Buses are an economical and convenient way for Californians to get where they need to go. They are an essential convenience in any large metropolitan area. However, millions of people ride buses daily in this state, increasing the risk of bus accidents. Unfortunately, buses are rather sizable vehicles that can cause severe and catastrophic injuries to passenger vehicle motorists and their occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and anyone else in their way.
If you or a family member suffered such a fate, contact the compassionate San Jose bus accident attorneys at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos as soon as possible.
- About Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos
- Buses Are Accident Prone
- Causes of San Jose Bus Accidents
- Establishing Negligence in a San Jose Bus Accident
- Catastrophic Injuries From Bus Accidents
- The Costs of a Catastrophic Injury
- Do You Need a Seasoned Bus Accident Attorney? Call Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos Today
- Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP
About Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos
Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos is a top personal injury law firm in the San Jose area. Combined, our attorneys have over 75 years of experience. Many of our lawyers have recognitions by Avvo, Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, Justia, and other prestigious national and local legal organizations.
Our firm has obtained millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients, including those injured in San Jose bus accidents.
Our conveniently located offices in San Mateo, Hayward, and Santa Barbara serve injured clients throughout:
- Alameda County, including Hayward and Oakland
- San Mateo County, including Belmont, Burlingame, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Pacifica, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, and San Mateo
- Santa Clara County, including Campbell, Palo Alto, and San Jose
- Santa Cruz County, including Santa Cruz
We proudly offer no-obligation case consultations to bus accident victims and their families. Our attorneys work tirelessly to get injured individuals the compensation they deserve after being involved in a traumatic bus accident.
Buses Are Accident Prone
Buses are more likely to cause accidents than other vehicles because:
- They have a high center of gravity, increasing their chances of toppling over.
- They are large, requiring more distance and time to slow down or come to a complete stop.
- They acquire many miles, making brake, tire, or other problems more likely, especially if the charter company fails to maintain them appropriately.
Both charter/motorcoach buses and buses used for public transportation, like those used by Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), can cause severe bus accidents. Even though VTA has been operating in the San Jose area for five decades, it is liable for its fair share of accidents over the years. These accidents have caused many severe injuries and even fatalities. Our attorneys know how to stand up to these big bus companies and their law firms to fight for justice on behalf of injured parties.
Causes of San Jose Bus Accidents
Bus accidents can happen for many; most are the same reasons other motor vehicle accidents happen. But, no matter what caused the accident, nearly all of them result from the negligence of another person or party.
Bus Company Negligence
Negligence by the bus company and its employees is a frequent cause of accidents. Even though specific state and federal laws regulate the bussing industry, bus inspections and record-keeping requirements aren’t nearly as strict or enforced as seriously as those of the aviation industry.
You can hold bus companies negligent in causing a bus accident if:
- Their fleet is getting old.
- Their fleet doesn’t provide seat belts or have other safety equipment.
- Their employers don’t perform adequate maintenance and proper inspections on their buses.
- They fail to train their bus drivers adequately.
- They hire drivers with poor driving records or even severely negative driving histories, such as drunk driving incidents.
Sometimes bus drivers ignore laws such as those that govern their hours of service or how long they can be on the road at a time, bus speed, and turning and passing regulations. They are often in a hurry to keep up with demanding bus schedules and employer requirements. Worse yet, some bus drivers get behind the wheel while under the influence of prescription or illicit drugs or alcohol. Others might be distracted by their cell phone while calling or texting. Driver fatigue is another concern that can put everyone on the road at risk of injuries.
The Negligence of Other Drivers
It’s not always a negligent driver or bus company that causes an accident. Sometimes it’s the negligence of other drivers on the road that causes or contributes to an accident. Additional drivers can be negligent in the same way bus drivers can, for example, speeding, not stopping at a stop sign, texting behind the wheel, or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When other drivers make poor choices, our attorneys will hold them accountable for the injuries they cause.
Government Entity Negligence
Suppose a government bus system operates a particular bus. In that case, the government can be negligent in causing an accident in the same ways a bus company can. Sometimes bus accidents occur due to road conditions or malfunctioning stop lights that a county or city should have fixed. In these cases, you can hold a government agency responsible. Injury claims against the government come with their own unique requirements, making it imperative to hire effective legal representation.
Weather and Road Conditions
Although it occurs less frequently, hazardous weather or road conditions can cause bus accidents. The shape and weight of a bus make it difficult to maneuver—for example, a typical, fully-loaded bus can weigh approximately 42,000 pounds, compared to an average passenger automobile that weighs around 3,000 pounds.
A bus’s weight and large size, combined with poor weather or road conditions, are no match for anyone else on the road. As such, bus drivers must receive proper training to operate a bus in all types of weather and to take precautions such as reducing speed when fog, rain, ice, or other inclement conditions exist.
