Weeks after a City Sightseeing tour bus crashed in downtown San Francisco, officials are seeking to change the way the tour bus industry operates. On November 13 a bus driver lost control of the bus and it went careening down Post Street before slamming into a construction site at Union Square. Twenty people were injured in the accident, six of them critically. After the accident, the tour bus company was found to have failed to follow state safety laws.
The proposed Senate Bill would end the practice of “ghost buses”, which are tour buses that are being operated in California but have not been inspected by the California Highway Patrol. Many of these buses are brought in from other states but are not inspected. SB812 would also implement surprise inspections – 25 percent of all inspections under the proposed law would be unannounced. The current law provides bus operators with warnings before the California Highway Patrol examines the fleet.
The bill would also raise the costs of bus inspections from $15. Currently, it costs California between $300 and $400 to do an inspection, and the taxpayers are footing the bulk of the inspection costs rather than the tour company. Under the bill, if an inspection result was bad, that would trigger even more inspections.
Tightening the rules on bus operators will be a benefit for riders. Under the law, bus operators have a duty to exercise a high degree of care to protect their passengers. In spite of those strict laws, there are many accidents involving buses. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, every year between 1988 and 2008, there have been at least 11,000 bus accidents with injuries. These accidents produced between 21,000 and 43,000 injuries each year. Most of those accidents with fatalities involved school buses, with transit buses a close second. Many of these accidents are caused by driver error, the bus company behaving negligently, or a faulty bus.
When someone is injured in a San Francisco bus accident, the case can be more complicated than a typical passenger motor vehicle accident. There are normally several different entities involved, depending on who owns the bus, maintains the bus, and employs the driver. There are also typically several insurance companies involved. These entities will all have a team of lawyers on their side who will try to pay out as little compensation to the accident victims as possible. These insurance companies are in business to make money, not to give you the compensation you deserve. You may worry that your attorney will take the bulk of your award, but in fact studies have shown that accident victims who hire an attorney receive, on average, more than accident victims who do not hire an attorney, even after the attorney’s fees are deducted.
If you are injured in a bus accident, you have the right to compensation for all of your damages, including your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, property damage, and more. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty and Seth I. Rosenberg believe that anyone who is injured in a bus accident should speak with an attorney about obtaining compensation for his or her damages, rather than trying to settle the case alone.
Call the San Francisco personal injury attorneys at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000 if you have been injured in an accident involving a bus in the Bay Area. We work hard on behalf of our clients to assure that they get the compensation they deserve. Call today to learn more or to schedule your free consultation. We do not charge you any fees unless we obtain a consultation for you.