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Bus Accidents

In the late summer of 2013 there have been multiple bus crashes throughout Southern California. When a bus accident occurs and injury victims seek justice and compensation, the legal process for them can be extremely complex. Attorneys with experience in these cases can significantly reduce the anxiety of victims and their families. A main source of anxiety for those victims in need of compensation may be the defendants and the massive resources they often allocate to fighting such lawsuits.

Large insurers may have a vested interest in fighting these cases. They may offer a settlement to keep from going to trial but, often, the settlements, if they are offered at all, will fall short of fair. Attorneys with resources and experience in such cases are crucial because the bus manufacturer, bus component manufacturers, maintenance companies, the bus operating company and a municipal, county, state or the federal government may all have some liability after a bus accident. Some or all of them will have insurers that want to settle for as little as possible or fight the case in court. Some of these entities have millions of dollars to dedicate to legal defense. Attorneys for the plaintiffs must have the strength to stand up against them.

In addition to having multiple responsible parties, bus accidents may also involve multiple injuries, wrongful deaths and damage to property and to other vehicles on the road. Bus crashes are rarely minor and victims often need long-term medical attention. To obtain a fair settlement or judgment, performing a thorough independent investigation may be necessary and collecting mountains of evidence may also be required. If a governmental agency operated the bus, the bureaucracy can become even more challenging. But even if the bus was operated by a private company, a governmental body may have some responsibility for the accident if road conditions were not maintained to an acceptable standard. Obtaining compensation for a bus accident victim may require compensation from more than one source. Recent examples indicate the complexity of such lawsuits.

Bus crashes in Alhambra, Duarte and Temecula shed light on just how many accidents there have been in recent weeks. On August 22, a chartered bus heading from Los Angles to a San Bernardino-area casino crashed in Duarte. More than 50 people were injured (“Dozens hurt in casino bus accident on L.A. freeway“). Several days later, another casino-bound bus in Temecula crashed (“10 in hospital after tour bus crash on way to San Diego County casino“). Each of these cases will lead to intricate legal negotiations. Another even more recent crash clearly reveals how deep the complexity can become.

On September 10, NBC News reported a bus crash that injured eight people in Alhambra (“8 Injured in Bus Crash on 10 Freeway“). The bus is in the Foothills Transit commuter fleet and was carrying 15 passengers at the time. An Ohio-based company, the First Transit Inc., operates the 314 busses in the Foothill’s fleet. According to multiple media reports, the driver either fell asleep or experienced a medical emergency and lost control. The bus careened into the dividing wall before the bus was controlled by passengers on board. Fortunately, no other cars were hit and no one lost their lives. But if the driver’s medical condition was an issue, should they have been behind the wheel in the first place? There are other questions as well.

Was the driver exhausted from working too much? Did the Ohio-based company research the driver’s background effectively? Was the organization monitoring its employees adequately? Were sub-contractors equipped for the tasks they were assigned? Answers to these types of questions often require a substantial investigation. And these are only a short list of the many possible causes of the crash. There may have been mechanical failure, the road conditions and street lights may have been unsafe or a driver on the freeway may have contributed to the accident.

All of the recent crashes indicate the complexity of such litigation. For instance, in a recent example, a crash involved a California-based bus that was manufactured in another state and operated by a company in yet another state and insured by a company based, likely, in yet another state. The driver of the bus may be liable but a bus operation company is obligated to make sure their equipment is safe and their employees are of the highest quality. The multiple sources of liability will all have their own legal defenses ready to go. The victims need the right law firm with resources and experience.

Bus accidents in the southland are likely to continue to occur. When these accidents happen, the victims need lawyers who know how to deliver substantial results.