Updated August 4, 2021
Bus Accident Attorney
With thousands of school buses, public transit buses, and charter buses traveling our shared roads, bus accidents are common. Due to their size, these accidents can cause devastating injuries.
The Injury Advocates Group legal team has handled this case type, and is prepared to stand up to the insurance company on your behalf. We invite you to read our free bus accident claim resource article below. If you need bus accident attorney, call us for a free consultation and ask how we can help maximize your bus accident settlement.
Table of Contents
Bus Accident Strategy
Bus Accident Settlement Information
9 – Bus Accident Q&A
Who Can I Sue for a Bus Accident?
The most common defendants or responsible parties for a bus accident will be the bus company or whoever was the driver of the other cars that caused the bus to have an accident. This is a complete list of all potential defendants in a bus accident case (with a focus on Los Angeles):
- ♦ Bus Driver
- ♦ Bus Owner
- ♦ Bus Company
- ♦ Bus Company Supervisors
- ♦ Bus Company Training Staff
- ♦ Bus Mechanic
- ♦ Bus Manufacturer
- ♦ LACMTA / Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
- ♦ LADOT / Los Angeles Department of Transportation
- ♦ LBT / Long Beach Transit
- ♦ School System
- ♦ School Bus Driver
In bus accidents it is important to investigate the bus company or system that was operating the bus. This investigation can often reveal other avenues of recovery.
For example, if that bus company has a history of accidents, our team could locate information from prior lawsuits that can help build a case against the bus company for your case.
Our bus accident attorneys are members of local and national organizations and databases that have access to this type of information. We often purchase copies of testimony from other cases to help us get an edge in our clients’ cases and maximize your recovery. If you need a Los Angeles bus accident attorney, call our law firm and allow us to help maximize your recovery.
Can I Sue if a Bus Injures Me at a Bus Stop?
Yes, if you are at a bus stop and a bus hits you or injures you, you can sue the bus driver, the bus company, and the transit system that was operating the bus. Bus stop accidents can happen for a number of reasons, including:
♦ Bus going too fast
♦ Bus driver didn’t account for bad weather and slid into the bus stop
♦ The transit system put the bus stop in a dangerous place
♦ Construction at a bus stop forced you to wait on the street or close to the street
♦ Bus driver being under the influence or high
Bus stop accidents are complicated because they will often require accident reconstruction experts to map out how the accident happened to prove who was at fault, which is called legal liability.
It is important for a lawyer and accident reconstruction expert to visit a bus stop accident site immediately before physical evidence goes away, like rubber which may be grounded into asphalt.
Tour Bus Accident Settlement Claims
Can I File a Lawsuit Against Tour Bus for Accident?
Yes, you can sue a tour bus for causing an accident. Due to the nature of what tour buses do, they are considered common carriers. Common carriers have statutorily required obligations to ensure their drivers are qualified and received adequate training and supervision. This is not always the case with tour bus companies, because they are running on a small profit margin and cut corners on hiring, training, and supervision of their drivers.
Do Tour Buses Have Special Dangers?
Yes, tour buses have special dangers, including open air upper decks, that have caused catastrophic accidents and head injuries. These types of cases require safety experts to evaluate the tour bus companies’ internal workings. Careful depositions and written discovery are required to flush out the tour bus companies’ corporate conduct which allowed your tour bus injuries to happen.
Can I Settle a Tour Bus Accident Claim?
Yes, you can settle a tour bus accident claim, but because these cases are complex they need special attention. These are cases where an experienced vehicle accident lawyer on your side will make all the difference. Do not make the mistake of trying to negotiate with a tour bus company directly for an accident on a tour bus. Tell us about your tour bus accident and we’ll provide a free case evaluation.
School Bus Accident Settlement Claims
Are School Buses Safe?
Generally, yes, school buses are safe. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that school buses are statistically safer for children than cars for transportation to and from school.
Despite that statistic, school bus accidents do happen, and children are hurt in them every year.
Government data shows that about 131 school bus accident fatalities happen every year in the United States. One of the reasons for these injuries is that school buses do not require children to wear safety belts, which increases the likelihood of children being injured.
Are Students in Danger Leaving a School Bus?
Yes, students are in danger after getting out of a school bus. School buses present unique dangers for children. One of our lawyers reviewed a case recently where a child was injured after getting out of a school bus and trying to cross the street. The school bus driver did not wait for the child to cross, and lowered the school buses stop sign, after which a car attempted to pass the bus and struck a child. This case highlights the complexity of school bus accident cases.
Are School Bus Accident Cases Expensive?
Yes, school bus accident cases can be expensive, and if they involve a pedestrian student they are much more costly than a regular vehicle accident lawsuit.
