Orange County Bus Accident Attorney
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
Orange County Bus Accident Attorney
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
- Georgia Cunradi
- D. Franklin Welch
- J. Weber
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Orange County Bus Accident Attorney
Riding the bus has its perks, such as being able to use commute time for reading and rest, and not having to maintain a vehicle or find space to park it. When the bus line you trust to get you safely where you need to go injures you instead, however, you may deserve compensation.
If you’re reading this, you may have been injured while riding the bus. You might still be dealing with pain and injury. You may have lost income due to missing work. You might now be struggling to pay medical bills in addition to regular bills. And, you are probably looking for someone to help you with a bus accident claim.
We are here to help. Our firm offers free legal consultations. Call our Orange County bus accident attorney today.
Don’t hesitate to contact us because you’re afraid you’ll need money upfront to get the answers you seek. Give us a call as soon as possible and schedule a free legal consultation.
We hope the information on this page will answer some of your bus accident claim questions. We’ll start by showing you common mistakes people make that damage their bus accident claims. After that, we’ll share a client story to help you get an even better picture of what to expect in a bus accident claim. Make sure you read to the end to learn as much as possible.
Currently, the U.S. Department of Transportation has banned bus drivers from texting or using handheld cell phones behind the wheel. The federal ban has been placed on all commercial motor vehicle drivers, which means that the law applies to almost every bus operator in the USA.
If and when the bus driver is at fault for a collision that causes injuries, the case and the law surrounding compensation for victims can get complicated.
This is because most buses are operated and owned by the government.
Defining blame and filing a claim can take longer and be harder to prove. Who exactly has deep pockets, and is ultimately responsible for the bus driver’s negligence?
Attorney Tim Ryan has helped over ten thousand of Huntington Beach injury victims since 1981. The first step he often takes is to file a claim or notice of claim as quickly as possible. Then, the focus becomes bus driver investigation:
- Were the bus drivers working while fatigued – is this the company policy, or the driver’s fault for not resting when he should have?
- Was the driver not adequately trained or properly screened for employment?
- Was the driver under the influence or high?
- Were the buses improperly loaded, or its equipment poorly maintained?
- Did the bus keep an irregular and dangerous itinerary that was unrealistic for the driver?
All of these factors (and more) come into play. If you need assistance with a bus accident claim for yourself or a family member, contact bus accident attorney Tim Ryan today for a free, honest evaluation of your circumstance.
Common Bus Accident Claim Mistakes
It’s unfortunate that there are many ways you can accidentally lower the value of your claim. Check out the mistakes listed below to learn how to avoid them in your own claim.
Refusing to Go to the Hospital After the Accident
A common reason people don’t go to the doctor right away after a bus accident is they don’t actually realize they’ve been injured.
The human body relies on the “fight or flight” response in traumatic situations to help ensure survival. Three effects of fight or flight are a decreased ability to register pain and enhanced strength and energy. Though temporary, these effects can last for up to 18 hours; far too long to wait to see a doctor if you’ve got internal injuries of which you’re unaware.
No matter how you feel after the accident, protect your health by getting checked by a medical professional.
An exam will also protect the value of your bus accident claim by generating a medical record of your injuries. The closer the date and time of the exam line up with the timeframe of the accident, the stronger your proof of when and how you were injured.
If you wait, the gap between accident and proof of injury is likely to be used by the insurance company to suggest you could have been injured days later in an entirely unrelated incident. If they succeed, your claim may get tossed out due to lack of evidence.
Don’t let the insurance company victimize you all over again. Document your injuries with a medical exam as quickly as you can after the accident.
Failing to Adhere to Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan
It’s common for people injured in accidents to forget about the treatment plan their doctor sends them home with after medical treatment. This is a mistake.
Your treatment plan is not an afterthought. It represents important guidelines you should follow to ensure you recover as quickly as possible.
The insurance company will be looking for ways to save money throughout the claims process. If you slack off on showing up for physical therapy appointments or repeatedly forget to take your medication and the insurance company finds out, they will capitalize on it and blame you if you have difficulty recovering.
This also applies to being caught doing activities you aren’t recovered enough to be doing.
Imagine, for example, the insurance company finds out you’ve been snowboarding with a broken toe after the accident. If you never recover all the feeling in that toe, the insurance company might suggest it’s because you engaged in a strenuous sport against doctors’ orders before you’d healed. If they succeed, they don’t have to compensate you as much for that toe injury, even if snowboarding had nothing to do with the loss of feeling.
