The California Bus Accident Guide was created by our attorneys to help residents obtain maximum compensation from the negligent party. If you have been seriously injured in a crash, contact our office for a free consultation.
In Los Angeles, public transit is an excellent way to get around. There are a lot of people who rely on buses to get them safely from point A to point B. We don’t think that we’re in danger, until something unthinkable happens. Being involved in a bus accident can be absolutely devastating. These immense vehicles can cause catastrophic damage. You may be feeling seriously hurt and wiped of all energy.
We want to be a champion for your case. Your focus should be on your health, and we want to help you get better. We will take over the legal aspect of recovering full and fair compensation. Call our Los Angeles bus accident attorney Mindy Bish today to see how we can help you get back on your feet.
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Determining the Liable Party and Getting Compensation
The way you get compensation for your accident is through the insurance company of the liable party. By “liable party” I mean the person or company who caused the accident. Bus accidents are unique in the sense that there may not be an obvious party right away. There are a few possible people who are going to be the liable party. There might be a driver of a car or motor vehicle other than the bus driver who caused the accident. It is very likely that the bus driver is the one who caused the accident. The causes of the accidents are similar to other motor vehicle accidents including distracted driving, drowsy driving, speeding, driver error, etc.
Sometimes accidents are not necessarily two vehicles crashing. There are some accidents that have to do with the bus itself. If you are injured on the bus, getting on or off the bus, you may have an injury claim. You are going to need an attorney to help you figure out all of the liable parties as there may be more than one.
Once we have determined the liable party or parties, you can pursue compensation. The way this work is that we make the claim through the liable party’s insurance. The insurance will then be our adversary in this process and we will do everything in our power to keep them from bullying you out of a fair settlement. Because buses carry added insurance that car drivers don’t need, getting full compensation is more challenging than other motor vehicle accidents, but we are up for the fight.
How Compensation Works
You do not have the benefit that other states have with No Fault insurance which is automatic coverage for your medical bills and lost wages. In California, we have to worry about fighting for compensation for those damages. What we go after is compensation for medical bills that you have paid and will be expected to pay into the future, pain and suffering that you have and will experience, and loss of consortium. The fair value of your claim will be evaluated by us and we will push to get that amount for you. However, when you first walk into our office to go over your case, we cannot tell you how much you will get for you claim.
The reason we can’t put a chart here to show you the exact amount you can be expected to get for the types of injuries you sustained is because we don’t know the full extent of those injuries. You need to give it some time. If you’re unable to make a full physical recovery, your claim value will increase. If you need multiple surgeries, physical therapy, or a caretaker, then your claim value will also increase. We can suggest medical professionals to you who will be able to make determinations about your health and that can help us figure out how much your claim is worth.
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What an Attorney Can Do for You
Hiring an attorney is not required but it is highly recommended. You don’t want to go after this on your own. You have not spent your education and professional career defending against negligent bus drivers and you don’t want to have to dedicate all of your time figuring out how to win a case and get the compensation you deserve when you could fall back on an experienced attorney to take your case and be your champion.
What we first can do for you is take over communication between the insurance adjuster and yourself. If they come calling for you, you can tell them to refer to our office for any questions they may have. We do this to one, protect you from their questioning. They will ask you about the events of the accident and try to make you seem either at fault for the accident, or that you aren’t injured enough to get any compensation. That’s their job, to keep you from getting money. Our job is to make sure they do not succeed.
When they offer you a first settlement, we will help you determine if it is a fair offer or if they are low-balling you. More often than not, it will be far too low to get a fair settlement. What we do next is push them for a fair settlement. If we have to we are willing and able to take this case to trial.
Frequently Asked Bus Accident Questions
What Do I Do After I’m Hurt in a Bus Accident?
I had a friend of mine call me the other day and he said, “I just had a bus hit my car, and I’m already hurting a little bit, what should I do?” I advised as follows: I said first and foremost, let’s begin the documentation process, by which I mean make sure that the bus driver knows that there was an incident and that you’re not feeling so hot. It’s important to document the incident as thoroughly as possible, be it taking photographs, seeking or requesting any video or surveillance having to do with the bus, and seeking out any potential witnesses that may have seen the incident. Additional to that is ensuring that you start your treatment if you’re not feeling so hot. Get better, and seek the advice and try to retain an experienced bus wreck attorney.
What Mistakes Can I Avoid Making?
Here are some common mistakes made by people who’ve been involved in bus incidents, be it someone who was a passenger on the bus or a driver of a vehicle that was hit by a bus. One, failure to begin the documentation process, which means you either don’t let the bus driver know that you were injured or you don’t take photographs, and you don’t in any way document the initial incident that occurred. Another mistake could be not following through or seeking medical treatment right away. If you are injured, get treatment. Finally, perhaps most importantly, is to seek the advice and retention of an experienced bus accident attorney.
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What If I’m Hurt on a Bus?
