If you were injured in a tour bus accident, the experienced Long Beach tour bus accident lawyers at Madison Law Group can help you pursue the financial compensation you deserve. We offer free initial consultations, so call us today.
Over 3,000 transportation companies operate tour buses throughout the United States. These coaches transport passengers across the country. Ensuring the safety of all passengers is the main responsibility of the bus company and the driver at the wheel. When you travel by bus, you are trusting your safety to a stranger. When a motor coach company breaks that trust, they could be held liable for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Similar to city buses, tour buses are considered by law to be common carriers, so they are legally obligated to exhibit the highest possible degree of care in order to ensure the well-being and safety of their passengers. Unfortunately, serious accidents can and do happen, usually resulting in multiple severe injuries or even fatalities due to their immense size and the number of people on board.
Just like any other commercial driving business, motor coach companies are supposed to fully vet their drivers, ensure their vehicles are in proper working order, and obey all federal, state, and local laws, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours of service regulations. Sadly, it is not uncommon for companies to prioritize their profit margins over their passengers’ safety. When they do this, a lot of people are put at risk of becoming seriously injured.
Long Beach Tour Buses
Long Beach is a popular destination among California tourists. In fact, numerous public transportation businesses operate in and around the area. Tour buses present very unique dangers due to their restricted maneuverability and enormous size.
Although these massive coaches are actually one of the safest forms of public transport, the results are catastrophic when something goes awry. Mass casualties are unfortunately sometimes the outcome when a tour bus company commits safety violations.
Why Do I Need A Long Beach Tour Bus Injury Lawyer?
If you have been injured in a tour bus accident, you will fare far better with an attorney representing you than without one. The experienced team of California motor vehicle accident lawyers at Madison Law Group offers free case reviews and can answer any questions you may have about settlement procedures, insurance claims, and other aspects of the legal process. Since this consultation is free of charge, there is no reason not to schedule your appointment and get answers to your most pressing legal questions.
Victims injured in tour bus accidents often sustain life-altering injuries, such as multiple bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, severe burn injuries, brain damage, internal organ damage, and the loss of or use of one or more limbs. These injuries create extensive and often ongoing medical bills that can be overwhelming to try to pay, especially when you have had to miss work to recover. A lawyer can help you get compensation for everything you’ve lost as well as your pain and suffering.
Our qualified tour bus accident lawyers have the training necessary to secure favorable outcomes for people who have been injured on a bus in Long Beach. Instead of waiting until you are buried under a mountain of medical expenses and other damages, talk to an attorney at our Long Beach office today. We can help you bring a lawsuit against the travel agency, cruise line, or tour bus company for your personal injury or the death of a loved one. We can also:
- Investigate all potentially liable parties
- Craft a compelling case and file it before your statute of limitations expires
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to settle the case
- Negotiate with a third party, such as a parts manufacturer, should one be involved to help increase your total settlement amount
- Go to trial if settlement efforts do not result in a satisfactory offer
Tour bus accident cases usually are filed when a bus company, bus operator, or other involved party is negligent, and that negligence leads to an injury. California law states that the burden of the preponderance of the evidence is placed on the plaintiff or their surviving relatives to prove that negligence existed. If they are successful in doing so, the self-insured private tour bus company or the insurance company will have to cover the victim’s losses.
Our Long Beach personal injury attorneys have decades of experience investigating tour bus accidents and have the appropriate knowledge, resources, expert witnesses, and investigators in our network to build a solid case for you. We also know how to obtain and interpret the bus company’s GPS reports and black box data.
What Are the Different Types of Tour Buses?
While to most people, a bus is a bus, there are actually two primary kinds of tour buses:
- Band tour buses
- Charter tour buses
These buses vary in both how they are insured and their minimum coverage amounts. However, they both offer premium features as well as cutting-edge amenities and technologies. The type of bus and who the bus was transporting will be relevant to any legal proceedings that may occur after a tour bus accident.
What is a Band Tour Bus?