Don’t throw your claim into question by failing to follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Take your medications, follow through with treatments, refrain from restricted activities, and get plenty of rest as you recover.
Giving the Insurance Provider Permission to Record Your Statement
When you’ve been injured in a bus accident, you can expect to get a call from the insurance company. They will likely say they are “checking in about your claim” or something else that makes it sound as of this is a routine and helpful part of the claims process.
The insurance company is telling you the truth — sort of.
Their call is routine, yes— it’s a routine tactic to gather information in hopes of devaluing your claim. They are not calling to benefit you by processing your claim faster.
The only entity who benefits from you speaking to the insurance company is the insurance company.
Many people make the mistake of assuming they must speak to the insurance company in order to keep their claim from being denied. They don’t. You are within your rights to refuse to have this conversation without your lawyer present.
Handing this task over to your Orange County bus accident attorney is a great decision.
Trying to Handle Your Claim without a Lawyer
If you’re waiting to look for an attorney because you want to see if you can handle your own claim and save money, you need to know that most people who bring a claim without the help of a lawyer are awarded far less than those with lawyers.
A lawyer has the skills to assess your damages accurately and ensure you don’t short-change yourself when asking for compensation.
A lawyer will have the objectivity to know when an offer is worth considering or if it’s so low it needs to be rejected.
A lawyer will be able to sidestep insurance company shenanigans without damaging the value of your claim.
And finally, a lawyer will have the legal “horsepower” to drag the insurance company into court if they refuse to offer a fair settlement for your damages.
Waiting Too Long to Hire an Orange County Bus Accident Attorney
Many people make the mistake of thinking they can use the California statute of limitations as their deadline for filing their claim. This is a mistake.
No matter how long you have to file a claim, remember that evidence waits for no one. The longer you wait to get started, the less evidence there will be. It may get lost. Something important may be accidentally left at the scene and thrown out. Witnesses may change contact information, making them impossible to find.
Even if you are able to reach your witnesses after several months or more, consider that memories of important details are likely to fade with the passage of time.
The sooner you hire an attorney, the more evidence that person is likely to find and the stronger your claim will be.
Not only will finding a lawyer quickly help you get a jump on evidence gathering, it will help ensure you don’t grab just any lawyer without regard to what kind of attorney you are hiring.
Hiring the Wrong Orange County Bus Accident Attorney
Once you decide to hire a lawyer, it’s important to take the time to hire the most qualified person to help you with your claim. Many people make the mistake of believing that all lawyers are the same. This kind of thinking can ruin your claim.
Just like doctors, most lawyers specialize in specific areas within their larger field. You wouldn’t hire a respiratory specialist when you need spine surgery. Don’t turn to your brother-in-law’s tax attorney to bring you results in your bus accident claim.
The person you hand your bus accident claim to should be a personal injury trial lawyer with a successful track record handling bus accident claims. Your case may not make it to trial, but if the insurance company refuses to settle, you’ll need someone who can win in front of a jury.
Orange County Bus Accident Client Story
The story we share below is meant to give you more information about what to expect in your bus accident claim. We’ve edited the names and specifics to protect the privacy of our client, but the value of the content remains. Please read to the end to learn as much as possible, then give us a call to discuss your specific claim.
Late morning on a Saturday not so long ago, Jemma Baroyan brushed out her thick, glossy, ebony hair and put the final touches on her makeup.
“You must really like this guy,” said her roommate René. “I can’t recall the last time I saw you wear makeup on a Saturday,” she teased.
“I do like him. He’s sweet. And a good listener,” Jemma gushed.
“Don’t forget cute. He does know you’re a middle school teacher?” René asked with a smirk, ducking the pillow Jemma hurtled at her head.
“He does. You forget, he’s an instructional coordinator for an online K-12 school. Who better to understand him than me?” Jemma said with mock superiority.
“For all your intellectual acumen, did you say he’s meeting you at a bar? It’s lunchtime, Jem,” René pointed out, rolling her eyes.
“No, Ren, the place we went on our first date is called, ‘Met Her at a Bar,’” Jemma laughed. “They have the best waffles on the face of the planet.”
