Texas Bus Accident Lawyers

Have You Been Seriously Injured in a Bus Accident in Texas?

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If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bus accident, the Texas bus accident lawyers at Thompson Law are here to help. Our experienced team of bus wreck lawyers understands the complex nature of these cases and fights tirelessly for the justice and compensation you deserve. Don’t navigate the aftermath of a bus crash alone; let our skilled Texas bus accident lawyers guide you through this challenging time.

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How Common are Bus Accidents in Texas?

The Crash Records Information System (CRIS), managed by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), maintains a comprehensive record of all bus accidents occurring within Texas. This system gathers crash reports from every city and county across the state, providing a holistic view of the bus accident landscape. Each year, TxDOT collates and analyzes this data, tracing the evolution and trends in bus accidents over time.

Texas Bus Accident Statistics from TxDOT

According to TxDOT data, there were 2,743 bus crashes (one crash roughly every 3.2 hours) in Texas in 2022, which included:

  • Fatality crashes:  1 fatal crash (1 in urban areas, none in rural areas)
  • Serious injury crashes:  70 serious injury crashes (56 in urban areas, 12 in rural areas)
  • Minor injury crashes:  299 minor injury crashes (264 in urban areas, 35 in rural areas)
  • Possible injury crashes:  443 possible injury crashes (404 in urban areas, 39 in rural areas)
  • No injury crashes:  1,906 non-injury crashes (1,658 in urban areas, 248 in rural areas)
  • Unknown severity crashes:  24 unknown severity crashes (22 in urban areas, 2 in rural areas)

Source Count of Vehicles in Crashes by Body Style.

Texas Bus Accident Statistics from the FMCSA

Alternatively, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Crash Statistics, which utilizes data from the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS), provides annual reports detailing the incidence and mortality rates of bus collisions in Texas. The FMCSA figures are markedly different:

  • Fatality crashes:  28 fatal crashes
  • Injury crashes:  974 injury crashes
  • Vehicles involved:  1,167 vehicles involved
  • Total crashes:  1,149 total crashes

Common Causes of Bus Accidents in Texas

Bus accidents in Texas are often the result of negligence, which can take numerous forms, which are outlined below. To prove negligence in a bus accident case, it is crucial to establish four key elements:

  • Duty
  • Breach
  • Causation, and
  • Damages

The bus driver, as well as the bus company, has a duty of care to ensure the safety of passengers and other road users. If this duty of care is breached – for instance, by a driver who is distracted or a company that fails to maintain its buses – and this breach directly causes an accident resulting in damages (such as physical injuries or property damage), negligence may be established.

Proving negligence typically requires detailed investigation and evidence collection, including police reports, eyewitness statements, bus company records, and expert testimonies. This is where the expertise of our seasoned Texas bus accident lawyers becomes invaluable. They can guide you through the complex process, ensuring all critical aspects are comprehensively addressed.

Bus Driver Negligence

  • Failure to adhere to traffic rules
  • Driving while distracted (for example, using a mobile phone)
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Over-speeding or reckless driving

Bus Company Negligence

  • Poor maintenance of vehicles
  • Hiring unqualified or inexperienced drivers
  • Failure to provide proper training to drivers
  • Overloading or improper loading of the bus

Bus Manufacturer Defects

  • Faulty brakes or steering systems
  • Defective tires or other vehicle parts
  • Poorly designed or installed seatbelts or safety equipment
  • Inadequate or ineffective vehicle inspections

Bad Weather

  • Driving in heavy rain or snow without proper precautions
  • Failure to adjust driving speed according to weather conditions
  • Ignoring weather warnings

Road Hazards

  • Potholes or uneven road surfaces
  • Poorly marked construction zones
  • Lack of proper signage or traffic signals
  • Debris or obstacles on the road

Negligence by Other Drivers

  • Reckless or aggressive driving by other vehicles
  • Failure of other drivers to yield to the bus
  • Distracted or impaired drivers on the road
  • Illegal maneuvers by other drivers

Passenger Negligence

  • Distracting the bus driver
  • Interfering with the operation of the bus
  • Failure to comply with safety instructions
  • Opening emergency exits without cause

If you have been injured in a bus accident due to another driver’s negligence, call our Texas bus accident lawyers for a FREE CASE REVIEW.

What Should I Do After a Bus Accident?

