Buses are integral parts of the California transportation network. Every day, thousands of people in the San Diego area ride buses to many destinations throughout the area. Each one of these riders put their faith in city bus drivers’ ability to operate such large vehicles responsibly. Parents also need to trust school bus drivers to transport their children to and from their schools safely. Unfortunately, bus accidents can and do happen, and they often result in devastating injuries or loss of life for multiple victims.
Legal Counsel for San Diego Bus Accident Victims
If you or a loved one recently experienced a bus accident in the San Diego, CA area, it’s natural to have lots of questions and concerns regarding your legal options for recovery. You may not know who is responsible for your losses or the actions required to hold them accountable. An experienced bus accident lawyer is the best resource to provide the answers you need in this challenging situation. Fortunately for San Diego residents, Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates have years of experience providing comprehensive legal representation to victims of bus accidents and other personal injuries in the San Diego area. We understand the stress and uncertainty you’ve experienced in the wake of your accident—our goal is to help you approach your case with understanding and confidence.
Why Should I Hire a San Diego Bus Accident Attorney?
You might wonder whether you really need to hire legal counsel after a bus accident in San Diego. Fault for your recent bus accident may seem perfectly clear, and you might assume that you would have minimal difficulty holding the at-fault party responsible for their actions. However, the actual process of filing a civil claim is more complex than many claimants realize. There is also a large margin for error; even the slightest mistakes with the preliminary stages of your case can have devastating consequences, preventing you from securing the compensation you deserve.
Even if a victim is willing to shoulder the burden of handling their own civil claim, doing so while managing the effects of a bus accident is incredibly difficult. Your accident likely caused painful injuries that demand extensive medical treatment, and your medical expenses, lost income, and mounting household expenses have likely caused you tremendous economic strain. Instead of facing these challenges alone, have an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer manage your civil claim on your behalf.
What Is a Common Carrier?
Any company that offers passenger transportation to the public as a paid service qualifies as a common carrier. These business entities are beholden to a higher standard of care than most other drivers. All common carriers are expected to train their employees appropriately, uphold applicable industry regulations, and assume responsibility for the safety of the passengers they serve. Common carriers must also ensure their vehicles have all required safety features and receive regular maintenance.
Many bus accident claims bring common carrier laws into play. Your San Diego bus accident lawyer can help you determine how these laws are likely to influence your case proceedings and your overall recovery from your damages. Every driver has a duty of care to operate their vehicle responsibly, but a common carrier’s duty of care is far more strict, meaning there is a greater window of liability when a common carrier employee is negligent in any way that results in an accident.
Determining Fault for a Bus Crash in San Diego, CA
The first step in recovering compensation for your losses after a bus accident in San Diego is determining which party bears fault for the incident (or parties, if fault is shared). Bus accidents happen for many reasons, including:
Bus driver negligence. All common carriers must ensure their drivers are capable of handling their vehicles safely and responsibly. When bus drivers are negligent, they can easily cause devastating accidents.
Speeding. Posted speed limits are not suggestions. When drivers speed, they reduce the time and distance they would normally have to slow down and stop to avoid collisions.
Distracted driving. All drivers must pay attention to the road while operating their vehicles. If a bus driver or the operator of any of the surrounding vehicles becomes distracted, they could easily cause a bus accident.
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. It is illegal and extremely dangerous for any driver to operate a vehicle while intoxicated. Any driver who causes a DUI accident will face criminal prosecution and substantial penalties in addition to civil liability for victims’ injuries and economic losses.
Moving violations. All drivers must abide by posted traffic signals and obey the rules of the road. Illegal turns and running stop signs and red lights can easily cause bus accidents.
These are just a few examples of how bus accidents can happen in the San Diego, CA, area. If you recently experienced a bus accident while riding as a passenger or driving your own car, it’s a good idea to consult an experienced San Diego personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.
Comparative Negligence in California Civil Claims
California enforces a rule of pure comparative negligence for personal injury claims. This law states that if a plaintiff is partially responsible for causing their claimed damages, they still have the right to recover compensation, but they must lose a percentage of the case award equal to their percentage of fault for causing their damages. If you were riding a bus as a passenger when your accident occurred, it is unlikely for the defendant to have any grounds to allege comparative negligence against you.
The only potential exception would be if you did anything that interfered with the bus driver’s ability to safely control the bus. However, if you were driving your own car at the time of the bus accident, it is possible for the defendant to allege comparative negligence in your case.
If you have any concerns about your potential partial fault for your bus accident, it is essential that you discuss them with your San Diego bus accident lawyer. Your attorney can help you obtain the evidence and witness testimony you may need to clearly establish fault for your accident. This is what ultimately helps you mitigate any claims of comparative negligence from the defendant.
