Bus accidents are more frequent in California than most people believe. Since buses are heavy vehicles and carry many passengers, an accident will leave behind numerous victims. There are various causes of bus accidents, including negligence from drivers, poorly maintained cars, roads in poor condition, and unfavorable weather conditions. Depending on the nature and severity of the accident, injuries resulting from a bus accident may range from minor injuries to severe bodily trauma or death. If you or your loved one is injured in a bus accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the party liable for the accident. Establishing causes of the accident and responsible parties could be complicated. Therefore, it is essential to enlist the help of a competent attorney from the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney.
Overview of Bus Accidents
Buses are large vehicles that ferry many passengers. Even though buses are lower in number than other cars, bus accidents are a common occurrence. Whether you are traveling on a school bus, tour bus, or public transportation bus, you can get compensation for injuries suffered in an accident. Several role players are expected to do their duty of ensuring that a coach does not get into an accident. If you are involved in a bus accident, you will need to understand the cause of the accident and liable parties. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you will get compensation for your injuries. Also, you can file a wrongful death claim if your loved one was killed in a bus accident.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Bus accidents happen due to many different factors. Most people assume that accidents are issues that need to be dealt with on the road, but there is much more to it. Buses are large vehicles and not enough mirrors for the driver to see all parts of the car. This makes it difficult to see an approaching vehicle or an obstacle on the road. However, there are more people than just a bus driver that can contribute to the accident. A car with malfunctioning parts may get into an accident even when it is driven carefully.
If you are injured in a bus accident, understanding the cause of the accident will help identify liable parties for the personal injury claim. The following are some of the most common causes of bus accidents:
Drivers are major role players in ensuring the safety of us occupants and other road users. Before operating a bus, drivers are expected to be well trained and receive a commercial driver’s license. Since a coach is a heavy vehicle, training will take much more time as compared to other cars. Sometimes an individual may get the driving job even when they are not qualified as a result of inadequate testing or an act of nepotism.
An unskilled driver will not be able to make the right decisions on the road and poses a threat. If you suffer injuries from an accident caused by an unqualified driver, both the driver and their employer may be held liable for the accident. Bus drivers may have long shifts of work without time to rest, which makes them extremely tired. Driver fatigue can cause reckless driving since they may tend to sleep while on the wheel.
Another way in which a driver’s negligence can cause bus accidents is reckless driving. Some drivers do not keep the right distance between them and other vehicles. This increases the risk of T-bone and rear-ends car collisions. Over speeding and reckless change of lanes can be dangerous since buses are large vehicles that might hit other cars when trying to change lanes. When the driver’s negligence caused a single-car accident or collision with other vehicles, they will be held liable for the injuries you suffered.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
Drunk driving is one of the main contributing factors of accidents in California. Even though driving while intoxicated is an offense, some us drivers use drugs or alcohol, which impairs their judgment. Intoxication can either be from consuming alcohol or other drugs. A drunk driver will not be able to focus on the road and is likely to cause an accident. Behaviors that are common among drunk drivers include:
- Swerving recklessly from one lane to another
- Over speeding
- Turning without signaling
- Improper merging
- Failing to pull over for an emergency
All of the above behaviors are likely to cause a crash. In most bus accidents, the occupants of small cars are more likely to suffer injuries. After involvement in a bus accident, it is essential to check the status of the driver and other people involved in the accident. In the personal injury claim, you will be required to show proof of intoxication. If you called the police and they took the blood alcohol content of the driver, you can use the report to show that driving under the influence of drugs was the leading cause of the bus accident.
California has some dangerous roads that could cause accidents. An uncorrected defect on the road poses a danger to all road users. Common road defects that could endanger drivers and other road users include:
- Cracked and uneven pavements
- Missing or broken traffic signs which could misguide the drivers
- Inadequate lighting on the streets, which could cause drivers to hit obstacles on the way.
- Obstacles on the road. This could either be fallen branches, vehicle wreckage, or other foreign objects
- Excessive grade
- Lack of bumps on the roads
- Weak guardrails
Any of the above defects can cause a driver to lose control of the bus causing it to tip over or hit other vehicles. The longer the road defect has existed, the stronger your injury lawsuit will be. This is because it will be apparent that the defect should have been corrected earlier by the relevant authorities. After the accident, it is crucial to identify the hazard that would have caused the accident and to take photos. Photographic evidence is a piece of evidence that will be very important to prove negligence in your lawsuit.
