Los Angeles Bus Accident Attorneys
Hundreds of thousands of Californians and tourists use the Los Angeles Metro bus system every day. Thousands more climb aboard tour buses, charter buses, and other large commercial passenger vehicles. Although buses are commonly considered one of the safest forms of transportation, tragic bus accidents unfortunately do happen. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 67,000 bus accidents occurred in the United States in 2015.
Bus accidents change victims’ lives in an instant. Due to the inherent size and weight of a bus, such collisions often cause extremely serious injuries and fatalities. In 2015 alone, bus accidents injured about 14,000 people—and killed 257.
Sadly, victims often face an uphill battle when seeking legal recovery. Bus accidents pose complex legal issues because many different factors may contribute to an accident. For instance, multiple parties may be liable, including municipalities or other governmental entities that have immunity, and the victims’ losses are often extensive.
The attorneys at Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP have achieved groundbreaking results pursuing the bus companies and other entities responsible for these horrific accidents. We have won multiple landmark verdicts and settlements for victims who suffered devastating injuries in bus accidents.
What sets our bus accident attorneys above all others?
- We have a proven track record of securing multiple seven- and eight- figure verdicts for clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one in a bus accident.
- These past successes provide the resources for us to perform in-depth and complete investigations of bus accidents, which can be extremely costly, arduous and time-consuming, demonstrating our commitment and investment in our clients. Few law firms can afford to match the resources that Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP can bring to our cases.
- We maintain a staff of talented investigators who, when needed in specific cases, can immediately commence investigations on tight timeframes and diligently compile and develop the complex, substantive evidence necessary to win bus accident cases.
- When appropriate, we can call on a network of renowned experts to perform accident reconstruction and causation analyses, as well as perform testing to find and demonstrate vehicular defects or failures, in order to establish liability against entities like bus operating companies, municipalities, mechanics, and manufacturers.
- We advance all funds necessary to perform these investigations as well as the extensive attorney time and commitment needed to fully develop this evidence to establish liability and prepare for trial.
- Our attorneys have the skill, tenacity, and dedication to take on large corporations and governmental entities—and win, time and again.
- Our team has won numerous accolades and landmark accident cases, earning our firm its reputation.
- These successes, credentials, and recognition among our peers both locally and nationally ensures our firm has the respect and deference required to command a substantial advantage at the negotiation table with large corporations like bus companies, their insurers, and the governmental entities that operate buses—parties who do not take small-claim litigators seriously.
- We dedicate our time, energy, and resources to help those who have suffered the most serious injuries or the untimely death of a loved one maximize their recovery, to help place our clients in the best position possible to move forward with their lives.
Contact our office today at (310) 576-1200 or through our online contact form to discuss your situation with an experienced bus accident attorney today.
Winning More Than $100 Million for Victims of Catastrophic Bus Accidents
Our successes total more than $100 million in compensation for clients who suffered devastating injuries or lost loved ones in bus accidents. We help our clients and their families rebuild their lives by obtaining justice and the compensation that the victims of these traumatic accidents deserve. If you suffered a catastrophic injury or lost a loved one in a bus accident, you need the assistance of the right law firm with a proven track record of recovering top compensation for bus accidents.
We have obtained multiple seven- and eight-figure settlements and verdicts for our clients who have suffered disabling injuries or lost a loved one in tragic bus accidents. Results we have achieved on behalf of our clients include:
- Attorney Geoff Wells obtained a $7.5 million settlement on behalf of the plaintiff who suffered life-threatening injuries.
- $36.1 million for a young girl who suffered extreme traumatic brain injuries while crossing the street to reach her school bus.
- $32.5 million settlement on behalf of a teenager catastrophically injured when a bus turned left in front of her vehicle.
- $13.82 million verdict for a bus passenger injured when the bus collided with a parked vehicle.
- Multimillion-dollar settlement for eight passengers injured in a Royal American tour bus crash.
- $8.15 million verdict due to the wrongful death of a wife and mother killed while saving a toddler from a runaway charter bus.
- $5.6 million verdict after a bus struck a pedestrian, resulting in severe orthopedic injuries.
- $3.67 million settlement for a client severely injured after a school bus, operated by a private contractor, failed to yield to oncoming traffic, resulting in traumatic brain injury, facial paralysis, a fractured hip, and multiple other injuries.
- $3.2 million for a 21-year-old UCLA graduate student who suffered traumatic brain injuries after a collision with an MTA bus.
- $2.6 million verdict for an 80-year-old man who was trying to catch a bus and had his left arm run over, resulting in an amputation.
- $1.9 million settlement for a motorcyclist who was sideswiped by an MTA bus, suffering extreme orthopedic injuries.
- $1.5 million for a 35-year-old client struck by a bus.
These results demonstrate our commitment, perseverance, and success in obtaining the best possible legal outcome for the victims of traumatic bus accidents and their families.
