What is a bus accident?
A bus accident occurs when a bus is involved in a collision with another vehicle, a pedestrian, a bicyclist or when the bus driver loses control and has a single-vehicle bus accident. While bus accidents are fairly rare, they have the potential to cause more injuries and fatalities because of the number of passengers who may be riding on the buses. Some bus accidents also involve people who are struck by buses after they get off or when they are boarding. The consequences of bus accidents are potentially more serious than in other types of accidents because of the number of potential victims and responsible parties. People who are injured in bus accidents may need to get help from an experienced San Jose bus accident lawyer in order to figure out the complex liability issues that may be involved.
How common are bus accidents?
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 69,000 bus crashes happened in the U.S. in 2014. In 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that there were 257 fatal bus crashes in the U.S. with 295 total fatalities. Of the fatalities, 49 occurred to bus passengers while the remainder happened to people who were located outside of the buses. Among the fatal bus crashes, 190 deaths involved school or transit buses, 32 occurred in intercity bus accidents and 35 occurred in all other buses.
Common bus accident injuries
Bus passengers, other motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists may all be injured in bus accidents. The types of injuries that may be suffered in these accidents will depend on whether the people are passengers, motorists, pedestrians or bicyclists. Pedestrians and bicyclists who are struck by buses are likely to suffer fatal injuries. Passengers inside of buses rarely have seatbelts available to them. When an accident happens, they may be violently tossed around. Some of the most common types of injuries that can happen to bus passengers in accidents include the following:
• Soft tissue injuries such as whiplash, strains and strains
• Head and neck injuries
• Spinal injuries
• Traumatic brain injuries
• Shoulder injuries
• Psychological injuries
Transportation services in the San Jose area
There are a number of different bus services that are located in the San Jose area. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority provides transit bus services throughout the city. Greyhound has a bus station in San Jose, offering transportation to and from the city. The San Jose Unified School District provides school buses to transport children to and from school. There are also a number of private charter bus companies and party buses. In addition to the different buses that are available in San Jose, visitors and residents can also utilize the light rail system.
How soon should you file a case after a San Jose bus accident?
It is vital for you to file your claim as soon as possible after you have been injured in a San Jose bus accident. If the responsible party is the government, you only have six months from the date of the accident to file your claim with the VTA or the school district. After you file this claim, you will then have two years to file a formal lawsuit against the governmental entity. If the accident happened on a private charter bus, you will have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the company. In general, it is important to get legal help as soon as possible after an accident regardless of whether the bus is owned by the government or by a private company.
Rights of car and bus drivers
In California, all motor vehicle drivers owe a duty of care to drive with the same degree of caution as a reasonable driver would use in the same or similar situation. Because bus drivers are responsible for a greater number of people and transport them in exchange for payment, the duty that they owe is heightened. Under Cal. Civ. Code § 2100, bus drivers are considered to be common carriers because they provide public transportation services. They must use the highest degree of care and diligence in transporting their passengers. As common carriers, bus drivers in California are responsible for doing the following:
• Not starting or stopping abruptly
• Not speeding
• Protecting passengers from the violent actions of other passengers
• Providing safe vehicles
• Providing reasonable accommodations for the elderly and disabled
• Treating passengers respectfully
Contact a San Jose bus accident attorney
If you are injured in a bus accident, you should talk to a San Jose attorney who is experienced in handling bus accident cases as soon as possible. Bus accidents often have multiple responsible parties and complex issues of liability. Schedule a consultation with our office today to learn about the rights that you might have.