Orange County Bus Accident Lawyer

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Orange County Bus Accident Lawyer

Orange County Bus Accident Attorney

You may rely on the train to get you from your home into the city for work. The bus could be the easiest way to get to campus when you have classes. Public transportation is an essential part of life for many people because it is a safe and accessible way to travel. In some cases, though, your trust in public transit, like the bus, may be hindered because of a bus accident.

Any accident can upset the pattern of your life because you have to recover physically while also dealing with additional stress from missing work and growing medical bills. If the bus you are riding is rear-ended or runs off the road, it can cause even more of a headache because you have to determine who is responsible for the accident and how it should be handled. Corrales Law Group has over a decade of experience working with personal injury cases to provide clients with strong advocacy and get them the compensation that they deserve. If you have been harmed in a bus accident, our personal injury attorneys have the skills and experience to help.

What Is Personal Injury?

Accidents can happen to anyone, no matter how careful you are. If your shoe breaks unexpectedly, you could trip and get hurt. Mowing your grass might lead to a pulled muscle or sprained ankle if you do not notice that there is a hole in the yard. Getting injured is a part of life that everyone deals with at some point, whether it is a minor cut or a broken bone.

Accidents and injuries are classified as personal injuries when the negligence of another person is the reason why you got hurt. Your boss not keeping up with maintenance on the machines at work might result in a small fire that burns your hands. If a grocery store does not put a sign up, letting customers know that the ground is wet, someone might fall and break their hip. These accidents are considered personal injury cases because someone else caused the harm, whether they meant to or not.

The injuries that are caused by someone who is intentionally hostile, like a broken nose from a fight, can be classified as personal injuries. If an amusement park does not check that safety straps are tight enough and someone gets whiplash, that is also potentially a personal injury claim because another person’s negligence caused harm. Some of the most severe personal injuries are caused by vehicle accidents, particularly accidents on public transportation.

The Importance of Public Transportation

If you live in a large city like Anaheim, then it may not be feasible for you to own a car because of the cost of living or the hassle of traffic around town. Low-income families may not be able to afford more than one car, so getting everyone to work, school, and activities can prove to be a challenge. Public transportation is a valuable resource for these individuals, as well as the whole area because it allows people to have affordable access to their community.

California offers a variety of public transportation options to meet the needs of its citizens, whether tourists are looking for ways to explore the state or college student needs to visit their sick grandparents. If you are visiting California with your friends and want a true tourist experience, consider an Alcatraz Cruise or a trip on the Golden Gate Ferry. Residents living in Orange County and other Southern California areas can rely on public transportation services like the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, and Caltrain for their transportation needs.

Ferries can be an exciting adventure to explore new places, and trains are a great way to travel far distances, but buses are a staple of public transportation across the state. If you rely on the bus to make it to work, there is a fairly consistent schedule that you can follow to create your travel arrangements. Unlike transportation services like taxis and Uber, you will always pay a consistent fee for a bus trip, with students and low-income riders being able to ride for free in Southern California. To ensure that bus lines run smoothly and continue to serve their communities well, California has passed several laws that deal directly with bus safety.

Staying Safe on the Bus in  California

Thousands, if not millions, of people across Orange County rely on a bus for their grocery trip, getting to the doctor on time, and making it home safely to their families after work. The state leadership of California understands how important it is for buses and drivers to be held to a higher standard than regular drivers, as they are directly responsible for the safety of their passengers. Three main legal codes dictate how a bus should be driven and handled safely:

  • California Civil Code 2100 outlines that common carriers, or vehicles that carry passengers for a fee, have to take particular care to drive safely and maintain their driving skills.
  • California Vehicle Code 21702 requires that all bus drivers, both for public transit and private companies, have to take an eight-hour break once they have driven for ten hours because driving without proper sleep increases their risk of accidents.
  • California Vehicle Code 22406 places a limit on how fast a bus can be moving, with speeds no faster than fifty-five miles per hour, if it is carrying passengers of any kind.

Even with these laws in place, accidents can happen. A drunk driver may slam into the bus at a stop light. The bus driver could fall asleep if they were not using their eight-hour breaks to rest because they had to maintain a second job. No matter the circumstances, you cannot move forward with a personal injury claim after a bus accident until you determine who caused the incident.

Who Is at Fault for a Bus Accident?