If you suffer an injury that was caused by poor road conditions, you need to identify the government agency responsible for maintaining the road. Also, an entity contracted to do road works and does not do it on time or doesn’t do a good job can be held liable for the bus accident. Sometimes it will not be clear who the liable party in the accident is, but an experienced personal injury attorney can help you investigate and find the responsible party. After identifying the liable party, you have to prove that they owed you a duty of care, which they breached, causing the bus accident.
Poorly Maintained Buses
Some bus companies and owners neglect their vehicles and fail to keep them in the right working condition. A vehicle needs to be regularly serviced so it can be fit to function on the road. When a bus is not maintained, it is prone to causing an accident. Even when federal laws require buses to get checked regularly, some owners ignore the law to avoid incurring costs that accompany repairs.
While distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs, and driver error are the leading causes of a bus accident, mechanical failure is equally dangerous. Some vehicle defects are unforeseeable but can be prevented by regular car maintenance. If you suffer serious injury in a bus accident which resulted from mechanical failure, the bus company will be held liable for your injuries
The following are some common issues that portray a mechanical malfunction in a bus accident:
- Faulty, weak, or improperly inflated tires. Buses are heavy vehicles and will require all the support they need. A worn-out tire is likely to burst and cause an accident
- They have broken tail lights. Broken lights make it difficult for the driver to see obstacles on the road
- Defective brake lights
- Worn out steering mechanism, which could cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle
When you file a lawsuit, you will be required to prove how a mechanical malfunction resulted in the accident and hence, your injuries. Sometimes the breakdown is a result of defective parts from the manufacturer. There are several ways in which your attorney can prove the existence of a defect in the bus accident personal injury lawsuit. This is by proving defects in the bus or failure to warn of the dangers of a particular part. In this case, the part manufacturer will be a liable party in the accident.
Unfavorable Weather Conditions
Drivers are expected to be careful on the road and prevent the occurrence of an accident. However, driving in adverse climatic conditions poses more threats to road users. Failure to take appropriate measures in these times could result in serious injuries:
Some of the dangerous weather conditions that could create the risk of a bus accident include:
- Rain and snow - High rainfall and snow can cause slippery roads making it easy for a bus to lose control and hit other cars or pedestrians on the road. The presence of snow decreases the visibility of the driver, and they have less time to react in case of an emergency
- High winds - High winds will blow snow dust and other obstacles to the roads decreasing the driver’s visibility. Also, the winds could break branches from trees, which makes it difficult for the driver to maneuver
- Fog - At any time of the day, the presence of fog could diminish visibility and judgment on the road
Regardless of the weather conditions, the driver has to ensure the safety of passengers and other road users. Negligence from the driver can put other road users in danger of severe injuries or death. Even when unfavorable weather conditions contributed to the accident, you can file a personal injury claim and get compensation for your injuries.
Negligence from Other Road Users
Sometimes a bus may be in the right condition and drive carefully but still get into an accident. Negligence from other drivers and road users can increase the risk of bus accidents. A bus is a heavy vehicle, and an impact with smaller vehicles could cause a severe accident. When a driver does not keep the right distance between their car and the bus, it may be difficult for the bus driver to notice their presence. This will increase the risk of rear-end car accidents. During an emergency on the road, a bus may not be able to stop at the right time. Drivers who make sudden stops or turns may be held liable for the collision.
Also, pedestrians and cyclists may try to cross in the wrong parts of the road, causing a bus to lose control and get into an accident. When another driver operates a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, they pose a risk to other road users and can be a cause of a bus accident. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you can prove that other road users caused the bus accident. In this case, the other driver will be held liable for your injuries.
Bus flames can be particularly dangerous. This is because the passengers at the rear end will find it difficult to get out and escape doors may be too small for the occupants. Fires in buses will arise from a faulty engine. Bus companies are expected to maintain their vehicle engines in good condition and avoid oil leakages. If you suffer a bus accident from a fire, the bus owners may be held liable for your injuries.
Tires and wheel wells can also cause a fire. Under-inflated tires will cause a fast heat buildup when the bus is driven at high speed. Whether you are a passenger on the bus, a pedestrian, or an occupant of another vehicle, you may file a personal injury lawsuit for injuries suffered in a bus accident.
