Los Angeles Bus Accident Attorneys
When they do, their passengers and the drivers and occupants of other vehicles often incur serious injuries. If you have been injured in a bus accident in Los Angeles, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our Los Angeles bus accident injury attorneys at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers for help.
Metro Bus Accidents in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is the main operator of public bus services in the greater Los Angeles Basin. Metro Bus (MTA Bus) offers a cost-effective form of transportation for the region. There are more than 100 separate MTA bus routes. Unfortunately, Metro bus accidents do happen.
In this article, our Los Angeles transportation accident lawyers explain the most important things to know about Metro bus accident claims. Most buses are owned and operated by local governments and schools. However, there are also tour buses, coach buses, charter buses, and other buses on the road. Regardless of the type of bus, you were riding in, being involved in a bus accident is a traumatic ordeal.
In the aftermath of such an incident, you and the other passengers may have been approached by representatives from the bus company and/or their insurance company. As helpful as these representatives may paint themselves to be, they only have one thing in mind: protecting their clients. Even if they know full well that you are entitled to damages, they won’t make it easy for you, so make sure to hire one of our bus accident lawyers in Los Angeles for help.
Special Rules for Claims Against Government Entities: California Tort Claims Act (CTCA)
While you can file a claim against L.A. County MTA, it is important to understand that special rules apply. Under California law, government entities have sovereign immunity. The immunity has been waived by the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA). However, the CTCA imposes some additional requirements for personal injury claims involving a public entity.
In effect, you must provide valid written notice of your intent to take legal action against the MTA within six months of your accident. Failure to do so could prevent you from filing a bus accident injury lawsuit, even if your case is otherwise still within the standard statute of limitations.
Why Are Bus Accidents So Dangerous?
Although bus accidents aren’t very common, they are downright devastating when they occur. A few factors contribute to the dangerous nature of these incidents. First, there’s the sheer size of the average bus. School buses, city buses, charter buses, tour buses, and similar vehicles are enormous when compared to regular passenger vehicles. They weigh several tons too.
While they tend to inflict major damage on other vehicles, their size results in major collisions that cause serious injuries to their passengers too. Another thing that makes bus accidents so dangerous is the shape of the average bus. They are big and bulky, and that tends to result in more severe collisions. More importantly, they are also often top-heavy.
They’re designed like this to provide passengers with roomier and more comfortable accommodations. The downside is that it makes buses more susceptible to rolling over in collisions. As you can imagine, when a bus rolls over, passengers don’t tend to fare very well. If you’re in another vehicle that’s involved in a rollover accident with a bus, you can incur serious injuries too.
Causes of Bus Accidents in Los Angeles
At El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, our Los Angeles bus accident attorneys handle numerous bus accident cases every year. They happen all over the state of California, and they happen for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, the vast majority of bus accidents are caused by negligence of some kind. Sometimes, the driver is to blame; other times, the bus company or manufacturer is.
Regardless of who is ultimately responsible for a bus accident, victims need to take steps to protect themselves. Government entities, school districts, and tour bus companies aren’t going to do it for them. A few of the most common causes of bus accidents include:
- Driver Error – Due to inexperience, a lack of training, inadequate training, or other factors, the driver of a bus may react inappropriately to hazards or otherwise engage in behaviors that put passengers at risk. These days, texting while driving is often to blame and is certainly among the most egregious offenses imaginable.
- Driver Impairment – Bus drivers are charged with safely transporting people from place to place. Often, these people are schoolchildren. Despite this serious responsibility, bus drivers sometimes partake in alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel. Other times, they are seriously fatigued and have no business operating a massive vehicle.
- Manufacturing Defects – Defective bus components often put innocent people at risk. Could they be to blame for the injuries you incurred in your bus accident?
- Improper Maintenance – Whether a bus is owned by a local government, a school, or a private company, it needs to be properly maintained to ensure its roadworthiness. Sadly, many companies and other entities fail to keep up with bus maintenance or cut corners to keep costs down. When companies engage in these behaviors, innocent passengers like you lose.
- Unsafe Roads – Local municipalities must maintain roads. Sometimes, bus accidents happen due to defects or hazards on the road. Proving negligence of this kind is very tricky, but victims have been able to recoup damages under such circumstances.
- Inclement Weather – In a way, a bus accident that happens due to inclement weather is ultimately the fault of the driver. At a certain point, a bus driver must make a judgment call about whether or not it’s safe to operate a vehicle during bad weather. Whether roads are icy or heavy rain has reduced visibility to practically nothing, a conscientious bus driver will know when to stop and wait.
How Long Do You Have To File A Bus Accident Lawsuit?
The time you have to sue for your bus accident is called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations starts the day of your accident. When it ends or runs out, depends on the state where you live. Personal injury laws vary from state to state. The time you have to sue ranges from a year in some states to six years in another state.
Most states have a typical statute of limitations of two years. This means from the date of your bus accident to two years later you are allowed to file a lawsuit. For instance, your bus accident happened March 9, 2014. You have until March 9, 2016, to sue.
The Statute of Limitations depends on Who Owns the Bus Company
The statute of limitations may change depending on who owns the bus that caused the accident. If a private company owns the bus, you may have one to six years to file a claim depending on state law.
If the government owned the bus, you may have a limited amount of time. For instance, in the state of California, a claim against a government agency cannot be filed in county court first. You must file an administrative claim with that particular government agency. It has 45 days to deny, approve, or ignore the administrative claim.
If they deny or ignore the administrative claim, you then have six months to file your bus accident claim in county court. Many states have separate statute of limitations laws for government agencies and private citizens who are at fault for an accident.
Your Bus Accident Lawsuit will be Dismissed if it is Filed after the Statute of Limitations End
The most important thing to remember is to have the lawsuit filed as soon as possible. If your time runs out, your case will be dismissed with prejudice. To have the case dismissed with prejudice means that you cannot refile. The reason for this is that you waited too late to file your bus accident lawsuit.
You Should Never Negotiate with the At-Fault Party and Delay Filing Your Bus Accident Claim
The at-fault party can be anyone from the bus driver to another driver operating a motor vehicle. It could even be the manufacturer of the bus or bus company. It does not matter who the party is when it comes to protecting your right to sue.
You should never negotiate with the at-fault party and ignore your statute of limitations. Sometimes an at-fault party can have bad intentions. They can try to delay negotiations until after your statute of limitations ends. After that time, they are not legally required to pay you any money for your bus accident injury.
You can File a Bus Accident within Your Statute of Limitations and Negotiate a Settlement
Personal injury law does not prevent you from filing your bus accident claim and negotiating with the at-fault party. It is what personal injury attorneys do to protect your legal rights in a bus accident. It is the best way to protect your legal rights.
It prevents the at-fault party from dragging out settlement negotiations to try to prevent you from filing your lawsuit on time. In addition, it also gives you leverage during settlement negotiations. If negotiations fail, you can try your bus accident claim in court.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Los Angeles Bus Accident Attorney
At El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, our Los Angeles commercial transportation accident lawyers have the skills and experience to handle Metro bus accident claims. Get in touch with us by phone at 213-985-1120 or contact our legal team online to schedule your free, fully private personal injury consultation. From our Los Angeles office, we advocate for car accident victims throughout the region, including in Commerce, Pasadena, Gardena, Inglewood, Compton, and Torrance.
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