7 Steps to Take After a Bus Accident

If you find yourself involved in a bus accident, it is crucial to take certain steps to protect your rights and ensure your safety. Here is a list of recommended actions compiled by our Texas bus accident lawyers:

  1. Ensure Safety:  Make sure you and others are safe. Move out of the roadway and to a safe location if possible.
  2. Seek Medical Attention:  Even if you don’t feel hurt, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention immediately. Some injuries may not be apparent immediately following the accident.
  3. Report the Accident:  Report the accident to local law enforcement. The police report can serve as a valuable piece of evidence later on.
  4. Document the Scene:  If it’s safe, take pictures or videos of the accident scene, bus conditions, and any injuries you received.
  5. Gather Witness Information:  Obtain contact information from any witnesses, including other passengers. Their statements could be invaluable in building your case.
  6. Preserve Evidence:  Keep a record of any medical treatment and expenses, and hold onto any personal items damaged in the accident.
  7. Contact a Bus Accident Attorney:  Call our Texas bus accident lawyers as soon as possible for a FREE CASE REVIEW. We can guide you through the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Common Bus Accident Injuries

Bus accidents can lead to several severe injuries due to the size and weight of these vehicles, the high number of passengers they carry, and the lack of safety features like seat belts in many models. Below, we outline some common injuries resulting from bus accidents.

  • Head and Brain Injuries:  These can range from minor concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Effects can be long-term or permanent, affecting cognitive and motor skills.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries:  These injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis, affecting victims’ mobility and quality of life.
  • Broken Bones and Fractures:  Common in high-impact collisions, these injuries can require lengthy recovery periods and may lead to permanent disability, especially when joints are damaged.
  • Whiplash and Neck Injuries:  These are common in bus accidents due to the sudden stop or change in direction.
  • Cuts and Lacerations:  Broken glass or sharp metal can cause these injuries, potentially leading to significant blood loss, scarring, and sometimes amputation injuries.
  • Internal Injuries:  Damage to organs, blood vessels, or the abdominal area can be life-threatening if not immediately treated.

If you’ve suffered any of these injuries or others in a bus accident, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Afterward, consider consulting with our legal professionals to understand your rights and potential compensation. The team at our law office has extensive experience with bus accident cases and is ready to advocate for you. Call our Texas bus accident lawyers today for a FREE CASE EVALUATION.

At Thompson Law

We provide bus crash victims with dedicated and tenacious legal representation, ensuring that you get fair value for your claim. Our Texas bus accident lawyers will build a strong case with supporting evidence so that you recover the money that you deserve.

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What Compensation Can I Receive for a Bus Wreck?

Victims of bus accidents can be entitled to various types of compensation, depending on the severity of their injuries and the circumstances of the accident. The types of personal injury damages available to bus wreck victims can include economic damages, non-economic damages, and in some cases, punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages, also referred to as special damages, are compensation for financial losses incurred as a result of the bus accident. They can include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical Expenses:  These cover the cost of emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, prescription medications, physical therapy, and any future medical care required.
  • Lost Wages:  If you are unable to work due to your injuries, you can be compensated for the income you would have earned during your recovery period.
  • Loss of Earning Capacity:  If your injuries limit your ability to earn a living in the future, you may be entitled to compensation for this loss.
  • Property Damage:  If any of your personal belongings were damaged in the accident, such as a vehicle, you can seek compensation for their repair or replacement value.
  • Wrongful Death:  If a loved one has died in a bus accident, surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and more.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, compensate victims for non-monetary losses, which can include:

  • Pain and Suffering:  This covers the physical pain and emotional distress experienced as a result of the accident.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life:  If your injuries prevent you from participating in activities you once enjoyed, you may be awarded compensation for loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Emotional Distress:  This includes anxiety, depression, and other emotional suffering caused by the accident.
  • Loss of Consortium:  Spouses of victims can recover damages for the loss of companionship, affection, or sexual relations.

Methods for Calculating Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages, often subjective and non-tangible, can be challenging to quantify. However, there are a couple of common methods used to calculate these damages.

  1. Per Diem Method:  The Per Diem (Latin for “Per Day”) method calculates the daily amount of pain and suffering the victim endures and multiplies it by the number of days the victim has been suffering. For instance, if a certain dollar amount is assigned per day and the victim suffered for 200 days, the total non-economic damages would be the daily rate multiplied by 200.
  2. Multiplier Method:  This method involves adding up all the economic damages and multiplying the sum by a number that often ranges from 1.5 to 5, depending on the severity and impact of the injuries. For example, if a victim’s economic damages totaled $100,000 and the multiplier used was 3, the non-economic damages would be $300,000.

Each case is unique, and the method used can greatly affect the total non-economic damage awarded. Hence, it’s essential to work with a skilled legal professional to accurately calculate and argue for these damages.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not designed to compensate the victim, but rather to punish the negligent party and deter others from engaging in similar behavior. They are awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless or malicious. Factors that may be considered include:

  • Severity of Negligence:  Punitive damages are more likely to be awarded when the defendant’s negligence was extreme or intentional.
  • Defendant’s Conduct:  The court will consider whether the defendant was aware of the potential consequences of their actions and chose to proceed anyway.
  • Financial Status of the Defendant:  Punitive damages are often proportional to the wealth of the defendant; a higher value may be awarded if the defendant is a corporation or has a high net worth.