After identifying the cause of a bus accident in which you were injured, you need to find the liable party. In the hearing, you will be required to prove negligence from the responsible party. The elements of negligence in a bus accident lawsuit are:
- Showing that the defendant owed you a duty of care. The duty of care is the responsibility that each person has to ensure they don’t cause harm to others
- Prove that the defendant breached the duty of care. Individuals violate the duty of care by acting in a way that puts other people in danger
- Show that the breach of duty was a substantial factor in causing your injuries
Common Types of Injuries in a Bus Accident
Bus accidents are often severe. If you are a passenger or an occupant of a smaller car, you are likely to suffer more severe injuries. Depending on the nature of the bus accident, you may suffer the following types of injuries:
You will experience a whiplash injury if the bus suddenly stops or makes contact with another massive object, the body will continue forward and then backward, which will cause snapping of the neck. Whiplash injuries are not very serious and could resolve on their own. However, it is essential to seek medical attention to ensure that there isn’t a more severe issue.
Head and Brain Injuries
Most of the accidents will cause an impact on your body from other objects. A head injury will result when your head is hit or severely shook. It is common that after an accident, especially a rollover, your head will collide with the seats, roof, or even widows. Also, your head may suffer penetrative injuries when scraped by broken mirrors or bus parts. Minor head injuries resolve in a short time and may not require an extended stay in the hospital.
However, serious bus accidents can cause a traumatic brain injury. A brain injury could be caused by an impact on the head or penetration of sharp objects in the skull. Most traumatic brain injuries will have a long time effect on you, and you may not be able to live a normal life. Some of the symptoms of a brain injury could be severe headaches, difficulty in coordination, blurred vision, and dizziness. The symptoms of a brain injury may not manifest immediately after an accident. You may walk away only to realize later that you were injured. After an accident, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is an essential part of the body since it supports the whole body and facilitates motion. Most bus accidents will cause an injury to your spine. If you are injured in one of the spinal discs, the entire spinal cord may be damaged. A spinal injury may be partial or complete. An incomplete injury causes a malfunction from the point of the injury downwards. An injury on the lower part of the spine will damage your bladder and reproductive organs.
On the other hand, if your spinal cord is completely severed, your motor functions could be affected. Most bus accident victims who suffer a spinal cord injury may be left with partial or full paralysis. This will affect your daily life, causing you to be dependent on others. With the help of a competent personal injury attorney, you can identify the liable party in the accident and file a compensation lawsuit against them.
If the impact of the bus crash is sturdy, you may be thrown out of your seat and strike the interior of the bus with your body. If this happens, you are more likely to suffer broken bones. The bones that break after the accident will depend on the point of impact. Depending on the severity of the injury, broken bones take a long time to heal, and you may incur high costs to treat them. Some bone fractures could damage your limbs and prompt an amputation.
Most serious bone injuries will not resolve completely after an accident, and your ability to work may be significantly affected. Broken bones on the ribs could cause injuries to your internal organs, which poses a risk to your life.
Cuts and Lacerations
Buses have multiple windows and other breakable parts. When an accident occurs, the glass windows will shatter, putting the passengers at risk of severe lacerations and deep cuts. Cuts to the skin may seem like minor injuries, but delayed treatment can cause long-time severe consequences. Deep cuts may require slices, while cuts on the facial area may require reconstructive surgeries. Scars left by deep cuts may cause damage to the skin nerves and tissues. Also, scarring is likely to affect your self-esteem, causing emotional suffering. Even when the injuries you suffered are minor, it is essential to seek medical care. The reports made by your doctor during treatment will be used as evidence for compensation in the personal injury lawsuit.
Internal injuries are some of the most severe injuries you can suffer from a bus accident. These injuries could either be a result of the penetration of sharp objects in your body or forceful impact. Internal injuries are challenging to detect and can cause death if left untreated. The most common types of internal injuries include:
- Internal bleeding
- Ruptured spleen
- Injury to the organs
- Brain Bleeds
Find a Orange County Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Buses offer a cheap alternative for long-distance traveling hence carry many commuters. Most bus accidents are severe, and if you survive the accident, you may be left with serious injuries. Injuries from a bus accident will put a toll on your financial life due to the expensive medical bills. Also, severe injuries may prevent you from going to work and thus affect your ability to earn a living. By filing a personal injury claim, you can recover compensation for all losses you incurred as a result of the injuries. Seeking legal representation from Orange County Personal Injury Attorney is one of the wisest decisions you can make when filing a compensation lawsuit. If you are in Orange County, CA, call us today at 714-876-1959 to discuss more details of your case.