Bus accidentHave you been injured due to a bus accident? Although less common than collisions involving passenger vehicles, bus accidents often result in serious or catastrophic injuries. Some accidents are not survivable and are unfortunately fatal.

After a California bus accident, a skilled and knowledgeable bus accident lawyer can help you recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to for medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages. Contact The Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates as soon as possible to discuss your case and see how we can help you. We are available 24/7 to take your call and offer our advice, resources, and support.

How a California Bus Accident Lawyer Can Help You

Whether you were injured as a bus passenger, as a driver or passenger of another vehicle, or as a pedestrian or bicyclist, if your accident was not your fault, you have the right to seek compensation against whoever was responsible for your injuries. If a California bus accident was fatal, a spouse or surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim.

At The Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, we handle personal injury and wrongful death claims involving all types of buses, including:

Airport shuttle buses Church buses Greyhound buses City buses / Municipal transit buses Private bus lines (Such as California Shuttle Bus, FlixBus) School buses Tribal casino charter buses Wine-tasting tour buses

As one of California’s preeminent bus accident law firms, we take pride in going above and beyond for our clients and being able to get maximum results. Our attorneys have extensive experience and a long track record of proven results in serious injury and fatal accidents. Our client testimonials provide prospective clients with descriptions of prior outcomes from our past clients.

What Is The Definition of a Bus in California?

According to California Vehicle Code Section 233, a bus is any vehicle designed, used, or maintained for carrying more than 15 persons, including the driver (except for vanpool vehicles). A vehicle made, used, or maintained to carry more than ten persons, including the driver, that is used to transport people either for profit or for a non-profit (such as a church) is also a bus.

State and Federal Bus Operator Regulations

Buses are subject to various regulations depending on where they are going and how they are operated. Buses that don’t leave California are intrastate carriers – which are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. Buses that transport passengers from and to destinations outside California are interstate carriers – which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Operators must comply with state or federal regulations. For example, intrastate carriers are required to pass California Highway Patrol (CHP) inspections.

Buses must be manufactured to certain crashworthiness standards established by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). After accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) may make recommendations to the FTA for modifications to new or existing buses. For example, after the NTSB investigated a January 2016 bus accident in San Jose, they discovered the operator seat of the bus had completely separated. They made a recommendation that the manufacturer Motorcoach Industries (MCI) evaluate and, if necessary, modify and improve the driver and passenger floor structure design on new vehicles to prevent driver seat separation during accidents.

Who May Be Liable for a California Bus Accident?

Bus accidents can have numerous liable parties, including government entities, manufacturers of buses and bus parts, mechanics and maintenance contractors, and other third parties. As a “common carrier,” bus operators owe passengers a duty of utmost care and vigilance. While common carriers don’t guarantee safety, they are held to a high standard to prevent passengers from harm.

After a bus accident, a lawyer can arrange an independent investigation to determine who may be liable. Because injuries are often so serious, it is common for insurance companies and defense counsels to aggressively deny, defend, delay, and downplay claims.

Having a lawyer who will gather evidence and build a convincing case for compensation can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. At The Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, we work with some of California’s leading bus accident and injury experts, including experts in DOT regulations, accident reconstruction, and bus driver training and instruction. We look at accidents from every angle to determine all potential avenues of liability.

California’s Long History of Deadly Bus Accidents

California has been the location of some of the most deadly bus accidents in history. Some of the catastrophic bus accidents that have occurred over the last 50+ years include:

