California is known for its traffic-clogged multi-lane highways and the smog they produce, so you may be surprised to learn that public transportation is used by large amounts of Californians that don’t own vehicles. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has a ridership of over fifty million people, and parents depend on school buses to safely take their children to school. Buses are one of the safest ways to travel, but accidents that cause injuries are always possible. It’s important to remember that if you’re injured in a bus accident, there can be short deadlines to file a claim and preserve evidence, so it’s prudent to get legal advice from an Orange County bus accident attorney as soon as possible. The Crockett Law Group is the most experienced and well-respected personal injury law firm in Orange County, with a team of lawyers that have successfully collected large amount of monetary compensation for people injured in bus accidents. Call (800) 900-9393 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.
What Compensation Is Available For Bus Accident Victims?
If you’re injured in a bus accident, you’re entitled to sue the responsible parties for money damages to compensate you for the money you lost and the trauma you endured. These are some of the types of damages available to bus accident victims:
These are the measurable and verifiable monetary losses that are suffered as a result of an accident. It’s important to carefully document your expenses and keep your receipts in order to be fully compensated. These are some examples of economic damages for a person injured in a bus accident:
- Lost earnings during the pendency of the case;
- Lost future earning capacity and/or lost business opportunities;
- Health care bills during the pendency of the case;
- Anticipated future healthcare expenses;
- Past and future accommodations to residence and vehicle for making them accessible;
- Prosthetics and other appliances;
- Home health aides and/or residential care;
- Property Damage and
- Related out-of-pocket expenses such as taxis to see doctors.
Non-Economic Damages are a subjective assessment of the impact of an injury on a person’s life translated into a sum of money. California does not cap the amount of non-economic damages that a person injured in a bus accident can collect, so settlements and awards can be substantial. These are some examples of non-economic damages that can be collected in a bus accident case:
- Emotional Distress;
- Loss of companionship;
- Loss of enjoyment of life and
- Damage to reputation.
Punitive Damages can be awarded to plaintiffs to punish a defendant for particularly egregious conduct under California Civil Code 3294. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to economic and non-economic damages and the amount is based on how reprehensible the defendant’s actions were and their ability to pay. Punitive damages are rare in bus accident cases but can come into play in some scenarios such as a school bus company that let a driver pick up children even though they knew he was drunk.
The best Orange County bus accident attorneys know how to maximize the value of your claim by presenting strong documentary evidence of your injuries and preparing you to give strong testimony about your injuries and losses. The Crockett Law Group can help you collect everything you’re entitled to so that you can concentrate on healing. Call (800) 900-9393 to schedule a free consultation.
Types of Bus Accidents in Orange County
Private and public bus companies are “common carriers” that California law holds to a very high duty to keep passengers and non-passengers safe. In addition to driving safely, bus companies have a duty to accommodate passengers’ reasonable needs, hire proper drivers and treat passengers respectfully. These are some of the common types of bus accidents that occur in Orange County:
- A collision between a bus and another motor vehicle;
- Bus strikes a pedestrian or cyclist;
- The bus driver stops short, accelerates too quickly, or loses control of the bus;
- Defect in the roadway, missing signage or broken traffic lights;
- Defect in the manufacturing or maintenance of the bus and
- Negligent hiring of the bus driver.
Bus accidents must be thoroughly investigated to determine how they happened and to determine all possible defendants. Once all the parties are established, they will offer their version of how the accident happened. If the statements conflict, there will be depositions to determine whose testimony is most credible. If it’s still not clear how the accident happened, it may be necessary to hire an accident reconstruction expert to look at evidence such as the rates of speed of all vehicles, skid marks, the points of impact, and other facts to determine causation. California has specific laws and regulations that govern making claims against private, municipal, and quasi-municipal bus transportation providers. That’s why it’s important to hire an attorney that has handled many Orange County bus cases.
Making A Claim Against the OCTA
There are both private and public buses operating in Orange County, but most of the buses are operated by or partnered with the OCTA. Laws and regulations for filing claims against California public entities such as OCTA are rigid and have strict time limitations. For example, a claim must be filed with the OCTA within six months of the accident, and a lawsuit must be commenced within two years. There are certain exceptions that might allow you to file a claim or a lawsuit after the deadline, but this is the last resort and might not be successful. Municipalities don’t have teams of claims representatives sitting by phone looking to settle cases, so it’s usually necessary to do a substantial amount of trial preparation and testimony before settlement. It’s important to remember that there are other types of buses in operation in Orange County that are also owned by government entities such as prison buses and some types of school buses, with their own laws and regulations. For all of these reasons, it’s prudent to hire an experienced Orange County bus accident attorney to represent you in a case against the OCTA.
Claims Against Private Bus Companies
There are many types of private bus companies that operate in and through Orange County such as:
- Greyhound, Megabus, Flixbus, and other long-distance carriers;
- Shuttle buses used by hotels and rental car companies;
- Party buses;
- School, Camp and Athletics buses;
- Media production buses and
- Sightseeing buses.
Bus companies are responsible for the operation of the buses in their fleet and for making sure that passengers are safely transported. This duty includes making sure that the drivers they hire are qualified to operate the bus they are driving and have clean records. Plaintiffs have two years to file a lawsuit against a private bus company and there is no requirement of filing a claim within six months. That said, it’s important to make sure that the company is actually private, as some bus companies may appear private, but they are actually quasi-municipal. Collecting enough compensation to get your life back on track after a bus accident is no simple task, that’s why it’s important to hire the best Orange County bus attorney you can find. Crockett Law Group is the most reputable personal injury law firm in Orange County with many successful outcomes for bus accident cases. Call (800) 900-9393 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.
Orange County Bus Accident Attorneys
If you’ve sustained severe or catastrophic injuries in a bus accident, there’s no time to waste. The sooner you make your claim, the sooner you’ll be able to collect the compensation you need for medical bills, lost earnings, out-of-pocket expenses, pain, suffering, and emotional distress. The Crockett Law Group is well known for its large settlements and verdicts, but also for its kind and patient relationships with clients. Please call (800) 900-9393 for a free no-obligation consultation.