In rare circumstances, a defective part installed on a bus will lead to an accident. If this occurs, the bus or the faulty part manufacturer can be liable for the resulting injuries. A well-versed San Jose bus accident lawyer from Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos can investigate your accident to determine if it happened due to a malfunctioning part or something else. Once they determine what happened, they know who can be held liable for your resulting damages.
Establishing Negligence in a San Jose Bus Accident
Injured victims and their families won’t receive compensation for their damages unless their attorney can establish negligence in their claim.
To do so, they must prove the following four elements of negligence:
- Duty of care: The person who contributed to or caused your injuries owed you a duty of care. For example, a bus driver turning left needs to yield to oncoming traffic, or a bus company needs to vet their drivers before hiring them.
- Breach of duty: That person or party violated their duty to you.
- Injuries: Their breach of duty directly caused your injuries. For example, a bus driver was speeding and caused an accident, and you suffered severe injuries.
- Damages: The accident and your injuries also resulted in compensable damages. Damages are the financial translation of your suffering and losses due to the circumstances, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Catastrophic Injuries From Bus Accidents
According to the American Medical Association, catastrophic injuries include severe damage to the spine, spinal cord, and brain. Some catastrophic injuries also involve fractures of the skull or spine or the loss of a limb.
Traumatic injuries are personal injuries that are extreme and permanently damaging. Therefore, they should receive more compensation than injuries that will heal in a relatively short amount of time. To be sure that you receive compensation that matches the level of your traumatic injury, hire a seasoned San Jose bus accident lawyer as soon as possible after being involved in a bus accident.
The most common types of catastrophic injuries and their effects include:
Head and Brain Injuries
Head and brain injuries are among the most common injuries resulting from accidents involving buses. Blunt head trauma, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), concussions, and lacerations to the face or scalp frequently occur.
A TBI is a physical injury to the brain caused by an outside force, such as hitting the pavement, steering wheel, or penetrating wound. While most TBIs are invisible to the naked eye, they are serious and can entirely alter someone’s life. In severe cases, they may need supportive care for the remainder of their life or live with continuous symptoms such as frequent seizures and headaches. Almost half of those hospitalized with a TBI will have long-term disabilities.
Internal Bleeding and Organ Damage
Internal organs are delicate. The extreme forces of a bus accident or broken bones can damage them and cause them to bleed. These sometimes fatal injuries are prevalent in high-speed bus collisions. A doctor should examine anyone involved in a bus accident as soon as possible to rule out any internal bleeding or organ damage. These life-threatening injuries typically need immediate medical treatment for the best outcome.
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is perhaps the most severe injury someone can suffer. It occurs when the spinal cord is damaged or severed in some way. SCIs can result in total or partial paralysis at and below the area of damage to the spinal cord. Messages must travel from the brain to the rest of the body and vice versa. They travel through the central nervous system in the spinal column.
If the spinal cord sustains serious damage, communication does not travel past that point. Some of these injuries result in individuals being unable to use their legs or walk, known as paraplegia. While more severe cases can cause quadriplegia, the loss of use of all extremities. Some people with quadriplegia require assistance with breathing, eating, bathing, or even speaking.
Amputations can occur during the accident, known as traumatic amputations, or be necessary as a result of other injuries suffered in the accident, known as medical amputations. For example, suppose someone’s foot and ankle bones were crushed beyond surgical repair in a bus accident. In that case, their medical team may recommend amputation as the best course of treatment.
Most amputations require a prosthetic device, physical therapy, and a lifetime of follow-up care. Amputees must often relearn to do basic tasks such as walking, eating, grooming, or dressing. They may also deal with phantom pain as if their missing body part was still there.
The Costs of a Catastrophic Injury
The economic costs of a catastrophic injury can be astronomical. Medical expenses and long-term care alone can add up to millions of dollars and will be ongoing. In addition, there are past and future lost wages and the incalculable value of the injured party’s pain and suffering.
A hallmark of all catastrophic injuries is that they are likely to cause tremendous physical and emotional challenges for the injured victim and their loved ones. If you or someone you love suffered a catastrophic injury because of another individual’s negligence, a San Jose bus accident attorney from Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos can help.
Many people injured in an accident make the mistake of assuming they will receive a fair settlement from the liable parties or their insurance company. A catastrophic injury isn’t an injury to settle alone with an insurance company. No matter how extreme your situation might be, the insurance company wants to save money by paying you as little as possible. The costs are so high and difficult to calculate that your San Jose bus accident lawyer might request the assistance of financial experts to determine what you deserve.
Do You Need a Seasoned Bus Accident Attorney? Call Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos Today
Remember, we offer free consultations to injured parties and their families. If you suffered an injury in any kind of bus accident, we want to help you. Call us today at (650) 345-8484 or contact us online. Reach out to a San Jose personal injury lawyer.