California residents can imagine how serious bus accidents can be. Buses carry large numbers of people and usually lack seat belts or airbags, and their large size can also contribute to severe injuries to occupants of other vehicles. Bus accidents can form the basis for a lawsuit, though the laws around this are unique.
The reason is that most buses are owned by a government entity, and these entities may enjoy sovereign immunity, at least to a certain extent. The procedural requirements will be stricter if a lawsuit is allowed. Everything starts with the victim filing a notice of claim within this state’s two-year statute of limitations. This statement of the victim’s intention to sue must be in writing and, in many cases, must include detailed information about the accident and injuries.
The victim must be clear on who the owner of the bus company was. Naturally, if the bus was privately owned, then the victim would file a personal injury claim and follow all the rules that concern the proving of negligence. In claims against government entities, there can sometimes be a cap set on the amount that the victim may receive in non-economic damages. These are damages that are hard to quantify and, thus, put a monetary value on, such as pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
Any victims of bus accidents could do well to see a lawyer before anything else as the laws can be complicated. A lawyer may evaluate the case and determine how much victims might be eligible for in compensation. If retained, the lawyer may go on to negotiate on victims’ behalf for a fair settlement, and if one cannot be achieved, then victims may decide to litigate.