Catastrophic Injuries From Bus Accidents
Our lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of those who suffer life-altering injuries or lose loved ones in bus accidents. Catastrophic injuries often incurred in these accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in permanent paralysis
- Severe traumatic brain injuries causing permanent disabilities
- Loss of limbs or extremities
These types of injuries require emergency medical care and often months or years in the hospital. Those victims who are fortunate enough to survive face a lifetime of permanent disabilities, impairments, and disfigurement. Losses associated with such catastrophic injuries include ongoing medical treatments, rehabilitation, and lifetime living assistance. Such expenses quickly climb into the millions and keep climbing, placing massive financial burdens on victims and their families on top of the other devastating losses and challenges they face.
Injuries to Bus Passengers
Passengers on a bus trust the bus driver to take them to their destinations safely. Most buses are not fully equipped with seat belts, airbags, and other safety features found in other types of vehicles. A bus crash can easily throw passengers around the inside of the bus and slam them into the walls or floor of the bus with no protection, causing traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.
In addition, bus passengers can sustain particularly devastating injuries if a bus rolls over in a crash. A rollover accident will likely throw passengers against the side of the bus, often landing on the windows or piling them on top of one another. Because buses have such high centers of gravity, rollovers are common when a driver loses control. The injury and fatality toll in these accidents can prove disastrous.
Injuries to School Children
More than 700,000 students ride buses to and from California schools on a daily basis. School buses can crash just like any other bus, putting the lives of young children in jeopardy. A disabling injury can completely derail a child’s life, resulting in permanent impairments, the need for extensive medical treatments, and the necessity of assisted care for the rest of the child’s life. These accidents are particularly traumatic—there is no tragedy greater than the devastation of a child catastrophically injured or killed in an accident.
Injuries to Pedestrians
Passengers are not the only ones who may sustain life-changing or fatal injuries in bus accidents. When a bus strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian has no protection from the full force of the impact. These collisions can result in multiple traumatic and life-threatening injuries, and many pedestrians do not survive. Often, a bus driver may pay closer attention to passengers or traffic than pedestrians, even when a pedestrian has the right-of-way. These tragic accidents can result in permanent injuries or death for a pedestrian simply trying to cross the street.
Injuries to Senior Citizens
Many older adults do not maintain driver’s licenses, and therefore use the bus system on a regular basis. In addition, residents of senior living facilities may frequently take facility-owned buses around town for errands or sightseeing. Older adults can suffer from weakened balance, coordination, and strength. As a result, they may face a higher risk of falling and not catching themselves in a bus accident. This is especially true for anyone who has limited physical or cognitive abilities. Elderly passengers may suffer acutely disabling injuries, including severe traumatic brain injuries. This leaves senior citizens vulnerable to a heightened risk of suffering catastrophic injuries in bus accidents.
Injuries to Other Drivers
The seriously injured or killed victims of bus crashes all too often include the occupants of other vehicles struck by the bus. The potential for catastrophic injuries to other motorists is escalated due to the sheer size and weight of a bus. In addition, the likelihood of bus accidents increases in the heavy traffic all too common in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. Commuters driving in rush hour intermingled with increased bus traffic increases the risk of accidents and a lifetime of physical, mental, and financial struggles.
Holding Bus Companies Liable for Severe Injuries
Bus accident cases pose unique legal complexities that set them apart from other types of vehicular accident cases. An experienced bus accident attorney can help navigate these complexities and maximize recovery for injured victims.
Buses are commercial vehicles that must adhere to the numerous federal and state regulations that apply to the commercial transportation industry. The FMCSA and California state agencies enact and enforce these regulations to prevent accidents involving large commercial trucks and buses. These regulations involve:
- Licensing and training requirements for commercial bus drivers.
- Restrictions on the hours a bus driver can work to prevent fatigued driving.
- Strict limits on blood alcohol levels and random drug testing to prevent impaired driving.
- Regular inspections and proper maintenance of buses.
Unfortunately, both bus companies and bus drivers often violate these regulations, creating unnecessary risks of harm for bus passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, and anyone else on the road. Our attorneys know how to identify any regulatory or safety violations to both hold violative parties fully accountable for the losses of accident victims and prevent future violations and crashes.
Buses are also “common carriers,” as they transport passengers for hire. California law holds common carriers to higher standards of care than other drivers. While most drivers must use reasonable care while operating their vehicles, common carrier drivers must use “the utmost care and diligence” for the safety of passengers. They must also exercise a “reasonable degree of skill.” Our attorneys hold bus drivers and bus companies to these higher standards—by holding them fully liable when breaching this duty causes devastating injuries to our clients.
