If you use public transportation in the Rocklin, CA, area, it’s vital to know your rights if you ever experience a bus accident. A Rocklin bus accident lawyer can be invaluable if you ever need to file a personal injury claim to recover your losses. Bus accidents, though relatively rare, are usually incredibly damaging, and it’s common for bus accidents to result in severe injuries to multiple passengers as well as other drivers and bystanders.
At the Kreeger Law Firm, our team knows how devastating any vehicle accident can be for victims and their families. We strive to provide comprehensive and compassionate legal counsel to injured passengers as they navigate their bus accident claims. If you or someone you know recently sustained injuries in a bus accident, the right Rocklin bus accident lawyer can make a significant impact on your recovery.
Why Do I Need Legal Counsel?
If you sustain injuries due to the negligence of another party, you may assume that your case is so obvious that you could save money by handling it yourself instead of hiring an attorney to represent you. The reality is that forgoing legal representation in any civil claim can ultimately result in much less compensation, even when you factor in however much you save on attorneys’ fees.
An experienced Rocklin bus accident lawyer will have the experience to accurately value your claim, preventing you from settling for less than you deserve. The attorneys at the Kreeger Law Firm have years of experience navigating complex vehicle accident claims. We know the various avenues of compensation open to our clients in these cases. As your Rocklin bus accident lawyers, we will exhaust every available channel of compensation on your behalf, assist you in dealing with difficult insurance companies if necessary, and we have the professional resources to solidify your claim in the face of contested liability and shaky physical evidence.
Hiring a Rocklin bus accident lawyer to represent your personal injury claim offers the best chance of successfully securing the recovery you need to get your life back on track after an unexpected bus accident. Your legal team can also handle the procedural requirements of filing a civil claim through the Rocklin court system, ensuring your case is not jeopardized by administrative errors.
How Do Bus Accidents Occur?
There are fewer buses on the roads in California than passenger vehicles, so the accident rate for buses is much lower than most other vehicles. However, due to the size of these vehicles, bus accidents are typically very damaging and result in injuries or fatalities to multiple victims. These accidents can happen for a wide range of reasons, including:
- Common carrier negligence. Bus companies that offer transportation to the public as a paid service are common carriers. This designation indicates that the company’s employed drivers have a higher duty of care than private individual drivers because they provide their services for compensation. When a bus driver is negligent in any way that results in a bus accident, or if a bus company was negligent in the hiring, training, or assigning of work to the driver in question, common carrier liability can come into play in a resulting civil case.
- Driving under the influence (DUI). It is illegal to operate any motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It’s possible for a bus accident to occur due to a private individual driver who is driving their vehicle while intoxicated and collides with the bus. If a bus driver is drinking on the job or otherwise inebriated while performing their job duties, the driver and their employer could potentially absorb liability for the accident. Anyone who causes a bus accident or any other vehicle accident because of DUI will face criminal prosecution in addition to civil liability for victims’ claims for damages.
- Distracted driving. Across the US, distracted driving is the leading cause of vehicle accidents. Bus accidents also occur from distracted driving at the fault of both bus drivers and other drivers nearby. All drivers have a duty of care to pay close attention to the road when operating their vehicles.
- Bad weather. While rare, severe storms and high winds can contribute to serious vehicle accidents, including bus accidents.
- Mechanical defects. If a bus manufacturer released a defective bus model or a parts manufacturer supplied a defective part to the bus company, it’s possible that this defect could cause a serious accident and implicate the responsible manufacturer as liable under product liability laws.
- Bad road conditions. If a road’s poor condition results in a bus accident, liability would technically fall on the government agency responsible for the road’s upkeep. However, taking legal action against a government entity is very difficult and subject to special restrictions.
- Speeding and reckless driving. When drivers fail to adhere to posted speed limits, they are often unable to slow down or stop in time to avoid colliding with other vehicles or objects. Bus accidents can occur when bus drivers drive too fast or when other third-party drivers engage in reckless driving.
- Moving violations. Bus drivers and all other vehicle drivers must adhere to posted traffic signals and signs, and they must operate their vehicles correctly so other drivers can anticipate their movements. Illegal U-turns, illegal turns, lane changes without signaling, and running stop signs or red lights are just a few examples of moving violations that can lead to serious bus accidents.
These are only a few examples of how bus accidents can happen. If you recently suffered injuries while riding as a passenger on a bus, a Rocklin bus accident lawyer can help you determine which party or parties bear liability for your damages.
Damages and Compensation in a Rocklin Bus Accident Claim
If you decide to take legal action for your bus accident injury, your attorney will be instrumental in helping you establish the full scope of your claimable damages, identifying the parties responsible for causing those damages, and holding them accountable for their actions in a civil claim. Some of the types of compensation a bus accident victim can likely recover from a successful bus accident claim include medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
When it comes to medical expenses in a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff has the right to claim compensation for both immediate medical costs incurred right after a bus accident has happened and long-term medical expenses if their injuries require extended care. Lost income is similar; not only can a plaintiff claim compensation for wages lost during their recovery, but they also have the right to claim compensation for lost earning potential if their injuries prevent them from returning to work in the future.