Damages and Compensation in a Bus Accident Claim
Buses are large vehicles—it’s possible for a bus accident to cause injuries to multiple passengers, the occupants of other vehicles, and even pedestrians. The victim of a bus accident has the right to claim compensation for any and all damages they suffer due to the negligence of the party responsible for causing the accident. California’s personal injury laws allow plaintiffs to claim:
Medical expenses. Bus accidents can easily cause traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, spinal injuries, and internal injuries. A plaintiff can claim immediate medical costs like hospital bills, and they may also seek compensation for long-term medical expenses if their injuries require ongoing treatments. As an MD, Attorney Kenneth Sigelman is uniquely capable of helping clients ensure their medical needs are fully addressed and fairly compensated following personal injuries caused by other parties.
Lost income. Your bus accident could leave you unable to work until you recover from your injuries. You can include wages lost during your recovery in your bus accident claim. In the event you develop a permanent disability from the accident that prevents you from returning to work at all in the future, your attorney can potentially help you claim compensation for your lost future earning potential.
Property damage. You have the right to claim compensation for your repair or replacement costs if your vehicle or other personal property was damaged in your bus accident.
These economic damages can add up very quickly, and the plaintiff is likely to experience additional economic strain due to inability to work and mounting medical bills. While your economic damages may be significant in your bus accident claim, your recovery could potentially include additional compensation. California state law allows personal injury plaintiffs to recover monetary compensation for physical pain and emotional distress caused by a defendant’s negligence. Many people might find it difficult to assign monetary figures to abstract concepts (like pain and suffering) that are inherently difficult to quantify. Generally, plaintiffs are allowed to claim whatever they believe to be reasonable compensation for the scope of the pain and suffering they experience.
California law does not limit pain or suffering compensation except in medical malpractice claims. The plaintiff’s attorney may seek “per diem” compensation for every day the plaintiff spends in recovery until they reach maximum medical improvement, or they may seek a larger lump sum. The latter is more likely when a plaintiff has developed permanent medical complications from their injury that significantly change their quality of life and diminish their ability to earn income and/or live independently. If your bus accident resulted in any permanent disability, pain and suffering could form the bulk of your total recovery.
San Diego, California Bus Accidents FAQs
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates has years of experience handling a wide range of personal injury claims, including those pertaining to bus accidents in the San Diego area. Our prospective clients often have many questions regarding their legal rights and what they can expect out of their case proceedings. The following are some of the most common questions our team hears from bus accident victims in San Diego.
Q: What Happens If a School Bus Has an Accident?
A: School bus accidents are tragic incidents that often result in severe injuries to multiple children. Depending on how the accident happened, it’s possible for the bus driver, the bus company, the school district, or a third party to absorb liability for the resulting damages. Parents of children injured in a school bus accident should consult legal counsel as soon as possible to determine which party (or parties) bears liability for their children’s injuries.
Q: What Should I Do If a Bus Hits My Car?
A: The first thing you should do after any vehicle accident is to check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If you are able to do so, call 911 to report the accident and wait for first responders. In the event you believe you only sustained minor injuries, carefully take photos of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, and the surrounding area. These pictures could help you prove how the bus accident happened and empower subsequent legal proceedings.
Q: How Long Will My Bus Accident Claim Take?
A: Most personal injury claims filed in California settle outside of court relatively quickly. Speedy settlement suits the best interests of both plaintiffs and defendants. However, bus accident cases often raise difficult questions of liability, and your case may take longer than you would like. It’s reasonable to estimate that your bus accident claim could take several weeks or even months to conclude.
Q: Do I Really Need to Hire a San Diego Bus Accident Attorney?
A: Hiring a San Diego bus accident lawyer significantly increases your chance of success with your claim. This way, you can rest and recover with peace of mind, knowing your case will meet all procedural requirements with the court. It is always best to approach a personal injury claim with reliable legal counsel on your side.
Hopefully, these questions and our answers will help you understand your situation and your legal options in greater detail. You likely have many more questions specific to your unique bus accident claim. The sooner you connect with an experienced San Diego bus accident attorney, the sooner you can get the direct answers you’re looking for.
Talk to a Bus Accident Lawyer for Legal Help
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates can provide a much higher level of legal representation than you could expect from most other personal injury attorneys in the area. Attorney Kenneth Sigelman is not only an experienced attorney but also holds an MD. This uniquely positions our firm to assist clients who have suffered acute medical issues from the actions of others. Our goal is to help our clients recover as fully as California law allows. If you are struggling with the aftermath of a bus accident in San Diego, our team can help you determine your best options for recovering your losses. Contact us today for more information about the legal services we provide and what you can expect from our representation.
Kenneth M. Sigelman and Associates possesses an exceptional and thorough knowledge of California law, decades of legal experience and a commitment to achieve justice and obtain fair compensation for victims. Click below to learn more about our team of San Diego, CA attorneys.
KEN SIGELMAN J.D., M.D.
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