Determining who is at fault for bus accidents can also pose complex legal questions. Depending on the type of bus involved, the liable parties may include a private company that owned the bus, a municipality that operates public buses, a school district that owns school buses, or another party. At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, our legal team has an extensive track record of identifying and holding negligent parties responsible for catastrophic bus accidents. We can bring suit against the appropriate entities for catastrophic accidents in Southern California involving:
- An MTA bus or other Los Angeles-area buses, including an Antelope Valley Transit bus, Burbank local bus, Carson circuit bus, El Monte Transit Service bus, Municipal Area Express, or Norwalk Transit
- A San Diego-area MTS bus
- A Santa Monica Big Blue Bus
- A Culver City Bus or Torrance Transit bus
- An OCTA bus or other buses in Orange County
- A school bus operated by private schools or public school districts, including the Los Angeles Unified School District
- A charter tour bus such as Caravan, Cal Tours, Orion Pacific, Royal American Tours, Las Vegas casino tours, and others
- A private bus company such as Scapadas Mágicas, Greyhound, National Express Coach, or Coach Skyline
- Bus service into the Valley, such as a Glendale Beeline bus, a Golden Empire Transit bus, or a Santa Clarita Transit bus
Seeking compensation from municipal entities that operate buses involves significantly different time frames and procedures than taking action against a private bus company. Specifically, the California Tort Claims Act sets out incredibly strict and short deadlines to file claims against a governmental entity. If you have suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in an accident involving a public or city bus, do not delay in contacting our office as soon as possible to ensure you comply with these deadlines and do not lose your rights to recover compensation.
Investigating and Proving Bus Accident Claims
Time is of the essence, even for victims of accidents involving privately owned buses. Prompt investigation of the cause of a crash is critical to the success of bus accident claims. When our attorneys learn that a client has suffered a devastating bus accident injury, our firm’s extensive resources enable us to take immediate action to thoroughly investigate fault in the crash.
Proper investigation is essential to recover compensation for injury-related losses because the law requires victims to sufficiently prove that another party’s negligence caused the accident. In bus accident cases, often the bus driver or the bus company itself acted negligently. Some examples of negligence that commonly results in bus crashes include:
- Traffic violations – Bus drivers are required to follow traffic laws just like everyone else. Unfortunately, this does not always occur, often resulting in accidents that leave victims with extremely serious injuries. Bus drivers are expected to meet schedules, even in gridlocked rush hour traffic. This pushes drivers to exceed speed limits and commit other traffic infractions. Common examples of traffic violations that bus drivers may commit include speeding, failing to signal lane changes, improper turns, following too closely, and reckless driving.
- Distracted driving – Long hours on relatively non-descript highways make long-haul bus drivers particularly susceptible to distractions while they drive. In addition, these drivers are held to schedules, even when relief drivers are unavailable. However, cell phones, snarled traffic, communication with dispatch, and disruptive passengers may also distract bus drivers. Distracted bus drivers who cause accidents are legally responsible for any injuries and fatalities that result.
- Impaired driving – While the idea of an impaired driver getting behind the wheel of a bus full of people may seem unbelievably reckless, it happens with unfortunate regularity. Sometimes a school bus driver, who had too many the night before, starts a shift early in the morning while still under the influence of alcohol. The law strictly prohibits drunk and drugged driving, and our attorneys can use criminal violations to help prove liability for our clients’ losses.
- Fatigued driving – Like other commercial drivers, bus drivers are subject to hours of service regulations—even when they operate only intra-state. They do not always follow these regulations, however, putting everyone on the bus (and on the road) at risk of involvement in a serious, injury-causing accident. At Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, we can thoroughly investigate claims involving fatigued drivers and determine whether any evidence of violations or negligence exists.
- Negligent hiring – Commercial bus operators have a duty to hire properly licensed, qualified, and trained bus drivers. Issues such as criminal convictions, evidence of drug or alcohol abuse, medical conditions that may damage a driver’s abilities, a dangerous driving history, or failure to properly train drivers all may result in an actionable claim for negligence against the bus company for an accident.
- Poor vehicle maintenance – Similarly, bus companies have a duty to maintain vehicle fleets in reasonably safe condition. Routine inspections should catch and result in the prompt repair of worn or underinflated tires, malfunctioning vehicle equipment, burned out lights, or worn brakes. Absent proper maintenance and repair, vehicles can malfunction and cause widespread injuries in accidents.
To best identify negligence and liability in a bus accident, our lawyers have a thorough understanding of commercial vehicle laws, bus company practices and policies, and the potential for negligence involving bus operations. We know how to obtain and analyze bus company records and documents, data from a bus electronic control module (“black box”), GPS reports, and more to build evidence to support our clients’ cases. Our firm maintains a warehouse for testing vehicles for defects, as well as accident reconstructions and simulations. We have the resources necessary to determine how and why a bus accident occurred and hold all parties at fault responsible for the injuries caused.
Advocates for Safer Bus Transportation
The large settlements and awards obtained by our firm not only bring our clients justice and financial recovery, but also serve to make the community safer. These cases bring attention to regulatory violations that put Los Angeles and California residents and visitors at risk. They also can act as a significant deterrent for companies and municipalities who might otherwise violate safety regulations and encourage enforcement of policies and practices that keep everyone on the roads safe. The attorneys at Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP are dedicated to making our roads safer and preventing needless deaths and traumatic injuries from bus accidents.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation With a Los Angeles Bus Accident Attorney
Bus accidents often leave victims with catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputations. All too often, they also cause fatalities. Our attorneys at Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP represent bus passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and other people who have suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in a bus accident. We are committed to maximizing the recovery of just compensation for the victims of tragic accidents.
Individuals who were catastrophically injured or who lost a loved one in a bus accident can schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers by calling our office today at (310) 576-1200 or contacting us through our online contact form.