At least 25 people were recently injured in a Los Angeles bus accident. According to reports, the private charter bus was traveling north on the 405 Freeway in North Hills when it struck a vehicle. The impact of the collision caused the bus to crash through the median and strike several other cars. While no fatalities have been reported, at least 5 of the victims are in critical condition. Los Angeles police are still investigating to determine the cause of the accident.
Who Can the Injured Bus Accident Victims Sue?
The majority of the bus accident victims were passengers on the vehicle at the time of the crash. They may be entitled to compensation from the person (or people) who are responsible for causing the accident.
The Bus Company
Buses are common carriers in California. Common carriers are companies that transport people from one place to another in exchange for a fee. As common carriers, bus companies are held to a heightened standard of care. While buses can guarantee that passengers get to their destination safely, they can do everything that is necessary to prevent foreseeable harm. Bus companies must make that they “ do all that human care, vigilance, and foresight reasonably can do under the circumstances to avoid harm to passengers.”
If a bus company is the least bit negligent, they can be held responsible for injuries sustained by its passengers. As an employer, bus companies can also be held accountable for the negligence of its drivers. So, if a bus driver is to blame, victims may be able to recover compensation from the driver and/or the employer.
The Bus Driver
Bus drivers have an obligation to use “reasonable skill” to make sure that passengers are safe during a bus trip. Unfortunately, many bus accidents happen because bus drivers are negligent. Examples of negligent behavior can include speeding, changing lanes without signaling, or following another vehicle too closely. Bus drivers may also be negligent if they become distracted behind the wheel. This can happen if bus drivers text, talk on the phone, eat, or engage in lively conversation with passengers.
The Bus Manufacturer
Sometimes bus accidents are caused by defects or problems with the vehicle. If an investigation shows that the bus or its equipment malfunctions, the accident victims may be able to hold the manufacturer responsible for their injuries.
Bus accidents aren’t always caused by bus drivers. In fact, other drivers on the road frequently contribute to devastating bus crashes accidents Bus accident victims can seek compensation from anyone who caused their injuries, including other drivers.
This particular accident happened on the 405 Freeway in North Hills. An investigation will search to uncover the cause of the crash. If the investigation finds that hazardous or dangerous road conditions contribute to the accident, the government may be held accountable. Specifically, accident victims could file a special claim with the government agency in charge of maintaining that particular stretch of the Freeway.
Can The Bus Driver Recover Money If She Caused the Accident?
California recognizes the legal principle of comparative fault. This basically means that contributing to an accident will not automatically prevent you from recovering compensation. You can still get money as long as someone else is also to blame.
So, can the bus driver recover compensation? That will really depend on the results of the investigation. She will not be entitled to money if she is solely responsible for the accident. She may be entitled to compensation if she shares fault for the accident.
Consequences of Shared Fault
If the bus driver shares fault, her financial award will be reduced by her contribution to the accident. She won’t be prohibited from recovering compensation, the amount she can get will be limited.
For example, let’s say the investigation finds that the bus driver and a third party are both 50 percent responsible for the accident. The bus driver can recover compensation, but she’ll only be able to recover 50 percent of her damages. So, if she suffered $100,000 in damages, she will only be entitled to a maximum recovery of $50,000.
If the driver shares fault for an accident, she will also be responsible for a portion of the damages suffered by other victims. So, if she is 50 percent to blame, she will be responsible for 50 percent of other victims’ damages.
It’s important to fight for the money you deserve after an unexpected accident. Hiring an attorney can help you make the most of your personal injury case. Call our skilled legal team to schedule your free case assessment today.