“Well, that’s a relief,” René sighed. “Bring me home waffles!”
“Yeah, RIGHT,” Jemma laughed, as she bounded out the door and headed for the metro bus stop. Maybe Ben has a brother I can set you up with.
Twenty minutes and two busses later, Jemma breezed into the restaurant to find Max waiting behind a stunning bouquet of Asian lilies. She was speechless. Max began to worry.
“Your favorites, right?” He asked nervously.
“Yes! Yes, oh they’re gorgeous, thank you,” she answered as he stood and handed them to her. He’d managed to snag the table they’d had on their first date. They sat back down and spent the next 90 minutes laughing over waffles.
“How can you put mushrooms and avocado on a waffle?” Max asked in mock disgust. “How is that not antithetical to the essence of the waffle?”
“So, I should follow your lead and eat my waffle with fried chicken?” She laughed. And so it went, until they left the restaurant and walked west, over to the Huntington Beach Art Center.
It was after 4:30 p.m. when Max walked Jemma to the bus stop. He sat with her until her bus arrived before walking home to his apartment on Pecan Ave.
As the bus rolled up, Jemma agreed to dinner the next night.
“I’ll pick you up,” he promised. “My roommate’s coming back tonight with the car.”
Jemma hopped on the bus and waved through the window as it rolled away.
The bus seats were almost full with evening passengers. Jemma stood in the center aisle and held onto a vertical rail as the bus rolled north on Main. She was happy to give up her seat in case anyone else needed it more as the bus picked up passengers on its way back.
The bus was approaching Yorktown Ave. when Jemma got a text from René asking how it went. She’d typed half a response when the bus driver failed to slow down and slammed into the Land Cruiser stopped in front of it at the light.
Jemma was thrown head-first down the center aisle, striking her head against one of the metal rails. She woke up in the hospital with her neck in a brace. René was beside her, and gently explained that Jemma had a cervical fracture; she’d broken her neck.
Jemma was terrified to realize she was unable to move. René calmed her as best she could, while hitting the nurse call button on the bed rail. She explained that the neck brace was meant to keep Jemma’s head still while she healed. The doctors were hopeful feeling would return below Jemma’s neck as the swelling subsided. It was, of course, too soon for guarantees, but they were hopeful.
The next morning a physiatrist named Dr. Hahn met with Jemma, explaining that she is a medical doctor specializing in physical medicine with a holistic approach to rehabilitation and pain management.
The doctor told Jemma she’d be in the hospital for at least two weeks. Hopefully, when feeling and motility returned below the fracture, she’d be moved to a rehabilitation facility to begin physical therapy. Either way, she’d most likely be in a stiff neck brace for at least eight weeks.
It was a lot to process. Max arrived just after noon to find Jemma staring at the ceiling, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Jemma knew she was lucky it wasn’t worse, but she was still scared. There were no guarantees. Max visited her every day, staying until the nurses kicked him out.
On Monday evening, Jemma’s parents arrived from New Jersey. Her big sister, Ohanna, flew in from Nashville early Tuesday morning.
Over the next two weeks, Jemma was greatly relieved to regain feeling below the break. With return of sensation, however, came the challenge of pain management.
Jemma was determined to do everything possible to assist in her recovery. She was terrified of becoming addicted to the narcotic pain medication the doctor prescribed, and said she’d try to “tough it out.”
Dr. Hahn emphasized however, that Jemma’s treatment plan did not include suffering in pain. She explained that going without pain medication was likely to cause her muscles to tense up and thus be counter-productive to healing.
“It will only be for four weeks, at most, Jemma. I promise we will work with you all the way through to back you off the medication as soon as possible.”
Jemma was moved to a rehabilitation facility three weeks after the accident. After she was settled in, she and Ohanna managed to persuade their parents it was okay to return home. Ohanna would stay at Jemma’s apartment and be there to support her sister until she was released from the rehab and beyond, if necessary.
It was during that first week in rehab that Ohanna recommended Jemma contact Timothy J. Ryan & Associates for a claim.
How much does it cost to hire a Orange County bus accident attorney?
Attorney Timothy Ryan met with Jemma and Ohanna at the facility the next day. The resemblance between the sisters was undeniable, but Jemma’s quiet, introverted personality was a stark contrast to Ohanna’s extroverted enthusiasm.
