Los Angeles Bus Accident Attorney
Bus crashes are reported every week in America. High profile accidents lead to important 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 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.
Based in Los Angeles, The Salamati Firm evaluates bus crashes 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. We also work with spouses and children who have lost a loved one in a bus crash, seeking settlements or jury awards for lost income, loss of guidance, loss of companionship, funeral expenses, and lost income. Call 800-957-9898 to speak with bus accident attorney Sean F. Salamati today.
Types of bus accidents
The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards define a “bus” as a motor vehicle capable of carrying 10 or more passengers. There are many different types of buses subject to common carrier laws, as well as state and federal licensing requirements. Our lawyers can help you understand which legal statutes apply to your bus accident.
Most of the following crash data comes from a comprehensive surveying of nationwide bus accidents spanning from 1999 to 2005 conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan.
School bus accident
The top causes of a school bus crash 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.
Greyhound bus crash
Transit buses like Greyhound often crash due to: failure to yield, inattentiveness, and driving too fast. Transit drivers are statistically more likely to have history of accidents, moving violations and DWIs. Driver fatigue is one of the most commonly cited safety violations in 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.
Charter bus crash
The most common culprits behind a charter bus accident include: driving too fast, failure to yield, and inattentiveness. Erratic and reckless maneuvers were most common among charter bus drivers. Charter bus drivers were also statistically more likely to have a history of suspensions.
City bus accident
The University of Michigan found the top causes of intercity bus crashes were: driving too fast, running off the road, and inattentiveness. Intercity bus drivers were most likely to over correct, stop suddenly in the road, and drive drowsy.
Tour bus accident
The state of California (and LA in particular) sees a lot of traffic from tour buses. 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
Buses are not safer than cars, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Safety Research, “Risk factors Associated with Bus Accident Severity in the United States.”
The study mostly focused on the driver component of crashes, but 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 blood alcohol levels or fatigue.
Who is liable for bus crash injuries?
Bus crash liability 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 statistics
An average of 55,000 bus crashes occur in America each year, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Of these, there are 11,000 crashes with injuries and 240 fatal accidents. Bus crashes involving pedestrians or cyclists account for nearly a third of all bus-related fatalities each year.
School bus accident statistics
Researchers analyzed nearly 4,000 bus New York accidents spanning from 2010 to 2013 and found:
- Buses comprise 25% of all miles students travel in vehicles, but account for just 4% of injuries.
- 55% of bus accidents were considered “preventable.”
- 4% of bus accidents involved distracted driving or who drivers who displayed “poor judgment.”
- Most school bus accidents involved other vehicles rear-ending the bus or illegally attempting to pass.
Bus accident compensation
Filing a bus accident lawsuit can never undo the damage that has been done, but it can provide compensation so you don’t have to keep re-living the nightmare financially.
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.
Speak with an experienced bus accident lawyer
The Salamati Firm includes more than just veteran attorneys. Your case receives the power of our 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 800-957-9898 to explore your options with an experienced attorney, free of charge.
Bus wreck in California: resources
- CNN – Asleep at the wheel? Greyhound fails to enforce its own safety rule http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/23/us/greyhound-investigation/
- California State Government Website – Senate Bill No 247 http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB247
- Journalist’s Resource – Bus Crashes: What Does Research Say? http://journalistsresource.org/studies/environment/transportation/bus-crashes-united-states-what-does-research-say
- University of Michigan – BUS OPERATOR TYPES AND DRIVER FACTORS IN FATAL BUS CRASHES: RESULTS FROM THE BUSES INVOLVED IN FATAL ACCIDENTS SURVEY http://www.umtri.umich.edu/content/MotorCarrierTypeinFatalBusCrashes_final.pdf
- School Transportation News – STUDY FINDS OTHER DRIVERS CAUSE MOST SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENTS IN NEW YORK http://stnonline.com/news/latest-news/item/5629-study-finds-other-drivers-cause-most-school-bus-accidents-in-new-york