Bus lines operating in California are required to follow a strict set of safety regulations including compliance with Federal Transportation Safety Administration requirements and specialized driver’s licensing rules. These regulations are intended to help protect consumers who utilize bus carriers.
Bus lines in the business of transporting the general public are considered common carriers, subject to an elevated standard of care. It is well established in California law that a carrier of persons for reward must use the utmost care and diligence for their safe carriage, must provide everything necessary for that purpose, and must exercise to that end a reasonable degree of skill. (Civ. Code § 2100.) This includes providing vehicles safe and fit for their purpose. (Civ. Code § 2101.) Also, a common carrier must give to passengers all such accommodations as are usual and reasonable, and must treat them with civility, and give them a reasonable degree of attention. (Civ. Code § 2103.)
The elevated standard of care does not apply to buses that are not considered common carriers. Examples include shuttle buses for a corporations employees and school buses operated for the sole convenience of the pupils of a particular school. In these cases traditional rules of negligence apply.
Ive written before about some of the dangers inherent in riding on Californias narrow mountain roads. Unfortunately, those dangers are by no means limited to motorcycles. In early February a tour bus carrying skiers back home from the Big Bear resort area careened out of control rear-ending a passenger car before rolling into the oncoming lane where it was struck by a light truck. The bus eventually came to rest right side up with the front hanging over a drainage ditch. Eight passengers were killed and many more seriously injured; some were thrown from the rolling bus through shattered windows.
Get the facts
Fortunately, the Federal Transpiration Safety Administration maintains a website with a wealth of information about bus safety, all designed specifically for consumers. Their tip sheet can be found here. If youre planning a bus trip, youd be well advised to read the tip sheet and then follow up by checking out the record of any company youre considering via the Administrations website.
When the worst happens
If youre already the victim of a bus accident, dont wait to get legal help. In all cases, time is of the essence. Evidence must be collected and witnesses interviewed. The longer you wait, the more likely it becomes that critical information will be permanently lost or destroyed. Furthermore a struggling company might become insolvent or even file for bankruptcy, limiting your recovery options. Alternatively, an applicable insurance policy might reach its maximum payout before you file your claim.
Contact me today
If you have been injured in a bus accident, call California bus injury attorney Don Sjaarda at (714) 963-8216 for a consultation.
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