Los Angeles Bus Accident Lawyer
Los Angeles MTA bus crashes don’t happen often, but when they do, the damage can be catastrophic due to the sheer size and weight of the vehicle involved.
When a sudden accident occurs, you can count on The Salamati Firm in Los Angeles to determine liability and safety issues. We help victims obtain compensation to cover medical bills and lost income, with additional payouts for pain and suffering. If you are a spouse or child who has lost a loved one in a bus crash, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney can help you seek a favorable settlement or jury award for lost income, loss of guidance, loss of companionship, funeral expenses, and lost income.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is a public entity subject to the California Tort Claims Act, which sets forth very particular procedural rules for filing a complaint. In some cases, you may have as little as six months to initiate your claim to compensation, so it is important to act as soon as possible to preserve your legal rights.
Los Angeles MTA Bus Accidents
Contributing factors to a Los Angeles MTA bus accident often include:
- Driving too fast
- Driver inattentiveness
- Stopping suddenly
- Running off the road
- Driving drowsy
The Federal Tort Claims Act waives immunity for a governmental entity and allows a person to file a lawsuit, but you must have specific facts to support your claim and request a fair amount of damages based on your medical bills. If you were involved in a crash with a government-run MTA bus, you are subject to a six-month deadline to initiate a claim, which is a much shorter timeframe than most bus accident victims. If your claim is denied, you may file a lawsuit within two years of the denial.
School Bus Accidents
The top causes of a school bus accident include failure to yield, inattentiveness, and driving outside the lane. Other motorists are commonly held liable in these cases, as they attempt to illegally pass the school bus stop sign or fail to pay attention and crash into the rear-end of the bus.
School bus companies are liable for hiring, training, and overseeing drivers, as well as maintaining their fleet to safe standards.
Greyhound Bus Accidents
If you were injured in a Greyhound bus accident, not only the driver but the company may prove to be liable for damages. Greyhound bus crashes are commonly due to failure to yield, inattentiveness, and driving too fast.
Driver fatigue is one of the safety violations most associated with Greyhound bus crashes. A government study from 2012 concluded fatigue was a factor in 37% of all passenger bus crashes. While drivers are supposed to stop every 150 miles to get out, take some fresh air, and check the bus tires, rule G40 is not enforced, but rather, treated more like a guideline – unless drivers and the companies that employ them are held accountable for violations.
Charter Bus Crashes
Whether for business, a wedding, or sightseeing, passengers trust that their charter bus drivers will travel with utmost care. However, common culprits behind charter bus accidents include: driving too fast for conditions, failure to yield right of way, and inattentiveness. Erratic and reckless maneuvers are more common among charter bus drivers. Charter bus drivers are also statistically more likely to have a history of suspensions.
Tour Bus Accidents
The state of California (and LA in particular) is home to a considerable amount of tour bus traffic. In one high-profile crash that occurred on Highway 99 near Atwater in the summer of 2016, a tour bus driver swerved into a sign pole, which sliced through the bus, killing five and causing horrific lost limb injuries. The driver had a past history of traffic violations, including driving a bus with a suspended license. Other causes of tour bus crashes include: failure to obey traffic rules and laws, driver fatigue, driving under the influence, and poor bus maintenance.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents in the Los Angeles Metro area
Despite common perception, buses are not safer than cars, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Safety Research. The study found that the risk of a bus accident increased among:
- Young, inexperienced drivers under age 25
- Drivers over 55 – and, even more significantly, over 65
- Female drivers
- Zones with very high speed limits (over 65 mph) and very low speed limits (under 20 mph)
About 4% of drivers were deemed “inattentive” or engaged in risky driving due to a high BAC or fatigue.
Who is Liable for Bus Crash Injuries?
Special considerations apply to MTA bus accidents. It’s not always just the driver who is deemed “at fault” for causing an accident.
In general, common carriers are held to a high standard. Civ. Code 2100 states that carriers must “use the utmost care and diligence for their safe carriage, must provide everything necessary for that purpose, and must exercise to that end a reasonable degree of skill.”
By law, the LA MTA is expected to exercise reasonable diligence in hiring, training, and overseeing staff, as well as remaining current on vehicle defects and conducting routine maintenance and repairs. Despite the status as a public entity, the Los Angeles Metro Authority can be held liable for the actions or inactions of its employees.
No matter the type of bus crash, liable parties may include some or all of the following:
- The bus driver
- The bus company
- The bus manufacturer
- The bus maintenance crew
- The bus maintenance supervisor
- The driver of another vehicle involved in the crash
- A local municipality in charge of bus safety or road maintenance
Bus Accident Compensation
Filing a bus accident lawsuit can never undo the damage that has been done, but it can provide compensation to help you move forward with your life.
Bus accident settlements and awards can be sought for:
- Past, present and future hospital bills, treatments, surgeries, and therapies
- Disability-related purchases and home modifications
- Loss of past, present, and future income for the victim and all dependents
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium, companionship, or guidance
- Wrongful death
- Funeral and burial expenses
While we cannot guarantee a set amount, the awards and settlements can be quite high. In January 2016, a fatigued driver caused a fatal Greyhound bus accident near San Jose that killed two people and injured others. A passenger who lost a leg in the crash sued Greyhound and was awarded $23 million and another $4 million in punitive damages when the jury concluded that the company “demonstrated reckless indifference to the safety” of passengers and drivers and gave out “contradictory language in their rules and training” that allowed systemic fatigue to exist.
Lawsuits Play a Vital Role in Safety Advocacy
Over the years, high profile accidents have led to landmark safety reforms like the federal Motor-Coach Enhanced Safety Act of 2011 and California’s Passenger Charter-Party Carriers’ Act of 2016. Often it takes a combination of the media spotlight, the diligent work of a bus accident lawyer, and the ruling of a judge and jury to force negligent parties to admit their shortcomings and take necessary steps to improve safety and prevent future accidents.
Speak With an Experienced Bus Accident Attorney
At The Salamati Firm, our veteran attorneys tap into a powerful network of crash investigators, medical experts, and others who can substantiate your case. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bus accident, call today to explore your options with an experienced personal injury lawyer, free of charge.