School bus accident cases almost always require investigation into the school bus system’s driver training programs, as well as the school system’s policies and procedures regarding safe transportation of children. We have access to national experts on these issues to help us prove the school system missed opportunities to be safer and avoid your child from being hurt or catastrophically injured due a school bus or school bus driver.
Who Can I Sue for a School Bus Accident?
If your child was injured in a school bus accident, there are several possible defendants that you can sue and from whom you may recover a settlement for your child’s injuries.
In school bus accident cases, you may need to sue the city, county, the state, or any consulting or third party companies those government entities used to develop their school bus policies and procedures.
Which Buses Are in the Most Accidents?
It is difficult to pin down exactly which buses are in the most number of accidents because up-to-date numbers of accidents nationally for each bus company and bus type is not well reported. Comprehensive research was done on this topic 15 years ago, and notes that:
♦ 1% of all fatal bus accidents are school bus accidents
♦ 5% of all fatal bus accidents are transit bus accidents
♦ 4% of all fatal bus accidents are charter and tour bus accidents
Similar research was done by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Again, this research only reported numbers of fatalities, and not total numbers of bus accidents.
The most common categories of buses that are in accidents are:
♦ School bus accidents (1,172 accidents between 2006-2015)
♦ Tour bus accidents
♦ Party bus accidents
♦ City bus accidents
♦ County bus accidents
♦ Casino bus accidents
♦ Charter bus accidents
The largest common carrier bus companies that may have an accident history in your area are:
♦ Greyhound accident
♦ Boltbus accident
♦ Peter Pan Bus Lines accident
♦ Lux Bus America accident
♦ Adirondack Trailways accident
♦ Jefferson Lines accident
♦ RedCoach accident
♦ OurBus accident
♦ Southern Stages accident
♦ Baron Bus accident
♦ BestBus accident
♦ Supertours accident
♦ Bieber Tours accident
♦ Express Arrow accident
♦ Jet Set Express accident
♦ TripperBus accident
Our firm has access to data that can show if the bus company involved in your bus accident has a history of bad acts. That is important because depending on where and how your bus accident happened, you could be entitled to more money if the bus company has a history of accidents.
We have successfully used this investigation and strategy in other large vehicle accident cases, including tractor trailer accidents and garbage truck accidents. Many large companies, bus companies included, will pay a premium to settle your case and avoid public litigation once we demonstrate our intent to disclose their company records during a public trial.
What Are Common Bus Accident Injuries?
Thankfully, most bus accident injuries are not serious. This is because the bus is a heavy vehicle and it requires a tremendous amount of force to create sufficient inertia to jolt its occupants such that significant injuries result.
The most common bus accident injuries are soft tissue injuries. These include whiplash injuries or minor bruises or contusions from the buss jolting. In high impact bus accidents, bus passengers can suffer serious injuries including broken bones.
These could include, for example, compression or burst fractures if a bus runs over a speed bump at high speeds, causing your body to lift up and slam back down on a seat without a cushion. A recent California jury awarded over $15,000,000 for this type of injury in a transit bus accident case.
Los Angeles Bus Accident Injury Claims
Who Runs or Operates Public Bus Systems in Los Angeles?
There are over seventy five separate transit systems operating public bus routes in California. The three largest public bus systems or metro bus systems in the Los Angeles area are the LACMTA / Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority the LADOT / Los Angeles Department of Transportation and the LBT / Long Beach Transit.
How to Sue a Public Transit Bus for Accident in Los Angeles?
When suing a public entity that is a public bus or transit bus that is owned or operated by a California government, you have to file a notice of your intent to bring a claim. The time limit for making this claim is six months. A simple letter to the LACMTA, LADOT, or LBT will not do it. There is a specific statute that outlines exactly what must be done, including how the letter is mailed.
Do I Sue the Bus Driver or Company for a Los Angeles Bus Accident?
According to California’s laws, the LADOT, LACMTA, and LBT will be responsible financially for their bus drivers’ bad driving that causes a bus accident in Los Angeles or injures someone in Los Angeles.
Whether you sue the bus driver or just sue the city of Los Angeles or the local public bus transit system is a strategic decision that an attorney will make for you. It’s not always as simple as naming every possible person or entity. While that may seem like an easy solution, it risks over-complicating your case, subjecting you to more intrusive disclosures during the lawsuit, and a host of other strategic disadvantages that could lower the value of your case.
What Driving Laws Apply to Bus Drivers in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles Bus Drivers Have Heightened Safety Requirements
In Los Angeles and California, the law requires that all bus drivers, including LADOT, LACMTA, and LBT bus drivers and operators in Los Angeles, use the utmost care and diligence for their safe carriage provide everything necessary to ensure that purpose is fulfilled, and exercise to that end a reasonable degree of skill.