Band tour motorcoaches, also called “night liners,” “entertainers,” or “sleepers,” are created with performers, musicians, artists, and other exclusive clientele in mind. These motor coaches often transport famous musicians and bands, politicians, comedians, and other types of performing artists, along with their entourages over extremely long distances, usually traveling several hundred miles in between stops.
Throughout the country, and in California especially, musicians, entertainers, dancers, rock stars, and even elected officials travel in night liners.
Many of these motor coaches are not used commercially and have been registered as private motorhomes with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. As high-profile as the passengers on these buses usually are, personal injury attorneys often encounter issues surrounding insurance coverage that does not meet state minimums for these vehicles.
What is a Charter Bus?
A charter bus is a vehicle that transports large groups to and from big events such as conferences, sporting events, weddings, school field trips, and more. In addition to these, charter buses also host the following:
- Hop on/Hop Off trips
- Celebrity Tours
Popular Charter Bus Expeditions In and Around California
When people talk about a sightseeing tour, they are often referring to double-decker, open-topped, intercity buses, which are a common sight in and around Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Monica, and many other parts of California as well. These buses are designed to travel to and from both short and long-distance destinations. The most common charter tour bus expeditions in the California area are:
- Celebrity Tours
- Las Vegas and Indian Casino Tours
Even though these tour bus companies are legally required to carry millions of dollars in insurance coverage, it is not uncommon for them to operate unlawfully.
One of the best ways to avoid being involved in a tour bus accident entirely is to do your due diligence on the standing of any privately-held transportation company prior to scheduling your trip or tour.
Celebrity tours are a form of hop-on/hop-off bus service such as the double-decker Malibu Stars Homes Tour bus. Many people visiting California take these and other hop-on/hop-off style tours in and around Santa Monica, Long Beach, Hollywood, Anaheim, and Beverly Hills.
Issues With Double Decker Tour Buses
Double-decker bus drivers often neglect to provide proper upper-deck warnings. However, no statutory requirement exists that regulates the operation of the buses’ routes or the handling of an injury claim.
According to the state’s civil negligence laws, the operator of the tour is responsible for specifying all safety protocols and standard procedures. Since they are held to a greater standard of care, they need to act with the utmost diligence. When they don’t and an accident occurs, they can be held responsible in the form of a personal injury lawsuit.
As popular as a tourist destination as Las Vegas is today, it can be easy to forget that visiting there requires a considerable amount of planning and effort. As a result, many casinos originally set up chartered gambling tours, which have since evolved into the everyday casino tour.
Our experienced Long Beach tour bus accident attorneys have experience in dealing with all kinds of serious tour bus accidents, including those involving partnerships between private charter tour bus companies and gambling casinos.
It is common practice for Las Vegas casinos to pay a commission to common carriers to round up groups for casino tours. Many California and Nevada based casinos pay common carriers out of their gambling profits.
Casinos and Vicarious Liability
Along with the tour provider and bus driver, the gaming facility could also face liability for damages that occur on a casino tour bus. In bus accidents involving casino tours, the casino itself can be held liable as a joint venturer, co-venturer, common carrier, or partner of the tour bus company that is chartered. Federal laws will also come into play. Working with an attorney from Madison Law Group will help you get justice and the financial compensation to which you are entitled according to California personal injury laws.
Special Duty of Care
All common carriers owe a special duty of care to their paying clients. A tour bus business is usually part of a much larger travel company. Federal law and Section 2100 of the California Civil Code both state that any company that provides transportation in exchange for money or other benefits is a common carrier for hire.
All casinos or co-venturers are required to perform routine carrier inspections and hire responsible workers. If you were injured in a tour bus accident, you and your family deserve to have skilled legal representation. Give our Long Beach bus accident lawyers a call today to schedule your free and confidential case review.
What Are Some Common Causes of California Tour Bus Accidents?