When passengers break bones, get concussions, or pass away because of a bus accident, someone has to be held liable, meaning that they are responsible for the accident. Concussions are especially serious as any traumatic brain injury has the potential to result in life-changing medical complications for the victim. Determining liability is not always an easy process because there are so many factors involved, especially if another vehicle is involved. Most often, liability will fall on one of three parties:

  • Bus Company Liability: The results of an accident can be dire if the bus does not receive regular maintenance or is carrying too many passengers. These things and more are regulated by the CPUC to ensure bus safety, so if they are not being followed, then the bus company will be held responsible and will have to pay any damages.
  • Driver Liability: If your bus driver shows up to work intoxicated, does not stop correctly at a railroad crossing, or is on their phone, they can cause severe, even fatal, bus accidents. If there is evidence, like video footage or witness statements, to prove that the driver caused the accident because they made an error, they will be responsible for damages.
  • Third-Party Liability: Some bus accidents have nothing to do with the company or the driver. For instance, a large pothole in the road not being filled properly can cause a malfunction with the bus. In these cases, the third party will be liable and have to pay any damages that the court deems necessary.

Receiving Damages After a Bus Accident in Orange County

When you are slammed around during a bus accident, your injuries could be more severe than in a typical auto accident because many buses do not require seat belts. If you fall on the top of a bus seat during the impact, it could lead to a herniated disk in your back, which can leave you in severe pain and with a physical disability. If the driver was responsible for your accident, then you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries.

The settlement that you receive from a personal injury case is referred to as damages because it is compensation for the damage or losses that you suffered as a result of the accident. Some damages are strictly based on the money that you lost, like paychecks that you did not receive because you missed work or money that you had to pay for a cast when your leg was broken. Non-monetary damages can also be awarded, including additional compensation for pain and suffering if you develop PTSD following your accident.

How to File a Claim After a Bus Accident

If you are on a quick trip to your favorite museum with your college art class, and the bus crashes because a tire blew out, your injuries may only be minor, like a dislocated shoulder. After you and your classmates have been treated for your injuries, you are told that the accident happened because the charter bus company did not complete all the maintenance on the bus. You decide to file a personal injury claim, but you are not sure how to proceed.

The bus you were riding in was not public transportation but a for-hire bus service that your professor chose. To file a personal injury claim, you first have to determine who is at fault which, in this instance, is the bus company. Cases that involve a privately held business, like airport shuttles and charters, are overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission, which puts regulations in place to avoid accidents.

When your personal injury attorney determines that the company did not follow a regulation that requires regularly checking the tires for wear and punctures, you can file a Passenger Carrier Complaint Form with the CPUC and include any evidence or supporting documents you have, like a receipt of your ride or from your trip. Once your complaint form has been submitted, you may also choose to continue a court case, so you and your attorney must determine when to file a claim to receive damages.

Statute of Limitations for Bus Accidents

If you are involved in a bus accident and lose a finger, you will likely be able to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. Filing a claim right away is not always a possibility because you are learning how to function after your injury while working through surgeries and physical therapy to help your recovery. While the immediate aftermath and recovery of a bus accident will require much of your time and attention, knowing the timeline for when you can file your claim is essential.

When you face a situation that could constitute a claim, like an assault or medical malpractice, there is a specific window of time when your case will be heard, which is known as the statute of limitations. This limit for personal injury cases is two years from the date of your injury, so if you fail to get your claim filed within that time frame, you will no longer have a valid legal claim. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney from Corrales Law Group is invaluable in this situation because they can manage the timeline to be sure that your claim is filed.

Trust the Experience of Corrales Law Group After Your Bus Accident

You rely on the bus to get you to work on time and safely because it is a trusted public service. Taking the bus to visit friends for dinner should be an easy decision, but if you get into an accident on the bus, that can change. When you deal with serious injuries following a bus accident, like broken limbs or a concussion, it can seriously impact every area of your life because of your physical recovery process and lost time away from work. Concussions have the potential to cause lasting damage to the victim, and it is possible for a concussion to be just one symptom of a very serious traumatic brain injury. If you or a loved one have suffered such an injury, it is crucial for you to find legal counsel you can trust as soon as possible after your accident.

The impact of a bus accident is immense, so you deserve compensation for damages. If you break your arm and have to take a week away from work, you may lose wages and not be able to support yourself. A skilled personal injury attorney from Corrales Law Group can help you navigate your case with their years of experience. We understand that you deserve a strong advocate, so our team can assess the severity of your injuries, determine who should be held liable, and help you file your claim. Contact us for assistance today if you have been injured in a bus accident.

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