The language in that law for Los Angeles transit bus drivers and public buses means that Los Angeles has to make sure their bus drivers have adequate training and demonstrate they can safely operate a bus to avoid a bus accident and ensure they don’t injure or hurt anyone in a bus accident in Los Angeles.
Our careful investigation and work in prior cases uncovered situations where companies took shortcuts in their formal training programs due to staffing shortages. This can lead to unqualified drivers for big vehicles like buses being rushed onto the road. Our team is available 24/7 to investigate your Los Angeles bus accident.
Los Angeles Bus Drivers Have a Daily Time Limit for Driving
Los Angeles bus drivers also have limits on how much they can drive per day. This helps ensure tired bus operators are not drowsily touring the city and causing dangerous bus accidents in Los Angeles. These statutory limits for Los Angeles bus drivers are:
♦ Los Angeles bus drivers cannot drive more than 10 hours straight in one day
♦ Los Angeles bus drivers cannot drive more than 10 hours in a 15 hour period
♦ Los Angeles bus drivers cannot drive more than 10 hours in one day without taking at least 8 straight hours off from driving
If you suspect the bus driver that caused an accident hurt you, or you were involved in a bus accident in Los Angeles and the bus driver looked sleepy or tired after or before the accident, you should call us immediately for help.
Assumption that Los Angeles Bus Driver Was At Fault
In bus accidents in California and Los Angeles it can be assumed that the bus driver was at fault for the accident if the bus driver violated a statute such as the statutes discussed above. This is a California law about evidence called negligence per se.
Our skilled team has succeeded in making this argument – that a driver was negligent per se for violating a statute on driving safety. Once we win on that argument, we not only help resolve the issue of who is at fault for the bus accident, but we help increase the value of the settlement or verdict by eliminating reasons why insurance adjusters and jurors argue a bus accident case is worth less.
How Much Can I get for a Los Angeles Bus Accident Settlement?
Average Bus Accident Settlement Payouts
Even if the bus driver did something intentionally to hurt you, or was driving recklessly, you cannot recover punitive damages against a public bus driver, public bus system, or local government for a bus accident in Los Angeles.
The good news is, there is no maximum recovery limit in California for claims against a city, county, government entity or government employee. This is sometimes referred to as a damages cap. California does not have a damages cap for claims against a government entity or government employee. In cases against a California government, you are entitled to recover the entire amount that your claim is worth without any monetary limitations.
All of that considered, the average settlement for a Los Angeles bus accident claim is under $50,000. Why? Because buses are large vehicles. Most bus collisions do not involve a great deal of force to the bus occupants sufficient to cause serious injuries.
There are exceptions, including bus accident verdicts of over $10,000,000. But, those are exceptions, not the average, and certainly not the norm. The above average results occur when broken bones, permanent injuries, or other catastrophic injuries are involved.
Sample Bus Accident Settlements & Verdicts
SAMPLE VERDICT (Maryland): $92,000. This was a bus accident on a Ride-On Bus in Montgomery County, Maryland. The plaintiff sued a phantom defendant and the bus driver and the County, who owned and operated the bus. She won on liability, and recovered $6k for lost wages, $15k for pain and suffering, and the rest was for medical bills. This means the jury gave the plaintiff almost nothing for pain and suffering, considering the extent of her treatment as evidenced by the large medical bill expenses.
SAMPLE ARBITRATION (Pennsylvania): $20,500. The plaintiff was a passenger on a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) bus. General claims of negligent driving were made against the bus driver and another vehicle. Each defendant pointed the finger at the other. The plaintiff claimed lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. She injured her neck, head, and back. No claim of permanent injuries were raised, which suggests this was a short multi-month recovery with the plaintiff’s health returning to baseline.
SAMPLE VERDICT (Pennsylvania): $50,000. The plaintiff was a passenger on a Port Authority bus. It was claimed the bus driver was about to cause an accident and pulled the emergency brakes to avoid that, which launched the plaintiff forward and injuring her. She claimed her head struck a metal box in the bus. She also hurt her shoulder, ribs, neck, knee and spine. The jury found that it was the car in front of the bus, not the bus, which caused the accident by stopping unexpectedly.
SAMPLE VERDICT (Florida): $6,434. The plaintiff claimed she suffered an L5/S1 cervical disc herniation and a pinched nerve in this accident. This is a substantial injury for someone in their 20’s, like the plaintiff in this case. This is a terrible result, but it is because the jury found that the plaintiff was 95% at fault. In other words, the jury thought this injury in this bus accident was worth $126,860 (5% of that is $6k). Even that seems low, so there were probably other factors about the case that we do not know of from its summary which explain this specific result.
Bus Accident Q&A
Who do I sue for a bus accident?
You can sue and hold accountable the people that own and the people that operate the bus that you were in an accident with. This will often be local and state agencies and entities.