Tour bus accidents caused by negligent bus operators are not that uncommon in the United States. There are many factors that contribute to these accidents, including:
Inherent Design Issues
One frequent cause of these catastrophic collisions is the fact that tour buses are just inherently less safe than other vehicles. Some reasons for this include:
- Long braking distances: The distance required for a standard passenger vehicle to come to a full and complete stop once the brakes have been applied is determined by several factors, like the speed at which the vehicle was traveling, road conditions, the condition of the vehicle’s brakes, the vehicle’s weight, and how hard the brakes were depressed. The bigger and heavier a motor vehicle is, the longer the braking process is going to take and the rate at which the brakes are applied will have a huge effect on the vehicle’s ability to stop safely.
- Higher centers of gravity: When a tour bus attempts to make an emergency maneuver in order to avoid a collision, its bigger profile makes it more prone to tipping or rolling over, especially when traveling along a bend or sharp curve in the roadway.
- Larger blind spots: All vehicles, including motor coaches, have blind spots. A blind spot is an area, usually around the vehicle’s perimeter, in which the driver’s side and rear view are obstructed. To adequately check a blind spot, rather than looking back over their shoulder, the driver has to look behind himself. Tour buses have extremely wide blind spots located on each of their four sides. This puts other vehicles at a greater risk of being hit by a tour bus that is trying to merge or change lanes.
Tour Bus Company Negligence
Some forms of negligence that we often see among tour bus companies include:
- Improper loading: Tour buses, like other oversized vehicles, have a high center of gravity. This makes them more likely to tip or roll when taking a sharp turn or during an unexpected event. The lack of balance between luggage and passengers inside the bus is a leading cause of this type of accident.
- Inexperienced or poorly trained drivers: In order to lawfully operate a large commercial vehicle, you have to have a commercial driver’s license. Employers, such as travel companies and freight companies, are responsible for properly vetting, hiring, training, and monitoring their new drivers.
- Insufficient maintenance: Travel companies that offer tour bus services to the general public for a price are required to, according to federal law, make sure that their fleet is regularly inspected and serviced. Insufficient or no inspections and deficient maintenance practices could easily lead to mechanical failure, which could lead to a serious accident.
- Overloading: Overloading or overcrowding not only makes patrons physically uncomfortable, but it also causes a weight imbalance, increases the odds of a trip and fall or slip and fall accident, and could make it hard for patrons to access emergency exits in the event of an accident.
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving is the main contributing factor in the majority of traffic collisions regardless of the types of vehicles involved. Tour bus operators are prone to the very same distractions, vehicle systems, and controls as other motorists. In addition to this, tour bus drivers have to deal with passengers who are chatty, rowdy, or even unstable while still maintaining control of the bus.
- Fatigued driving: Fatigue is extreme physical or mental exhaustion that can impact a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Sadly, tour companies often force their drivers to cover several hundred miles in a single day or take late-night runs when they should be resting.
- Inclement weather: Tour buses that frequent tourist destinations are no strangers to dealing with unfavorable weather conditions such as fog, rain, and snow. Although human error is certainly not the cause of inclement weather, reduced visibility and slippery road surfaces can pave the way for mistakes such as driving too fast for current conditions and following too closely.
Manufacturer Defects and Recall Issues
An often overlooked issue with tour buses is manufacturing problems that could potentially result in severe injury and wrongful deaths. Some past notable tour bus defects include:
- Wheelchair Lifts: The hydraulically powered wheelchair lifts on tour buses were failing during use, causing injuries to passengers.
- Hazardous Lights: Many tour buses had headlights that had the wrong light output, causing them to be too dim or too bright. According to the National Highway Transit Safety Administration, “Excessively bright or dim headlights may reduce visibility, increasing the risk of a crash.”
Other major recall issues on tour buses include faulty seat welds and malfunctioning escape hatches. In 2016, motorcoach recalls involved 2,351 defects that could impact the driver’s control of the vehicle, 1,617 defects that were potential fire risks, and 653 defects that could cause a loss of power and sudden engine shutdowns.