If you are injured as a passenger on a bus, the most important thing you can do immediately after the incident is let the bus driver know you were injured. This begins what’s called the documentation or paper trail process. After you’ve alerted the bus driver of how you’re feeling and what happened, it’s important to follow through on any documentation. This doesn’t mean that you have to speak to their representatives; it does mean that you should get the paper trail rolling. After that, it’s important to embark upon your treatment. Again, if you’re not feeling good, get treatment to feel better. After that, it’s important to seek the advice and to retain an experienced bus accident attorney who has experience dealing with those sort of claims, who can best package your case.
How Do You File a Bus Accident Claim?
The basic steps to filing a bus injury claim entail the following: One, let the bus driver know that you were injured and/or involved in an incident. This begins the paper trail or documentation process, which is crucial for your case. After that, it’s important to gather any and all witness information, and any and all surveillance video and things of that nature, either depicting the incident or your fall. In addition to all that, it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced bus incident attorney because they are in the best position to ensure that your claim is best packaged for trial and potentially settlement.
How is a Bus Accident Different from a Car Accident?
A bus accident is different being involved in an accident with another vehicle. The main thing that distinguishes the difference is that a bus is more often than not a governmental entity, meaning you’ll have a shortened period of time in which you can file a claim and then file the corresponding lawsuit; the claim and the lawsuit are two different things.
Another important aspect of bus injury claims is that there is often video, and it’s video depicting the incident. It’s important to retain an experienced personal injury attorney, in large part, because that attorney will, at the outset of the case, do whatever they can to make sure that the evidence is preserved. It is the preservation of that video and the broader preservation of evidence, as it pertains to the bus incident case, that is one of the most important parts of the claim.
Should I Talk to the Bus’s Insurance Company?
I recently spoke with a client that retained our firm, and he was involved in a bus crash. One of the questions that he had, and it was relatively early in his claim, was, “Is it alright if I speak to the insurance company representatives for the bus company?” My answer to him was firm, and it was no. You don’t want to speak to someone who you don’t have to speak with, and that you’re under no legal obligations to speak with, in large part, because your words can be twisted to mean or asserted to mean something that you never meant in the first place. It’s important to refrain from speaking with any insurance representatives prior to hiring a lawyer as well as afterwards.
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Should I Take a First Settlement Offer?
If you’ve been involved in a bus wreck and you are the recipient of a first offer to settle your case, a question that we encounter from clients is, “Should I accept this offer?” As a general rule, I have found both in the legal context and in simple business negotiation context, that the first offer and acceptance of the first offer is not the best offer you can get. By which I mean it’s not a bad idea to counter and to see if you can get more compensation for your injuries.
What If My Kid Was Hurt on a School Bus?
A question that I recently encountered in the context of a new client coming in was from a young lady whose child was injured on the bus. It was a school bus that was run by the school district, and the allegation is that the bus driver was driving improperly and it caused the young child to fall and hit his head on the bus. The question that the client had was ultimately, “Who’s responsible for this?” The short answer, given the limited set of facts that we had, was the school district. The answer to any questions having to do with whether your children or child is injured on a bus, and who’s the responsible party, is the school district.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
In determining the value of a claim related to a bus wreck, be it as a passenger on a bus or a passenger of a vehicle that was struck by the bus, it’s important to recognize that there is a direct correlation between the nature and quality of your injuries and the value of your case. The value of your case, therefore, is not a wholly or clearly apparent unless and until you are done treating and we know what your injuries are. There are some tangential aspects to the value of your claim in such an instance, but the most important is the nature and quality of your injuries and treatment.
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How Long Will This Case Last?
The question is interesting, nuanced, and multi-tiered. First and foremost, you need to seek treatment for your injuries. After the treatment period is over, we’ll have an idea of the nature and extent of your injuries. Once the nature and extent of your injuries are apparent, we’ll be better suited to start pushing towards resolution of the claim. You can rest assured that once the nature and quality of your injuries are apparent, the case will be moved toward resolution as soon as possible.
How Long Do I Have to File the Claim?
Whether you were a passenger on the bus, or someone who was hit by the bus either in your car, on your bike, or while walking, the general answer is between six months to two years. If it’s a governmental that you’re making a claim against who was operating the bus, you have six months. If it’s a private entity, you have two years. Distinguishing and recognizing which applies to who is nuanced, and it’s a good idea to retain an experienced attorney who can identify the relevant statute of limitation that is at play. What’s most important is not to wait until the very end. Retain an experienced bus wreck attorney as soon as possible, and they’ll get the ball rolling on your claim and make sure that your case is best packaged for trial.
Call Our Attorney Today
If you are suffering after a serious injury due to a bus accident, please call California bus accident attorney Mindy Bish today. You are going to need an experienced lawyer to help you through this case. You’ll know you made the right choice when you feel like you’re our number one priority. We will take on your case with confidence and competence. We want to make sure we can do the best job for you and get you the compensation you deserve, so don’t hesitate to call us today!