If you’re on a tour bus in California, accidents can happen. In fact, bus accidents are all too frequent in California.

In 2022, CA was among the top five states for bus accidents in the US, TruckInfo reports. Every bus crash has the potential to cause serious, life-changing, or even fatal injuries. But even minor crashes can still have significant consequences.

Touring the beautiful state of California should be relaxing. Mesmerizing. A trip of a lifetime. Not something to regret.

If you’re injured in a crash with a tour bus, the May Firm can help. Contact us now to discuss your legal options with a free case evaluation.

Tour Bus Accidents

A tour bus accident in CA is any road accident involving a tour bus.

Tour buses are buses which offer escorted trips and sightseeing tours around a specific area. They’re provided by tour bus companies. They may be part of a package vacation or trip, but not always.

In CA, common types of tour bus accidents are: 

  • Highway accidents 
  • Sideswipe crashes 
  • Rollovers 
  • Head-on or side-on collisions 
  • Engine fires 
  • Single-vehicle crashes

Causes of Tour Bus Accidents in California

Tour bus accidents, in Northern California and elsewhere in the state, occur for many reasons. Sometimes, an accident happens due to negligence or carelessness. And when someone’s negligence causes a bus crash, this may give rise to a compensation claim.

Common causes of California bus tour accidents include: 

  • Driver fatigue  
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol 
  • Reckless driving 
  • Hazardous road conditions 
  • Bus mechanical failure  
  • Lack of bus maintenance  
  • Speeding 
  • Other drivers

Impact of California Bus Tour Accidents

We can’t overstate the possible impact of a tour bus accident in California. The physical – and emotional – aftermath can be heartbreaking. Below are just some examples of the physical and emotional toll a crash has on victims and their loved ones.

Physical Consequences

The physical consequences of a bus crash can be grave. This is due to the sheer size and scale of the average tour bus.

Gavel and stethoscope on white table with legal textbooks in background.

In the short and long-term, crash victims may experience: 

  • Inability to perform daily activities  
  • Long-term absence from work  
  • Disability from head trauma, back, or neck injuries 
  • Inability to return to old employment 
  • Repeated medical appointments and testing 
  • Ongoing therapy for severe or life-changing injuries e.g. limb loss 
  • Chronic pain (such as complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS)  
  • Disfigurement and scarring  

While some injuries heal within a few days, others are lifelong.

Emotional Consequences

Following a bus crash, emotions run high. This is unsurprising. After all, your dream USA holiday has been shattered. Bus accidents in California can have emotional repercussions including: 

  • Stress 
  • Social withdrawal 
  • Anxiety  
  • Inability to concentrate 
  • Avoidance behavior e.g. being wary of buses, driving, or traffic  
  • Depression 
  • Grief (especially if you lose a loved one)  

In some cases, a California tour bus accident can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is a serious complication which requires medical support and counseling.

Who Is Liable After a California Bus Tour Accident?

In a bus accident claim, liability usually rests with (at least) one of the following parties: 

  • Tour bus company 
  • Bus driver 
  • Third party e.g. manufacturer, mechanic 

Let’s consider how California law determines who might be liable after your bus crash.

Tour Bus Company

Tour bus companies are considered “carriers of persons for reward” under California law. They must exercise high levels of skill and care towards drivers and passengers. If they fail to exercise this skill and care, they could be liable for resulting injuries.

Examples of tour bus company negligence include: 

  • Lack of driver training 
  • Failure to hire qualified drivers 
  • Improper or irregular vehicle maintenance 
  • Forcing drivers to work while fatigued  

Tour bus companies can be held liable for their drivers’ negligent actions. However, they can also be sued if they did something wrong which led to an accident.


If the driver acted neligently, then you may be able to sue the bus driver. This may also involve suing the bus company. Bus companies are responsible for their employees’ actions while they’re on shift.  

As the driver injured you during the scope of their employment, the driver and bus company may be liable.

Third Parties

Sometimes, third parties are responsible for the crash. For example, you might sue a parts manufacturer for a defective product. Or you could sue a bus mechanic for negligent workmanship. You might even sue the tour operator for failing to hire a reputable bus company. 

In other cases, another driver caused (or at least contributed to) the crash. This will mean suing the at-fault driver of the other vehicle involved.  

Knowing who to sue is not easy. However, our experienced bus accident lawyers will identify who could be responsible for your injuries.