Other defects presented a heightened risk of injuries should the bus suddenly brake or be involved in a crash. 63 of these defects involved window hardware and 1,149 involved seating.
Common Kinds of Tour Bus Accidents
There are many ways an accident can happen involving a tour bus. Whether the accident involves another vehicle on the road, or something inside the bus with a passenger, there are many risks associated with these massive vehicles. Here are a few of the most common we have seen at our California law firm:
- Casino tour accidents
- Celebrity tour accidents
- Sightseeing tour accidents
- Sporting or adventure tour bus accidents
- Private tour accidents
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- School crosswalk accidents
- Equipment malfunctions
- Unsafe or unlawful passing accidents
- Slip and fall/Trip and fall accidents
Accidents Unique to Tour Buses
Passengers on tour buses depend on the bus operator to keep them safe. In the meantime, they are furnished with soft, padded seats that fully recline. Passengers are able to rest their feet on a footrest and rest their arms on quilted armrests. Alcohol is often served on tour buses also. In addition to all of this, tour buses typically have TVs installed throughout as well as onboard bathroom facilities.
So, what happens when a tour bus is driving along the interstate at 80 miles per hour and has to stop suddenly?
At interstate speeds, the deceleration force could throw a passenger into an overhead luggage frame or through the windscreen to their death. A child could easily be killed if they are struck by heavy luggage or another passenger being tossed around in the seating area.
The situation does not improve for senior citizens or disabled veterans who are outside of the tour bus, either. The kneeling suspension on the wheelchair ramp or lift could fail, hurling the infirm or elderly person onto the floor, resulting in a head wound, a traumatic brain injury, or even death.
Drivers may also get their views obstructed by curtains, blinds, or tinted windows, or they could become distracted by their passengers.
These are just a few scenarios that make tour bus accidents a terrible risk that must be considered.
Can I File A Wrongful Death Suit if My Family Member Was Killed on a Tour Bus?
Financial compensation from the at-fault party for the death of a family member can be sought through a wrongful death lawsuit. The damages paid out in the lawsuit are meant to cover any economic damages and non-economic damages associated with the loss of your loved one.
In order to collect compensation, you will have to file your claim with the applicable civil court and then prove your case. It is a good idea to work with a reputable law firm that can help you compile all the evidence you need and put together a strong case.
Only certain family members are entitled to bring a suit of wrongful death in the state of California. The victim is clearly unable to bring their own claim, but someone should still file it if that person died as a result of some other party’s negligence. In light of this, the court system has set forth exactly who has the right to file a wrongful death claim in civil court.
In California, surviving relatives, such as a child, domestic partner, or spouse, are given two years from the day the death occurred to file a claim. In some cases, a parent of an adult child would also be able to pursue a wrongful death case but only if they were financially dependent on the deceased. If the victim has no surviving relatives, then only the person deemed entitled to the estate through the laws of intestate succession would be able to file.
How is Liability for a Tour Bus Accident Established?
Due to the various ways in which tour bus accidents can take place, the question of who is liable for your injuries and other losses will depend on the facts of your accident. It is not uncommon for multiple parties to be liable for a Long Beach tour bus accident.
To show that another person was responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, you will have to prove that the elements of negligence were present. This means proving that:
- The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care. The standard of care in this situation is one that a reasonable chauffeur would use in the same or a similar situation in order to avoid causing injuries.
- The at-fault driver violated that duty of care. The violation indicates that the conduct of the at-fault driver failed to meet the acceptable standard of care.
- Their violation caused your accident, which resulted in your injuries and subsequent medical bills and other damages.
If you were injured in a tour bus accident and would like to speak with a qualified professional about who may be liable for your damages, call the Long Beach personal injury offices of the Madison Law Group as soon as possible.
Who Is Liable For My Tour Bus Accident?
