a higher standard than others. Why? Bus accidents pose complex cases for the victim and a bus crash lawyer. That’s why it’s important to disclose all the details during your consultation. Not only will it help to build a strong case, but also increase your chances of a successful outcome.

About The Law Offices of Oscar H Gutierrez

Our law firm specializes in helping those who were injured due to an accident or someone else’s negligence. Navigating the insurance agencies and legal framework for compensation can be difficult, especially if English is not your first language. That’s why you should call the bilingual lawyers of The Law Offices of Oscar H Gutierrez to make sure you are compensated for your pain and suffering. 

When you meet with one of our English-speaking and Spanish-speaking personal injury attorneys, you can tell them how your accident occurred and who might be responsible. Your attorneys will then launch an investigation into your accident and the events surrounding it to find who is responsible. If someone was negligent and their lack of care led to your injury, then they will build a case to make sure they pay your medical bills. You should contact our law firm if you were injured in a: 

We can also help you with product liability and premises liability suits. Don’t leave your medical bills and property damage to chance; instead, hire a law firm that can win you the maximum settlement. Contact our office for a free consultation at 323-999-3500 or email us at contact@gutierrez.legal.