What to Know About Bus Accident Injuries
AC Transit serves about 53 million riders each year throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Bus accident injuries don’t happen often, but when they do, they can be devastating.
In September, an AC Transit bus collided with a sedan near the Bay Bridge during the morning commute, resulting in injuries and four blocked lanes on the Bay Bridge. A couple months prior, a bus-car crash sent five people to the hospital.
If you’re injuried in a collision that involves a public or private bus, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit. But you’ll have to act fast.
Accidents on public transit
If the bus is owned by a public entity, like a school district or a transportation agency, and you think the bus driver was at fault, you only have six months from the date of injury to file a claim. You also have to follow that city, county or agency’s procedure for filing a claim.
The first step, a “notice of claim,” states your intent, the nature of the accident and your injuries, among other details. The government agency will either accept or reject your claim. If they reject, you have six months from the date of rejection to file a civil lawsuit in court. If they don’t reject the claim, it is deemed rejected 45 days following the accident. From the deemed rejected date you again have six months to file a civil lawsuit.
In other cases, the accident may not be the bus driver’s fault. The driver of another vehicle may have caused the accident. In that case, you would pursue a claim against that driver’s insurance company.
What if it’s a combination of both? If both the bus driver and the vehicle driver were negligent and essentially combined to cause the accident, you would need to file a lawsuit against both. For the public entity, you would follow the same procedures above.
Accidents on private buses
If you’re injured while riding on a privately owned bus, such as Greyhound or a tour bus, you have other factors to consider. Was the bus driver overworked and fatigued? You may have a claim against the company for violating its duties as a common carrier. Common carriers, such as bus companies and airlines, are held to a higher standard than other drivers.
When you file a claim, the standard statute of limitations applies. That means you have two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit-the same as a standard car crash.
Accidents at bus stops
Sometimes, a person waiting at a bus stop gets injured by a passing car. When that happens, the injured person can file a claim against the negligent driver. If the accident had to do with the bus stop itself-it was placed too close to the street, in a dangerous location or the structure collapses-you may have a claim against the government agency responsible for the bus stop.
Bus collisions can cause serious injuries because of the size of the vehicle and the lack of safety protection. If you’re involved in a bus accident, don’t try to take on the state alone. Call our office for a free consultation.