Bus Accident Injury Liability - Act of God?
Q. I was a passenger in a bus and the bus driver was turning around and talking to someone in the seat in back of him when a dog ran out into the street. The driver slammed on the brakes and I was thrown to the floor and broke my leg. The insurer for the city bus service says they are not responsible as it was an “Act of God”, it that true?
A. No, but claims people for government entities mislead people every day, so I’m not surprised. Under California law, a bus is considered a “common carrier” and the rules for common carriers are different than for other vehicles.
A common carrier has a duty of utmost care and vigilance toward their passengers. They are responsible for even the smallest negligence.. In this case, a driver looking around and talking to a passenger when he might have been more diligent about looking at the street ahead of him was negligent.
Almost always, the bus company will be responsible for your injuries.
First, however, you need to mind your P’s and Q’s. California law requires you to file a formal claim with the government agency that runs the bus within 180 days of the accident. After that, you have only a limited time to followup with a lawsuit if the claim is denied. (and if they don’t reject or accept your claim in 180 days its considered automatically denied.
This is the kind of case where you need an experienced accident attorney in your corner.
I’m Ed Smith a Sacramento personal injury attorney, and you can call me anytime at 916.921.6400 for free, friendly advice.