- Roberts Law Firm, APC
Orange And Riverside County Bus Riding Accidents
At one time or another most Orange County and Riverside County residents have all been passengers on a bus: either school bus, city bus, tour bus, or rental car bus. Almost never are busses in Orange or Riverside County, CA equipped with seatbelts, and often times you’re even allowed to stand in a moving bus. Couple that with the fact that we’re not necessarily looking out the front of the bus, and you can see that we place a lot of trust in the skill and attention of the bus driver to drive safely and get us to our destination without harm.
Unfortunately that does not always happen, and all too often inattentive and/or poorly trained bus drivers cause a bus accident injury to passengers. Bus rider injuries don’t just occur when there’s a collision with another car, but they also happen if the bus driver slams on the brakes and throws his passengers forward, often landing on the floor or hitting the front windshield.
Bus drivers are required to obtain a Class B license from the California DMV in order to operate large passenger busses. This requires the driver to know the safety rules in the California Commercial Driver’s Handbook, take a special written test, and pass a skills test while actually driving a bus. And while passing these tests legally allows a person to drive a bus in California, that is insufficient training to protect bus passengers. A good bus company, school district, or city, will require bus drivers to undergo many more hours of classroom and on the road training before they can drive a bus with passengers.
California law requires that anyone who transports bus passengers for profit must exercise more than just ordinary care, but instead must use the “utmost care and diligence” for the safety of bus passengers. This is called the law of Common Carriers. This law means that a bus driver carrying passengers must anticipate hazards in advance so that they can bring their bus to a stop in a controlled manner so bus riding passengers are not thrown forward and injured.
Recently our law firm successfully handled two bus rider injury cases, one that went to trial against Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and another that went to arbitration against Orange County Transit Authority. In the Enterprise Rent-A-Car case an LAX shuttle bus driver with a history of slamming on his brakes and injuring passengers, approached a yellow light and didn’t slow down, even though there was a car waiting to turn left in front of him. The light turned red before the bus got to the intersection but the Enterprise Rent-A-Car shuttle bus driver kept going and then slammed on his brakes when the left turning car had to complete its turn. Our client, a passenger on the shuttle bus was thrown forward to the floor and injured her arm, requiring multiple surgeries to correct. The jury compensated her for her injuries.
In the Orange County Transit Authority bus rider injury case the driver ran a red light in Costa Mesa and collided with a truck, throwing our client to the front of the bus and onto the floor. The bus rider suffered multiple back and head injuries. The driver denied running a red light, but multiple witnesses testified that the light was red for the OCTA bus driver and that he caused the collision. The arbitrator believed the witnesses and awarded compensation for the bus rider’s injuries.
Bus rider injuries can be severe and the cost of medical care and lost income significant. If the bus driver caused the accident, or failed to keep a diligent look out for hazards, the bus driver and bus owner are responsible to fully compensate for a bus rider injury. The Roberts Law Firm handles Orange County as well as Riverside County bus rider accident cases and will provide a free, no obligation, consultation to talk with you about a bus rider injury case.