Some of the injuries likely to result from a serious bus accident include:
- Bone fractures, some of which may require months of recovery time or surgical correction. Some broken bones may result in permanent disability or a loss of range of motion.
- Internal organ damage, some of which can be life-threatening without immediate medical treatment.
- Brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury may only be a mild concussion, or it could be a potentially fatal skull fracture that results in permanent disability.
- Spinal injuries. These injuries have a high chance of causing permanent complications for the victim, including loss of sensation or even paralysis.
- Soft tissue injuries. Crash impact forces can cause the head and neck to violently snap back and forth, causing a soft tissue condition known as “whiplash” that often requires substantial recovery time. The tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the rest of the body may also sustain serious injury from a bus accident.
It is vital to seek immediate medical care after a bus accident. Some injuries are not immediately noticeable, and you risk severe medical complications if you allow these injuries to remain untreated for too long. Additionally, a medical report from a doctor filed immediately after your accident will help you establish the full scope of your damages in a subsequent civil claim.
California state law allows personal injury plaintiffs to recover compensation for their physical pain and psychological suffering as well. A bus accident can cause painful physical injuries and is a traumatizing experience. The amount a plaintiff receives in pain and suffering compensation is typically dependent on the severity of their injuries, the length of their recovery, and whether their injuries resulted in any permanent disability.
Punitive Damages in Bus Accident Claims
California state law also allows, under certain conditions, for a plaintiff to receive punitive damages with their other compensatory damages. A plaintiff may not claim punitive damages directly, nor do they control how much they receive in punitive damages. Instead, judges award punitive damages at their discretion and typically do so to punish bad behavior beyond the scope of typical negligence.
The amount a plaintiff receives in punitive damages will generally reflect the egregiousness of the defendant’s behavior and the defendant’s overall wealth. Wealthy defendants will lose much more in punitive damages. Judges award punitive damages to discourage similar conduct in the future.
Comparative Negligence in California Bus Accident Claims
California upholds a pure comparative negligence statute. This means that when a plaintiff files a personal injury claim, they may lose a percentage of their case award if the case reveals they were partially at fault for causing the incident in question. While many states uphold modified comparative negligence laws that bar plaintiff recovery when a plaintiff is more than 50% at fault for causing their damages, California has no such threshold. Therefore, it is technically possible for a plaintiff to be 99% at fault for causing their damages and still recover compensation.
When a plaintiff is found comparatively negligent in their civil claim, they lose a percentage of their case award equal to the percentage of fault the judge assigns to them. For example, in a $30,000 claim in which the plaintiff is 10% at fault, the plaintiff loses 10% of the case award, or $3,000, and receives only $27,000 instead. If the plaintiff were 50% at fault, they would lose half their case award and receive only $15,000. If you were injured in a bus accident while riding as a passenger, it is unlikely that California’s pure comparative negligence statute would apply to you unless evidence surfaces that indicates you interfered with the bus driver’s operation of the bus or otherwise contributed to causing the accident.
What to Expect From Your Rocklin Bus Accident Lawyer
If you decide to take legal action after suffering injuries and economic losses from a bus accident in the Rocklin, CA, area, your Rocklin bus accident lawyer will play a crucial role in obtaining the recovery you need to get your life back together after your accident. A bus accident claim typically falls under the purview of personal injury law, and personal injury cases hinge on the legal concept of negligence.
“Negligence” in the legal sense describes a party’s failure to exercise reasonable care in a given situation. Your attorney will help you identify the party or parties responsible for causing your bus accident, prove how they failed to uphold the duty of care the situation required of them, and establish the full scope of your damages before the court.
Your Rocklin bus accident lawyer must also assist you in proving causation between your claimed damages and the defendant’s negligence. This means you must prove that your damages resulted from the defendant’s negligence and not some other cause.
Find Your Legal Team Now
Time is a critical factor in any personal injury case. If you were involved in a bus accident, it is very likely that other passengers also have grounds to file civil claims similar to your own. The sooner a bus accident victim initiates legal proceedings, the better their chances will be of securing maximum recovery for their losses. Expediency ensures the freshness of material evidence and eyewitness testimony that may be crucial for establishing liability for a bus accident.
The Kreeger Law Firm is ready to help you secure your recovery after a bus accident in the Rocklin, CA, area. We have the resources, professional skills, and years of experience necessary for handling the most complex bus accident claims. If you are ready to discuss your options for legal recourse with a reliable and compassionate Rocklin bus accident lawyer, contact the Kreeger Law Firm today for more information about how our firm can assist you.