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How Do Bus Accident Lawsuits Differ from Normal Auto Accidents

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A bus may seem like a normal automobile, albeit it slightly bigger. However, if you were injured in a bus accident and choose to pursue a lawsuit, you will have a vastly different experience than if you were in an auto accident.

One of the primary differences is that you will likely not be the only victim in a bus accident. There could have been a dozen passengers on board and all of them may have been injured. However, you are not always wielding a lawsuit against just one person either. In bus accidents, blame can be placed not only on the bus driver, but on the bus company, their insurance carrier, bus part manufacturers, and even government entities depending on the unique circumstances of the accident. This means that you will need to decide where the blame for the accident lies and go after the person or people who were most responsible for your injuries. However, many of above have different restrictions and time limits in which you can file suit against them. This means that if you aren’t pursuing the right entity, you may have missed your time frame to do so altogether.

In most cases, the injured parties will often go after the bus driver, since they were the person driving. However, depending on the company and the circumstances, the driver may be protected by the company’s insurance. Regardless, those who do pursue a personal injury suit for a bus crash should be ready for a hard fight, since the insurance company or bus company may be handling multiple cases for crash victims. Naturally, they will want to pay out as little as possible, but this does leave room open for decent settlements.

If you have been in a bus crash in the Los Angeles area, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can do for you.

A Horrific California Tour Bus Accident Results in Multiple Fatalities

Friday, December 09, 2016

The California tour bus that rear-ended a semitrailer on a highway near Indian Canyon in California's Desert Hot Springs is believed to have been traveling at highway speeds at the time of this horrific bus accident in late October. At least 13 people died and many more suffered critical injuries when the bus slammed into the slow-moving truck. Investigators from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration will be investigating this accident for several more weeks before they issue their final report.

At least one news report about this bus accident indicated that the company which owned the tour bus had previously been sued twice for other crashes, one of which resulted in three fatalities. The bus driver in this accident owned the company that operated the bus, but he was also one of the fatalities in the accident.

Bus accidents like this one that happened on an open highway with no readily apparent safety risks raise the question of which parties bear the liability for the injuries and casualties suffered by the bus passengers. Early reports indicate that the bus that was involved in this accident had passed all required safety inspections and had not known mechanical issues that would have led to the crash. Individuals who were injured in the accident and families of those who died as a result of their injuries will likely seek legal remedies based on bus company's or the driver's alleged negligence in operating the bus.

Bus accidents pose a unique challenge for an attorney who represents an injured victim because the number of victims in any serious bus accident is likely to be larger than in a typical automobile accident. Multiple personal injury lawsuits will likely be filed following a bus accident, each of which will seek different amounts of damages as a function of each party's separate injuries. Competing negligence theories can complicate the resolution of the individual cases, whereas the single defendant will likely have a better opportunity to establish a uniform defense against all of the cases.

If you have suffered injuries in a bus accident or in any other large-scale accident that involved a single party's negligence, your best option for legal representation is to work with attorneys who have the knowledge and experience to manage these complications. The attorneys at Freeman & Freeman in the greater Los Angeles area have represented negligence victims in bus accident cases and other similar situations for many years. Please contact us to schedule a consultation on how we can help you to recover the largest possible damages award to compensate you for injuries that you have suffered in an accident.

Why Bus Accidents are So Common?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, bus accidents are responsible for up to 15,000 injuries per year, with an average of 300 fatalities out of that number. Considering how many communities rely on buses as a primary mode of transportation, not to mention school children, the number of bus accidents is far higher than it should be.

So with so many people relying on buses, why are bus accidents and bus injuries so common. Bus accidents are just that, accidents. Sometimes they are caused by other drivers or common bus driver fatigue, but the injuries that happen can be prevented. However, for anyone who has ever taken the bus, they will know why injuries are common. It is because buses don't require any kind of safety equipment.

There are no seat belts, no roll protection, and buses are some of the most top heavy vehicles on the road. Recently there have been a number of reports of "party" bus crashes that could have had many preventable fatalities if the bus had been inspected properly to find fatal safety flaws responsible for a number of deaths.

Many commuters feel safer on a bus than in a car, but the truth is that riding a bus is actually much more likely to be fatal in a bad crash. If you have been in a bus accident in the Los Angeles area, you may have some legal action available to you. Contact Freeman & Freeman today to see if you have a case against the bus company or bus driver responsible for you accident.

Bus Driver Fatigue Poses the Biggest Threat to Your Safety

Friday, September 30, 2016

If you take the bus every day, it can be pretty taxing for those few minutes you need to ride it, but imagine yourself as a bus driver. You drive the same routes for hours on end for increasingly longer hours on a meager paycheck. It sounds pretty tiring, right? Well that fatigue that is wearing on your bus driver is actually one of the biggest threats to your personal safety. When a fatigued bus driver is behind the wheel of a fully loaded bus, it is almost as dangerous as trying to jaywalk across a busy street in Los Angeles.

How can fatigue effect performance?

Studies have shown that the longer you are awake, the more your mind begins to deteriorate and perform worse when focusing on driving-related tasks. After being awake for 13 hours, fatigue is manageable, but after 17 hours, you perform driving-related tasks at the equivalent of a 0.05% blood-alcohol level. After 23 hours of being awake, you perform akin to being legally drunk.

But why don't bus drivers just go to sleep?

Many bus drivers do get adequate time off, but many companies want to hire less bus drivers and force the employees they do have to work longer hours. As most need the money, they comply. In a recent case against a bus driver in New York that suffered a serious crash that killed four and injured 50, he stated that he had complained of fatigue to his superiors at work prior to the crash, but they had forced him to continue to work or risk losing his job.

Unfortunately, bus driver fatigue is as dangerous as it is difficult to prevent. If you have suffered a bus accident in the Los Angeles area that you believe was due to bus driver fatigue, contact us today to see if you are entitled to legal recourse.

NHTSA Addresses Ejections In Bus Accidents

Thursday, June 30, 2016

In light of the Texas charter bus accident that claimed eight lives and injured dozens on May 14, 2016, it is worth noting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently announced a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard intended to reduce injuries and fatalities in bus accidents by reducing ejections.

New Test on Windows

A Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) requires a new impactor test on side and rear window glazing material as well as on the glass panels found on the roofs of many motor coaches and large buses. The test is intended to simulate the impact of a non-belted passenger on a window on the opposite side of the bus during a rollover accident.

NHTSA wants to promote more advanced glazing on bus windows and better latch systems on emergency exits.

Previous Efforts to Limit Ejections

Previously, NHTSA prioritized the problem of occupant ejection in its DOT Motor Coach Safety Action Plan. This effort to mitigate ejections follows a "final rule" issued in 2013 that required seat belts at all seating positions in motor coaches. This was followed by a 2014 NPRM that seeks to:

  • improve structural integrity during rollovers
  • better ensure that window glazing does not pop out of window mounts
  • emergency exits do not accidentally open in rollovers.

NHTSA is also developing new performance requirements for roof panels, windows and exit latches. For example, the federal agency wants to see that emergency exit latches still operate after exits are subjected to impactor testing.

When an individual is a victim in a bus accident, it is often possible to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain-and-suffering and lost wages. If you or a family member is in a bus accident, it's possible to discuss the matter with a bus accident attorney. Our firm provides this consultation without cost or obligation. To learn more, please contact us.

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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.