Under California law, an entity is a “common carrier” if it markets itself and provides transportation services for people and charges fees for those services. A public bus is a prime example of this. Because common carriers have significant contact with the public, they are subject to strict regulations and held to a higher standard of care.
Our team of Los Angeles bus accident lawyers has extensive knowledge and experience with California common carrier law to establish liability. We have a thorough understanding of how the common carrier status of a bus affects liability, and we apply that– to recover the largest available damages awards for our clients who have suffered serious injuries.
When is a California common carrier liable for bus accident injuries?
California companies that operate buses are under strict obligations to train their employees in all aspects of passenger safety and to provide secure vehicles for passenger transport. When those companies fail to comply with these obligations, passengers might suffer injuries from:
- Falls that happen when a bus starts before passengers have an opportunity to board the bus or to seat themselves.
- Broken or poorly maintained equipment that fails to protect passengers in collisions.
- Altercations with other passengers where a bus driver had an opportunity to prevent it but failed.
- Loading or unloading at hazardous or dangerous locations.
- Negligent driving and failure to follow traffic safety rules.
In all cases, the specific facts of the accident that caused injuries will determine whether the bus company, the driver or any other persons or entities are liable. Accident victims in southern California should always consult with a Los Angeles bus accident attorney as soon as is possible for a complete liability analysis.
Are there liability exceptions under California laws that affect common carriers?
Under California’s common carrier laws, a person will be entitled to enhanced safety protection if they are within the definition of a passenger. A “passenger” is someone who intends to ride the bus, who is accepted by the bus as a rider, and who places themselves under the control of the vehicle.
A common carrier can terminate someone’s status as a passenger if they do not adhere to the terms and conditions of riding the bus. The same is true if an individual has a medical condition that might impair their safety– or if the bus is at capacity and the person’s presence would not be safe.
A bus can also terminate or deny a passenger relationship if an individual is carrying hazardous or dangerous substances. In sum, a common carrier will not owe the same standard of care to a person whose passenger status has been terminated for any of the above.
How does a personal injury lawyer prove common carrier liability?
To prove liability, a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will use the facts of a bus accident to show how the common carrier failed to adhere to the legal standards of care, and how the accident victim’s injuries were the direct and proximate result of that failure.
The lawyer will then use other evidence to demonstrate the monetary value of the victim’s losses and injuries, including the victim’s past and current medical bills and anticipated future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The accident victim should retain copies of all invoices from physicians, hospitals, and therapists, pay stubs, and other records of past wage payments. In addition, they should compile any additional documentation and materials that relate to costs that the victim incurred as a result of the accident.
Call us at Salamati Law for a free consultation
Contact us to speak to a personal injury lawyer for a no-fee consultation about how you can recover compensation for your California common carrier bus accident injuries. We have the skill and expertise to recoup the full amount of damages that you deserve.