California residents who are injured in bus accidents may wonder who should be held responsible. Since a bus is an example of a vehicle known as a common carrier, it is held to a high standard of responsibility for its passengers. Any vehicle that is supposed to transfer people or goods for money is a common carrier. Tour buses, school buses and commercial buses are all designated as common carriers.
Following an accident in which the bus driver is at fault, several different people or entities might be held responsible. In addition to the driver, it might be both the driver and the company that owns the vehicle. If the bus is a tour bus, the tour company might be responsible. The property on which the accident occurred might even bear some responsibility depending on the nature of the accident.
In a lawsuit involving a bus accident, a civil court will determine whether negligence was involved. A bus company is not responsible for every accident that happens, but if the driver behaved in a way that was not reasonable, the company could be.
For example, a driver or company might be considered negligent if the driver falls asleep at the wheel, the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or the vehicle is not maintained to safety standards. Passengers have reasonable expectations that a driver will be unimpaired and that a bus is maintained properly. Individuals who are seriously injured in a bus crash in circumstances such as these may wish to discuss a lawsuit with an attorney. Compensation from such a lawsuit might cover medical expenses, and a bus company might also agree to settle the suit out of court.