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As bizarre as it may sound, if you have been injured in a bus accident as a passenger, you might be fully or partially responsible for all the damages. In other words, just because you were not behind the wheel of the vehicle that crashed, it does not mean that you are immune from liability.

As in any other motor vehicle accident in California, the theory of shared fault and comparative negligence applies in the event of a bus accident as well. If you think about it, assigning fault in bus accident might not sound that difficult. “It is either the bus driver who is at fault, or the other motorist involved,” says our San Francisco bus accident attorney from the Allegiance Law. “That is what many people think, but it is far from reality.”

Who can be held liable for a bus accident in California?

In reality, assigning negligence in bus accidents can be very tricky and complex, as multiple parties could be held liable for passenger injuries and fatalities that occur on a bus:

  • The bus driver who violated traffic law or failed to adhere to federal and state bus driving regulations (for example, the bus driver slammed on the brakes too hard).
  • The other motorist involved in the crash was negligent or otherwise violated traffic laws.
  • The bus company that operates and/or owns the bus (private company, public entity, city, district, municipality, etc.) failed to properly maintain and inspect the bus, hire bus drivers, conduct background checks, etc.
  • The manufacturer of the bus and its parts/components if the bus accident was caused by a design or manufacturing defect or malfunction.
  • The municipality, city, district, or county failed to design and/or maintain the roadways, highways, and other public roads properly.
  • One of the passengers of the bus, even if that passenger was injured, but only if the passenger caused a distraction or otherwise contributed to causing the bus crash.

“The process of recovering damages depends on who you, as an injured bus passenger, can sue in the event of a bus accident,” says our experienced bus accident attorney in San Francisco. For example, if you are filing a personal injury lawsuit against a public entity, local government, city, municipality or county, a different set of rules will apply.

How even bus passengers could be held responsible for the crash

Our law firm often receives phone calls from injured bus passenger who run into the same legal problem over and over again: the bus driver and/or his/her bus company are trying to shift the blame onto them.

It is not uncommon for bus companies and their lawyers to minimize the settlement or avoid liability altogether by arguing that the injured bus passenger contributed to causing the accident or was fully responsible for the crash. More often than not, defense lawyers argue that the bus passengers caused a distraction, which, in turn, resulted in the accident.

In many cases, you may be able to hold multiple parties liable, which will help you maximize the value of your personal injury settlement and increase your chances of winning the lawsuit. If multiple passengers have been injured in the same bus accident, the settlement will be split between them if they choose to file a class action lawsuit.

If you have been injured in a bus accident but you are worried that you will not be able to recover damages because the bus company is trying to shift the blame onto you, do not hesitate to speak to our best bus accident lawyers in California. Our attorneys from the Allegiance Law will collect whatever evidence available, including witness accounts from other passengers, to help you build a strong legal case.

Schedule a free consultation with our San Francisco bus accident attorney today. Call at 415-404-6395 or complete this contact form.

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