If you have been the victim of an injury accident involving a bus, contact our Texas bus accident lawyers for a FREE CONSULTATION.

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Determining the Value of a Bus Wreck Injury Claim

Calculating the value of a bus wreck injury claim can be complex, as it involves several factors. An experienced attorney can help you determine a fair value for your claim by considering:

  • Severity of Injuries:  More severe injuries typically result in higher medical bills and a greater impact on your quality of life, leading to higher compensation.
  • Impact on Earning Capacity:  If your injuries prevent you from returning to your job or limit your ability to work, this will be factored into your claim.
  • Extent of Pain and Suffering:  This can vary widely based on the individual and the nature of the injuries. Your attorney can help quantify this subjective factor.
  • Degree of Fault:  Texas uses a comparative negligence system, meaning your compensation may be reduced if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident.

To ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, it’s crucial to consult with a skilled bus accident lawyer. They can review your case, gather necessary evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and guide you through the legal process.

How is the Value of My Claim Impacted by the Bus Owner or Type of Bus?

The value of your claim can be significantly influenced by the owner or type of bus involved in the accident. This is largely due to different insurance policies and liability rules applying to different bus operators.

City-Owned Buses

City-owned buses, such as public transit buses, are generally protected by governmental damage limitations under the Texas Tort Claims Act, making claims against them more complex. To recover damages, victims must follow specific procedures within strict timelines.

Moreover, compensation from government entities might be subject to capped damages, which could potentially limit the total payout. For instance, the compensation for damages attributed to “units of local government” is capped at $100,000 per individual and a total of $300,000 per occurrence (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 101.023(d)).

School Buses

Accidents involving school buses can also be complicated, as they may be owned and operated by various entities, including school districts, private schools, or private transportation companies. The process and compensation might vary depending on whether the bus service is provided by a government entity or a private organization.

Commercial Buses

Commercial buses, like those operated by private companies or tour buses, are typically covered by substantial insurance policies as they are required to carry higher limits due to the potential risk they pose to passengers and other road users. Consequently, if you’re involved in an accident with a commercial bus, the potential payout could be higher.

Regardless of the type of bus, one thing remains consistent: the need for an experienced bus accident lawyer. Call our Texas bus accident lawyers today for a FREE, NO OBLIGATION CONSULTATION.

How Long Do I Have to Make a Bus Accident Injury Claim?

The Texas statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim, including bus accident injuries, is two years. This means you have two years from the date of the bus accident to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file your claim within this period, you may lose your right to pursue compensation. However, also note that the period of time you have to file a lawsuit may be less if governmental entities are involved.

If you are a Texas resident, but your bus accident occurred in another state, the statute of limitations of the state where the accident occurred would typically apply. Statutes of limitations vary by state, so it’s important to consult with our Texas bus accident lawyers as soon as possible to determine the deadlines for your case. Our attorneys can guide you through the intricacies of filing a claim when it involves different jurisdictions, ensuring your rights are protected.

Call our Texas bus accident lawyers today for a FREE CASE REVIEW.

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Don’t hesitate to reach out for the legal assistance you need. Thompson Law is ready to provide you with a FREE CASE ASSESSMENT. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you owe us NOTHING unless we secure a win for your case.

Our experienced team of bus crash injury lawyers is dedicated to helping you navigate the complex legal process, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact Thompson Law today and let us fight for your rights and your future.

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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Bus Accidents in Texas

What are the Minimum Liability Insurance Limits for Buses?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes minimum liability insurance limits on buses depending on the seating capacity.

  • Buses designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver: $5,000,000.
  • Buses designed to carry 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver: $1,500,000.

These limits apply to both private and commercial bus operators. Remember, these are federal requirements, and individual states may impose additional insurance requirements beyond the federal minimum.

Is the Statute of Limitations Shorter for Government-Owned Buses in Texas?

Yes, the statute of limitations can be shorter for claims against government-owned buses in Texas. Under the Texas Tort Claims Act, you are required to provide notice of your claim to the governmental unit within six months of the date of the incident. If this specific protocol is not followed properly, you may lose your right to pursue your claim.

Does the Statute of Limitations Vary Based on Individual Cities in Texas?

While the general statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Texas is two years, the timeline can be significantly shorter when dealing with claims against city-owned buses. Some cities in Texas have their own charter provisions or ordinances that require notice of a claim within an even shorter timeframe.

For example, some cities might require you to file notice of your claim within 45 days of the accident. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with a Texas bus accident attorney immediately after the accident to ensure all essential deadlines are met and your claim is properly filed.

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State law limits the time you have to file a claim after an auto accident. If you have been injured in an accident, call now to get the help you need.