Though it had been Ohanna’s suggestion to hire an attorney, she was understandably protective of her vulnerable baby sister.
“Before we begin, we need to know what it costs to hire your firm,” Ohanna said with a bright, direct smile.
Attorney Ryan answered that there would be no upfront cost. “Our firm works on a contingency-fee model. We cover all case expenses from start to finish, including research, investigation, and administration. We’ll build your claim as if it’s going all the way to the courtroom, just in case that should become necessary. If it does, we’ll also cover litigation expenses.
“In the end, we only get paid when we bring your claim to a successful resolution, Jemma.”
“Okay, then I guess you can stay,” Ohanna replied matter-of-factly.
“Hanna, be nice,” Jemma said, rolling her eyes.
“It’s entirely okay, Jemma. It’s a reasonable question that we get all the time,” said Ryan.
What is my bus accident claim worth?
“What is a claim like mine worth?” Jemma asked.
To this, Ryan replied that it’s not possible to pull a claim’s value out of thin air.
“To give you an estimate that means anything, we need to do a detailed accident investigation and we need to be crystal clear on your damages.
“We can begin the investigation right away. But your damages won’t be clear until you reach ‘maximum medical improvement.’ That’s a fancy term for ‘recovering back to the level of health you enjoyed before the accident.’
“If you can no longer reach that level of health, then maximum medical improvement is going to be when you’ve recovered as much as you are capable of, given your injuries.
“For us to determine you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, you’ve got to be finished with surgeries. Your doctors will also have to have a comprehensive understanding of what the future medical care of your injuries will involve, if anything.
“When you get to this point, Jemma, we’ll know your damages and the value of your claim.”
“How can I help?” Jemma asked, eager to move things along.
“Keep doing what you’re doing, Jemma. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan, do all your therapies and treatments, take your medications, and rest.
“I know it’s frustrating to feel like you’ve been sidelined, but your only job right now is an extremely important one. Put your energy into your recovery. This means going as slow as your body needs to go to recover properly.”
“Especially with a spine injury,” said Ohanna.
“Especially with a spine injury,” echoed Ryan.
How long will my claim take?
Jemma sighed. “Okay, okay, I get it. No heroics. You have my word; I will not overdo it. So, how long will my case take?”
Ryan answered, “The timeline of your case is going to be determined first by how long it takes you to reach maximum medical improvement. When you get there, we’ll know your economic and non-economic damages and we’ll send the insurance company our demand letter.
“Incidentally, you were smart to contact us as soon as you did, Jemma. In the state of California, the statute of limitations for filing a claim involving a municipality like the transit system is six months, not the two years usually allowed for personal injury. Many people don’t realize how much the timeline shortens up when the government or a related entity is involved.
“Of course, it’s best to get started quickly anyway, to ensure we can get quality witness testimony and gather as much evidence as possible.”
“Yes, my brilliant sister reminded me of that several times until I surrendered and begged her to call you,” Jemma laughed.
“She’s definitely looking out for you,” agreed Ryan. “Once we send your demand letter to the insurance company, your claim timeline will be determined by whether or not they respond reasonably.”
“If they are open to a fair settlement, we’ll be free to wrap up your claim. If, however, they refuse to agree to compensate you reasonably, we’ll take them to court.
“A trial can extend the timeline, but please try not to let this worry you,” said Ryan. “Our firm has a long and successful track record resolving bus accident claims, both via settlement and at trial. The transit authority knows who we are. They may even consider the wisdom of a settlement to avoid a trial.
“Nothing is for certain, but either way, we will be ready to fight for your right to compensation. That’s why I strongly suggest you hire a personal injury trial attorney with a history of success in bus accident claims.”
Jemma was satisfied with the answers we gave her to her questions. She retained our firm, and today we can happily say we got her over six times the amount initially offered by the insurance company.
Call Our Orange County Bus Accident Attorney Today
We hope you’ve found answers to some of your bus accident claim questions. Keeping in mind that no two cases are the same, we urge you to give our Orange County bus accident attorney a call as soon as possible to schedule your free legal consultation. Your claim is too important to hand over to just anyone. Call us today and let us fight for your right to compensation.
Tim Ryan took my small personal injury case and turned it into a “win” for me. I appreciate his time, patience, and professional expertise in resolving this neighborhood dog injury issue for me. I feel safer because of Tim Ryan. Thank you!