Who Is Liable For A Bus Accident In California?

who is liable for a bus accident in california buses crash lawsuit

Liability is a difficult factor to determine in auto accidents of all kinds. In bus accidents specifically, this detail gets even more challenging to prove, as the fault cannot always be placed on the driver alone. Though drivers should certainly be held accountable for negligence, many buses suffer from mechanical issues that stem from inadequate maintenance histories or poor manufacturing. These problems would not necessarily be the bus driver’s fault, but those responsible for maintaining the vehicle. There are several very important factors that will help determine who should be deemed liable for the bus accident. 

California is home to a plethora of tourist destinations, many of which have welcomed a fleet of buses transporting both domestic and foreign visitors at one point or another. In addition to these private travel vessels, city governments also own buses for people commuting throughout the municipality or to carry children to and from school, for example. Many different types of entities may own either a single bus or an entire fleet. Varying ownership is just one factor that directly influences liability in your bus accident lawsuit. The owner oversees all operations related to driving and maintaining the vehicles and could hold partial responsibility in the crash. 

Those responsible for inspecting and maintaining the bus may also be held accountable for the accident. For instance, if a critical component – such as the brakes or a part of the drivetrain – malfunctioned, the bus maintenance company could be responsible for the crash. 

A mechanic may have recently serviced the vehicle and either missed or ignored signs of wear or other problems with these parts. Thus, they failed to inform the bus operator and their employing agency of the issue. In this case, they have played a direct role in the events that led to your incurred damages. However, if the vehicle was sold to the owner or bus driver with these issues, the manufacturer could be liable. 

Of course, the bus driver themselves may also be liable for the crash. Although these individuals are faced with many unusual distractions and challenges that can compromise the safety of operating a vehicle, they are still expected to fulfill their duty of care. (The “duty of care” is the bus driver’s responsibility to drive with reasonable safety, in a way that does not harm or endanger their passengers or other motorists.) If the driver has violated this legal duty, you may need to assign liability to both the driver and their employer. 

Hire a Bus Accident Lawyer to Prove Liability 

As you can see, assigning fault for bus accidents is quite a challenging task. It's wrought with numerous complexities that can all influence your case's outcome. Contacting an experienced bus accident lawyer as soon as possible is central to developing a claim that is sure to earn your deserved compensation. 

Taking legal action against government entities (in the case of a school or city bus crash) or large corporations (often the owners of private tour buses) is notoriously difficult. Still, no matter what, an excellent lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation and secure all evidence necessary to defend you and earn your funds for recovery. To get your case underway, get in touch with a bus accident lawyer as soon as possible.

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