According to California’s pure comparative negligence law, a tour bus accident victim might be able to secure recovery from more than one defendant. In fact, several potential defendants could arise from a tour bus accident claim, such as:
- Other tour bus passengers
- Bicyclists and pedestrians
- Other drivers
- The bus manufacturer or a bus part manufacturer
- The mechanic or garage that serviced the tour bus
- The tour bus operator
- The bus company
Ultimately, the bus operator is responsible for the safety and well-being of their passengers. A tour bus company can be held liable for improper or insufficient operator training or if the owner fails to uphold safety protocols that are designed to keep everyone safe.
Tour bus companies are required to ensure that their vehicles are properly maintained and in good working order and that their staff has been thoroughly vetted and trained.
What Duty of Care is Expected of a Tour Bus Operator?
Obviously, a negligent bus operator can cause a serious or fatal accident. But there are ways to make sure that the tour bus company is using the best qualified bus operators. To minimize risk, tour bus companies are obligated to ensure that their drivers:
- Have a valid commercial driver’s license
- Have proper training in operating a tour bus
- Adhere to all federal regulations including the hours of service rules
- Submit to random drug and alchohol tests
Duty of Agency When Hiring a Tour Bus Driver
Running a thorough driving history and criminal background check on any prospective employee is a vital and mandatory part of the hiring processes of both government and private agencies. In addition to these background checks, the prospective driver must also pass the Bus Operator Candidate Assessment Test as well as various other practical and written exams.
The government is expected to maintain its routes and its fleets in a safe manner. A tour bus and a school bus will have different priorities and obligations, but neither one should ever permit a fatigued, inexperienced, or otherwise unqualified driver behind the wheel. If a public school bus in Long Beach were to cause a wreck with injuries, the city of Long Beach would likely be held accountable for the resulting damages.
In order to see a successful resolution to your Long Beach tour bus accident, you need to work with a Long Beach tour bus accident attorney in order to collect all relevant evidence and prove you are entitled to financial compensation.
Common Tour Bus Accident Injuries
In one recent year, more than 14,000 victims were injured during tour bus accidents, and over 250 were killed. Tour bus accidents often leave victims with permanent injuries, disfigurements, and mental impairments that sadly require continuing medical treatments, physical rehabilitation, and lifelong care. Some of the more serious but common injuries caused by tour bus accidents include:
- Wrongful deaths – about 35% of these wrongful deaths involved transit buses, 40% involved school buses, and 13% involved motor coaches and tour buses
- Severe burn injuries, often arising from fires that occur during wrecks
- Broken bone
- Head trauma and traumatic brain injuries
The expense of treating injuries for multiple bus passengers can easily reach into the millions, contributing to the enormous financial burden of a serious tour bus accident. This is the main reason why it is so important to pursue compensation through the legal system if you have been injured in a tour bus-involved accident.
What Forms of Damages Can I Recover?
If you recover damages, it means you obtain financial compensation for the expenses and emotional effects of your tour bus injury.
Every case is different, but some examples of the types of damages that you may be eligible for are:
- Medical expenses, which may include ambulance or other emergency transportation services, doctor’s appointments, diagnostic testing, surgical services, physical therapy, prescription medicine, assistive medical appliances such as crutches and wheelchairs, and physical therapy
- Lost earnings, including lost current and future income, as well as lost or reduced earning capacity
- Damage to personal property
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Decreased quality of life
Were You Seriously Injured in a Long Beach Tour Bus Accident?
We encourage anyone who was injured in an accident involving a tour bus to speak to an experienced Long Beach tour bus accident lawyer from Madison Law Group as soon as possible.
Our objective is to help our injured clients and their families obtain a full settlement award or maximum jury verdict for their tour bus accident cases. We work hard to ensure that every client recovers fair financial compensation for their lost wages, medical costs, and other damages related to their tour bus accident. Madison Law Group is prepared to advocate for your rights. You can contact our law offices by calling (213) 652-6534 or by filling out the contact form on our website to schedule a free evaluation of your case with a reputable Long Beach personal injury attorney today.
We represent the victims of Long Beach, CA personal injury accidents, as well as Westwood, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and all surrounding cities as well. Let us handle your legal stress while you focus on recovery.