I got hit at a bus stop, can I sue?
Yes, if you were hit at a bus stop, you can likely hold accountable the driver of the bus as well as the owners and operators as well, which can often include a government agency.
Are tour buses more dangerous?
Yes, tour buses can be dangerous for many reasons. This includes the lower thresholds for training as well as the open-air upper decks of many of these tour buses which expose passengers to unique risks.
I was in an accident with a school bus, now what?
This is a delicate situation and there can be liability on the part of the driver of the bus, the school system, the county, the city and/ or the state. You need to make sure a police report is filled out and that you seek out immediate medical attention. Also, you need to give specific tort claims notices to all involved agencies, and these have time limits depending on the state and agency involved in your accident.
How soon should I file a suit after my bus accident?
You should not file suit for any bus accident case until your medical treatment has fully resolved, assuming that can happen before your statute of limitations. Because these cases often can involve many parties including government agencies, you will likely need to file a notice of claim long before you file suit. Missing either deadline can be the end of your case.
Who is liable if I get into an accident with a school bus?
In an accident with a school bus, there are a few individuals and entities that can be held accountable. The school district itself, meaning the local government can be held accountable as well as the driver of the bus. It is also possible that depending on the circumstances, you can also be partially held liable for an accident with a school. Liability can only be evaluated based on some reconstruction of what happened at the scene.
If I was hit by a private bus who is liable for the accident?
Private bus companies can be sued and held accountable for accidents that are the product of their drivers’ mistakes on the road. This is because the bus drivers are agents of the companies that hire them which leads to vicarious liability. If the route was dangerous, corporate malfeasance may also be in play and the group of liable parties could be larger than just the bus driver.
What should I do after my bus accident to ensure I have a better chance of a settlement?
It is important that after a bus accident you get as much personal information as possible including the name of the bus company, who owns it, and contact information about the bus as well. The number of the bus as well as the number and name of the bus driver will also be important and should be jotted down. Seeking immediate medical attention, on the day of the accident, will help ensure your injuries are well documented which can prove the nature and extent of your injuries.
Do accidents with buses result in more serious injuries than car accidents?
Accidents involving buses can be more damaging than a regular car accident because of the size of the buses compared to a regular sized car. This can lead to broken bones, soft tissue damage and more, which can require intensive recovery times. However, on average, accidents with buses do not result in more serious injuries because buses are so large, which reduces the jerking movement they incur when struck by another vehicle.
Los Angeles Bus Accident Attorney
If you are a loved one was injured in a bus accident, we are here to help you. Whether you call us or not, we invite you to review our website for free strategy and settlement information about your accident injuries.
When you are ready to call, our Los Angeles based bus accident attorneys are ready to help fight for your rights, 24/7. Even if you are not in Los Angeles, you can benefit from our FREE 30 minute consultation.
Supporting Citations, Literature & Resources:
NHTSA. (2021). School Bus Safety.
NHTSA (2017). School-Transportation-Related Crashes
Blower, D. (2010). Type of Motor Carrier and Driver History in Fatal Bus Crashes. Research Gate.
BTS. (2021). Transportation Fatalities by Mode.
California Legislative Information. TITLE 1. GENERAL [100 – 7914]
California Legislative Information. TITLE 1. GENERAL [100 – 7914] ( Title 1 enacted by Stats. 1943, Ch. 134. ) DIVISION 3.6. CLAIMS AND ACTIONS AGAINST PUBLIC ENTITIES AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES
California Legislative Information. DIVISION 11. RULES OF THE ROAD [21000 – 23336]
About the Author
Article Author: This law article was written by attorney Ray Benyamin, Esquire. Mr. Benyamin received his Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and his license to practice law from the State Bar of California. His law license number is 277263. He has been practicing law for 10 years. Mr. Benyamin is a registered member of the following legal organizations: Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association (ABA), and the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Mr. Benyamin has personally helped his clients recover over $10,000,000 in vehicle accident insurance claims in the State of California.
Our Lawyers Serve Clients in Los Angeles, California & Nationally
Serving all of Los Angeles, including Arcadia, Beverly Hills, Claremont, Canoga Park, Chino, Chino Hills, Covina, Diamond Bar, Downey, East Pasadena, El Monte, Encino, Highland Park, Inglewood, La Verne, Long Beach, Malibu, Montebello, Monterey Park, North Hollywood, Northridge, Pasadena, Pomona, Rancho Cucamonga, Reseda, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Dimas, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, South Bay, South LA, South Pasadena, Sunland, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, Van Nuys, Venice, West Covina, West Hollywood, and Westlake Village.
Serving all of California, with a focus on Kern County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County, Santa Barbara County, and Ventura County.
Serving nationwide in all 50 states on a case-by-case basis with a national network of relationships and on a Pro Hac Vice basis.