Claiming Compensation After a Tour Bus Crash

Tour bus accidents in Southern California and elsewhere in our state are complex. Our attorneys can explain the claims process as it relates to your particular case. However, there are four basic steps involved in every tour bus crash claim: 

  • Gathering evidence 
  • Establishing causation 
  • Valuing losses 
  • Negotiating settlement 

Let’s explore these elements in more detail.

Gathering Evidence

Proving a tour bus accident in California means having evidence to support your claim. Evidence includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Medical records 
  • Photographs/videos of the crash site  
  • Witness statements 
  • Expert testimony 
  • Proof of losses e.g. lost earnings  
  • Accident reports e.g. from California Highway Patrol officers 

Our team will explain what evidence you need to support your particular case.

Establishing Causation

As with any personal injury claim, you must prove four things. 

  • Someone (or a company) owed you a duty of care. Put simply, this is a duty to exercise reasonable care and skill to keep you safe. 
  • The person or company breached this duty of care towards you. Examples include speeding, running a red light, or failing to maintain the vehicle properly.  
  • You were injured in a tour bus accident in California. Injuries include very minor injuries e.g. cuts and bruises. Any harm at all could mean you have a compensation claim.  
  • The other party’s negligence or carelessness is a direct cause of your injuries. Meaning, you are injured because they breached their duty of care towards you.  

Establishing causation is critical to any bus accident claim. You must show that there’s someone responsible for your injuries. Otherwise, there are no defendants to sue.

Valuing Losses

No amount of compensation makes up for what happened to you. Still, you may be entitled to damages after a tour bus crash. If you have a tour bus accident claim in California, you can claim damages such as: 

  • Pain and suffering  
  • Lost income 
  • Injury rehabilitation 
  • Medical bills 
  • Funeral/burial expenses (if a family member dies from their injuries)  

Every case is different. Our attorneys will provide an accurate valuation after considering your claim.

Negotiating Settlement

Settlement negotiations can be complex. Often, insurance companies will look for any excuse to reduce compensation, or avoid paying out at all. However, our experienced lawyers understand these tactics. We know how to build a compelling case and challenge the at-fault party’s position.  

If the insurance company makes a fair offer, your case can settle out of court. If there’s no offer – or no fair offer – we may recommend proceeding to trial. Your California bus tour accident lawyer can explain the process, if this is necessary.

Statute of Limitations for Bus Crash Claims

Tour bus accident claims are personal injury claims. This means that there’s a time limit for filing a lawsuit and claiming damages.  

Side collision between green tour bus and black car wreck during daytime.

In California, you normally only have two years from the bus crash date to file a claim. Different time limits may apply if for example, there’s a fatality, or a minor involved.  

What happens if you miss the filing deadline? You could lose your right to claim. This means you won’t get the compensation you may be entitled to.  

It’s always best to start your claim as soon as practical. This helps to preserve evidence and build the strongest possible case. Whether you have a tour bus accident in Northern California or elsewhere, contact us to learn more.

Why You Need a California Tour Bus Accident Lawyer

From gathering evidence to identifying who to sue, bus accident claims are complicated. But when you hire an attorney at the May Firm, here’s how we’ll help you: 

  • To us, clients are family. We will give your claim the attention and respect it deserves. And we will give you the support you deserve to get through this challenging time.  
  • Our team has a deep understanding of how to manage bus accident claims. We will handle the legal issues for you so you can focus on recovery.  
  • As experienced bus accident lawyers, we know what your case is worth. We will fight to recover your losses and secure a fair amount of damages. 
  • Evidence is critical in tour bus crash claims. Our team will carefully identify how the accident occurred and determine who is responsible. We will use our knowledge to pursue justice on your behalf.     

There’s no need to handle your California bus tour accident alone. Don’t let the process overwhelm you. Instead, take your first step towards recovery.  

Give yourself the best shot at the compensation you deserve. Reach out to the May Firm.  

Our tour bus crash lawyers will champion your case. We will stand by your side and answer any questions you have about the process. And we don’t charge anything unless we win your case.  

What does this mean for you? There’s no risk in contacting us, but you could have much to gain. Contact the May Firm and schedule your free case evaluation.  

Disclaimer: The content in this article is provided for general informational purposes only and may not represent the current law in the recipient’s jurisdiction. The article should not be interpreted as professional legal advice from The May Firm or the individual author, nor is the information intended to substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. The article, nor any of the information included, should not be used to act or refrain from acting without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s jurisdiction. Any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk.