It is something people often say jokingly. I feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck, or, I feel like I’ve been run over by a train. Or even, I feel like I got run over by a bus. But of course, being involved in a truck, train or bus accident is no laughing matter. In fact, California bus accidents frequently cause serious, catastrophic and even fatal injuries. Keep reading to learn more about bus accidents, and the steps to follow if a city bus hits you.
Recent bus accident news and statistics
A quick glimpse of area news headlines reveals the following:
- A 26-year-old Pomona man reportedly died after being hit by a Metro bus in East Los Angeles in August.
- Back in September 2019 , an early morning MTA bus crash in Willowbrook reportedly killed one person and injured 10 others.
- In another early morning bus accident in February 2019, a woman reportedly died after being hit by the bus she was trying to catch in the Mid-Wilshire area.
Of course, bus accidents are not unique to California. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also tracks large truck and bus accidents, and presents its findings in annual reports.
The most recent available report is from 2018. In it, a bus is defined as “any motor vehicle designed to carry nine or more persons, including the driver.” Based on that definition, there were more than 992,000 registered buses in the United States in 2018. Collectively, they clocked more than 18 million “vehicle miles.”
In all, there were 230 fatal crashes involving 234 buses in 2018. These accidents claimed 262 lives, including the lives of 43 bus occupants.
Another data set from the same report indicates that 15,000 bus crashes resulted in 27,000 injuries in 2018.
Your legal options following a city bus accident
Your legal options if you were injured in a bus accident depend on the specific circumstances of the case. Assuming the bus driver’s carelessness caused the accident, the legal process would differ depending on who owns/operates the bus. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the legal process if the bus is owned and operated by a municipal government or government agency.
The first step is to contact a knowledgeable and experienced city bus accident attorney. The legal team here at Law PLA can help you file a notice of claim with the relevant government agency under the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA). This is equivalent to a demand letter in other personal injury cases. It must contain certain information and be submitted within six months (with certain exceptions). If you try to file a notice of claim on your own and fail to submit the required information, you may forfeit your right to make a claim.
Once it receives your claim, the government agency has 45 days in which to act. It can:
- Accept the claim
- Deny the claim
- Make a settlement offer reflecting different terms
- Notify you that the claim does not have adequate information and provide a specific deadline for submission of a complete version.
- Return the claim you failed to meet the six-month deadline for submission.
If the government agency fails to act within 45 days, your claim has been rejected.
If this happens you have six months to seek a court’s permission to file a lawsuit. If the rejection is because the government agency failed to respond, you have two years in which to petition the court. If the court grants permission to sue, you have 30 days in which to file a lawsuit.
Available compensation for bus accident victims under the CTCA
If you were injured in a city bus accident and make a claim under the CTCA, you generally stand to receive up to $24,999 in compensation. The amount ultimately awarded depends on several factors. These include the amount stipulated in the notice of claim, or whether you pursued a limited civil case through the claims process.
To learn more about your legal options if a city bus hits you, contact us by phone or online, today.