The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) provides public bus transportation through its Muni buses, which transport thousands of people every day. The streets of San Francisco are also home to private bus transportation vehicles. Unfortunately, accidents involving buses often result in serious injuries and even fatalities. If you were injured in a bus accident, either as a passenger on a bus or as a motorist, pedestrian, or bicyclist on the road, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses. A San Francisco bus accident lawyer with Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help you understand your legal rights. Call us today at (800) 921-7227 to schedule a free consultation.
Determining Legal Liability
After a bus accident, you may feel overwhelmed and confused about which entity or person has a legal responsibility to compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, or pain and suffering. Every bus accident has its own unique facts and circumstances. However, in all accidents, a victim must determine who has the legal liability to receive compensation for their injuries and losses. A San Francisco bus accident lawyer can help you navigate this process and identify the entities that may be found legally liable for your bus accident.
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As mentioned above, the public transportation system in San Francisco—also known as Muni—offers residents the ability to get around the city easily. However, any accident that occurs on public transportation owned by a state or local government will have a different set of guidelines regarding how to pursue a claim for compensation.
The forms that a victim of a bus accident owned by the government must complete are substantially complex and legally challenging. Additionally, the statute of limitations or deadline to file a claim regarding any injury sustained on one of these buses is vastly different than the deadline to file a claim for automobile accidents. For example, the deadline to file a claim against Muni for compensation resulting from injuries related to a bus accident is only six months. This strict six-month deadline from the date of the injury actually applies to all public transportation entities in the state of California.
It can be challenging to meet this six-month deadline for many reasons, including:
- Medical treatment may take longer than six months to fully complete
- An independent investigation is difficult to complete in less than six months
- When a victim suffers from physical or psychological injuries, it may take them longer to organize their medical bills, obtain information from their employer about lost wages, calculate all property damage, calculate pain and suffering, and other tasks that must be completed.
Attempting to file a government claim for a bus injury is a legally complex endeavor. A San Francisco bus accident lawyer with Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help you expedite the process and ensure that important deadlines are met. Call today to learn more.
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Private Bus Companies
In some cases, your bus accident may have involved a private bus company. There are several different private bus companies that transport people locally (such as church buses, hotel buses, or school buses) and buses that transport people to further distances (such as Greyhound buses). If you suffered injuries on a private bus, you may have the ability to file a claim against either the bus company or the bus driver, or in some cases both.
In most cases, a victim of a bus accident involving a private bus will file a claim against the private bus company. In a legal concept known as “respondeat superior,” an employer has legal responsibility for the actions of their employees while they perform job-related functions. If the bus driver was acting within the official scope of their employment and you sustained injuries in an accident—either as a passenger on the bus or as a motorist, pedestrian, or bicyclist hit by the bus—you have a legal right to file a claim against the bus company.
In some cases, a victim may also be able to file a claim against the driver of the bus. These cases would include egregious circumstances where the bus driver clearly behaved in a negligent or reckless manner. For example, if the bus driver operated a private bus under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a victim may have the legal right to pursue both civil and criminal charges against the driver depending on the facts and circumstances of the accident. Drowsy driving is a concern as well. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), approximately 10 to 20 percent of bus and large truck crashes involve a tired driver.
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There are some instances when an investigation determines that the bus itself had a design flaw or manufacturing defect of a part or component that directly caused the accident. In these cases, the driver and the bus company would not have responsibility or liability for the accident, unless they failed to service, inspect, or maintain the bus properly according to established guidelines.
Some types of bus manufacturing defects that can lead to a serious accident include manufacturing failures in the:
- Fuel system
- Steering mechanism
- Windshield wipers
- Electrical system
- Accelerator pedals
While these are just a few examples, at the end of the day almost any defective part or component of a bus could cause a serious accident to occur. In these cases, the victim of a bus accident may have the legal right to pursue a claim against the designer, manufacturer, and/or retailer of the faulty part or component according to product liability law.
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Contact a San Francisco Bus Accident Lawyer
If you sustained injuries or a loved one lost their life because of a bus accident, you may have the right to pursue compensation for your losses. Reach out to Ben Crump Law, PLLC today at (800) 921-7227 to learn how a San Francisco bus accident lawyer can help you get the justice you deserve. We work on a contingency-fee-basis, which means you only pay a fee if we win your case.
Call or text (800) 921-7227 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form