  • September 17, 1963: A bus carrying 58 migrant farmworkers collided with a freight train in Monterey County, CA, killing 32 people and injuring 25. It remains the deadliest traffic collision in United States history.
  • January 15, 1974: A bus carrying farm laborers crashed in Blythe, CA, at the intersection of 20th Avenue and Rannells Boulevard, killing 19 people and injuring 28.
  • May 21, 1976: A chartered school bus with 52 passengers overturned on Interstate 680 in Martinez, CA, killing 28 students and an adult advisor.
  • May 30, 1986: A tour bus carrying residents of a retirement home crashed into the Walker River off U.S. 395 near Bridgeport, CA, killing 21 people and injuring 20.
  • October 5, 2008: A bus with 40 passengers going from the Sacramento area to a casino went off the road near Colusa, CA, killing 11 people.
  • July 22, 2010: A Greyhound bus carrying 47 people crashed on northbound Highway 99 in Fresno, killing six and injuring dozens of others.
  • January 19, 2016: Two people were killed, and eight people were injured when a Greyhound bus overturned on Highway 101 in San Jose.
  • September 24, 2016: A charter bus carrying children and teenagers and their chaperones from China crashed when the driver lost control negotiating a curve on Highway 41 in Madera County. One child died in the accident, and another was critically injured.
  • October 23, 2016: A tour bus collided with the back of a stopped semi-truck around 5a.m. on westbound Interstate 10 in Thermal, CA. Thirteen people were killed, and 31 people were injured.
  • February 27, 2017: Two dozen people were injured, and one person died after a charter bus collided with two passenger cars on Highway 58 in San Bernardino County.
  • February 22, 2020: A charter bus went off southbound Interstate 15 in Fallbrook, injuring 18 and killing three people.

Common Types Of Injuries Resulting From California Bus Accidents

The average city bus weighs between 25,000 and 40,000 pounds and is between 35 feet and 50 feet long. Comparatively, an average passenger car weighs about 4,000 feet and is about 14 feet long. When a bus is involved in a crash, its large size and momentum can cause disastrous results. Passengers may be standing or not wearing seat belts, which can make them even more vulnerable to serious injury. The results of a bus accident can be devastating. Crashes involving bicycles are likely to cause severe, life-changing injuries, such as:

  • Head and brain injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Amputation/dismemberment injuries
  • Facial fractures
  • Dental injuries

Injuries may result in temporary or permanent disability and require extensive medical care and rehabilitation. Before you accept any settlement offer for bus accident injuries, talk to an experienced attorney, who can help you determine the impact of your injuries and your needs going forward. You may be entitled to far more compensation than is initially offered.

What Are the Causes of California Bus Accidents?

In some cases, the cause of an accident is obvious. In other cases, it may take a thorough investigation to reveal what went wrong. Some of the most common causes of California bus accidents include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driver inexperience/lack of training
  • Driver impairment from drugs or alcohol
  • Poor handling of curves or turns
  • Speeding
  • Fatigue/falling asleep
  • Mechanical failure
  • Negligent maintenance

After an accident, The Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates will look at an accident from all angles. We frequently consult with accident reconstruction experts and exhaustively review all potential evidence, including driver training records, maintenance logs, and operator safety records. Once we determine the cause of an accident, we will aggressively pursue a settlement for ALL of our client’s injuries and pain and suffering. If a fair settlement is not offered, we will not waste any time bringing a case to trial.

Time Is Of the Essence Following a California Bus Accident

Depending on who operated the bus, you may have an extremely limited window of time to initiate a claim for your injuries. Although California’s statute of limitations generally allows two years from the date of injury to bring a claim, an important exception exists for government entities, including public transportation authorities such as:

  • Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District
  • Anaheim Transportation Network
  • Culver City Municipal Bus Lines
  • Gardena Municipal Bus Lines
  • Fresno County Rural Transit Agency
  • Imperial County Transportation Commission
  • Long Beach Transit
  • Montebello Bus Lines
  • Orange County Transportation Authority
  • Riverside Transit Agency
  • San Diego Metropolitan Transit System
  • San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District
  • San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority
  • Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District
  • Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (San José)
  • Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus
  • Tahoe Area Regional Transit
  • Transit Joint Powers Authority for Merced County
  • Ventura Intercity Service Transit Authority

Under the California Tort Claims Act, you only have six months to file a claim against a government entity. These claims have very specific documentation requirements that you must follow and may vary depending on the city, county, or agency. To ensure statutory deadlines are not missed, accident victims are well-advised to speak with a knowledgeable California personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following a bus accident.

Get a Free Bus Accident Consultation from Samer Habbas & Associates

It is never too soon to begin protecting your rights after an accident. At The Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, our San Diego bus accident lawyers are here to help you. When you hire us, we will do everything so that you can focus on healing and recovering. Our dedicated California bus accident law firm has recovered more than $200 million in verdicts and settlements for victims of serious accidents. If you’d like to learn about your legal rights to recover compensation for your California bus accident case, contact us today. If we represent you, we will not charge any legal fees unless we recover money for you. Your consultation is free and without obligation.