If you are hit by a bus or in a bus that was involved in an accident, you could suffer injuries that stay with you for months or years. Therefore, you may need to consult with a Houston bus accident attorney who has your best interests in mind. The Doan Law Firm has been representing individuals and families throughout Texas for over 20 years. We are a trusted law firm with a history of obtaining record-breaking case results. If you’ve been injured in a bus accident in Houston, contact us for assistance. The initial consultation is free, and you don’t have to pay for expert witnesses or any other costs incurred until after your case is settled.
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What Causes Houston Bus Accidents?
Collisions involving city buses, school buses and private buses are often preventable. They occur when one or more parties are negligent, or fail to use the right amount of care. If a harmful bus accident could have been avoided with ordinary care, the negligent party will be liable, or financially responsible, for related losses. It is necessary to determine who or what caused your bus accident in Houston before you can proceed with the claims process. Common causes include:
Bus driver error
Driving under the influence
Bus driver fatigue
Missed stoplights or stop signs
Failure to yield the right-of-way
Poor bus maintenance
Vehicle part breakdowns
A bus accident caused by a bus driver will most likely place liability on the entity that employs the driver, such as a school district, the city government or a bus company. This entity is also responsible for ensuring the proper maintenance of its fleet of buses. Liability for your accident could fall to a third party, as well, such as an outside driver or the manufacturer of a bus part. If you are not sure what caused your recent bus accident or who is responsible, our lawyers can investigate.
What Makes Bus Accidents Complex?
Bus accident claims are much more complicated than traditional vehicle versus vehicle accident claims. That is the case for various reasons, including:
The severity of injuries. Bus accidents are more likely to result in significant injuries for those involved. These are larger vehicles, and bus passengers are typically not restrained. Additionally, for those injured in other vehicles involved in the incident, the sheer weight and size of the bus increase the likelihood of major injuries.
More overall victims. The simple fact of having multiple victims will complicate a claim. Insurance carriers and legal teams will certainly scrutinize bus accident claims that result in multiple injuries or any fatalities.
More vehicles involved. Bus accidents often involve more than one other vehicle, and this can make it difficult to sort through issues of liability.
Multiple possible liable parties. There may be various parties that could be held liable for these incidents, including drivers, companies, government entities, maintenance teams, and others.
Complicated insurance coverage. Most bus companies have complex insurance structures, including various layers of insurance that do not kick in until previous policies are exhausted or if certain conditions are met. These complicated insurance processes can delay a claim.
State and federal regulations. Bus accidents often involve investigations from state and federal regulators, and these regulators may change depending on the type of bus involved in an accident.
Government claim issues. Any bus operated by a government or public entity will face increased complexity when it comes to recovering compensation. Filing injury claims against a government entity is immensely more complex than filing against other parties.
Common Injuries in Bus Accidents
Bus accidents often result in significant injuries for those involved. This can include those inside of the bus as well as those affected in other vehicles involved in the incident. Additionally, bus accidents can affect pedestrians and bicyclists near the crash site. Some of the most common types of injuries that we help individuals with after a bus accident occurs include the following:
Traumatic brain injuries or concussions
Spinal cord injuries with paralysis
Dislocated or broken bones
Severe burn injuries
Crush injuries or amputations
Lacerations or puncture wounds
In addition to these physical traumatic injuries that often result from bus accidents, it is crucial to examine the emotional and psychological trauma a bus accident can cause. It is not uncommon for bus crash victims in Houston to experience feelings of stress, anxiety, fear, sleeplessness, and other symptoms. In some cases, individuals may experience forms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It is crucial to take into account the physical as well as non-visible injuries when determining final compensation amounts for bus crash victims.
Types of Bus Accident Claims
Throughout the Houston area, there are many types of buses. This includes those operated by private companies as well as publicly operated bus systems:
Various private regional carriers (Greyhound, Megabus, etc.)
Private and charter bus systems
Passenger shuttle vans
Larger shuttle buses
It is crucial to take note of which type of bus carrier or operator is involved in the incident. There is a major difference between a private company and a government entity when it comes to personal injury lawsuits, which we will discuss further in a moment.
Your Legal Fees Could Be Part of a Settlement
It is possible that your legal fees may be a separate line item in any settlement that you are given. Therefore, you can pay for medical expenses, take care of providing for your children or otherwise enjoy your money without worrying about devoting some or all of those proceeds to paying your attorney. In some cases, your court costs may also be included in your settlement, which means that you get the full benefit of your financial award without having to worry about the quality of legal counsel and due process that you receive.
At The Doan Law Firm, we aim to relieve financial stress after harmful accidents. Our bus, car, and truck accident law firm in Houston offers services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t pay us anything in attorney’s fees unless you win your case. If we do succeed in collecting financial compensation on your behalf, you will only pay our fees as a percentage of the settlement or jury verdict won, not out of your pocket. Hiring an attorney can increase the value of your bus accident settlement even after deducting attorney’s fees.
A Houston Bus Accident Lawyer Knows How to Win Your Case
During a bus accident lawsuit in Texas, the burden of proof rests with the plaintiff. This means it is your responsibility to prove the elements of your case. Your Houston bus accident attorney is going to know how to prove that you were the victim in your case. Most importantly, legal counsel will prove that negligence on behalf of the bus driver or the manufacturer of the bus was the reason why the crash occurred in the first place.
The bus driver could be at fault if you were walking in a crosswalk and the bus didn’t stop or otherwise try to avoid you. The driver could also be at fault if he or she was tired, impaired or otherwise distracted at the time of the accident. If the driver wasn’t properly licensed to drive the vehicle, that would be negligence on behalf of his or her employer.
Negligence on behalf of the manufacturer would occur if the bus was manufactured with a known defect. This could include coming with lights that didn’t work or with brakes that didn’t properly fit the bus or were somehow defective. Even if the manufacturer didn’t intend to hurt anyone, it is still responsible for what it sends out to the public.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Bus Accident?
There may be various parties who could be held liable after a bus crash occurs. In some cases, the liable party may be another driver or entity aside from the bus operator(s). However, liability often revolves around the bus driver or the entity that operates the bus, or some other type of agency revolving around the operation of the bus.
Some of the most common liable parties after a Houston bus accident include the following:
The bus driver
The company or agency that operates the bus
Public transit agencies, including METRO
The manufacturer of the bus
An auto parts manufacturer
Third-party mechanics responsible for bus maintenance
It is crucial to understand that filing a claim against a public entity, including a school district or operators of METRO will work differently than claims filed against private companies. There are specific deadlines and procedures involved in filing claims against a government entity. We strongly encourage you to speak to a skilled Houston bus accident lawyer as soon as possible after the incident occurs so you can move forward with your claim in the appropriate amount of time.
What If You Are Partially Responsible for the Accident?
In some cases, you can expect that the bus driver or other responsible party is going to claim that you were fully or partially responsible for the crash occurring. The other side may claim that you were walking in a crosswalk when you didn’t have permission to do so or that you were the one who distracted the driver prior to the accident occurring.
Under Texas law, you are entitled to partial damages assuming that you aren’t found to be 51 percent or more responsible for the accident. You may be declared partially responsible for the accident either because you admitted as much as part of a settlement or because a jury has decided that you bear some responsibility.
If this happens, you will receive a proportional amount of any damages that you could have been entitled to. For example, if you were entitled to $200,000, you would receive $100,000 if you were deemed to be 50 percent responsible. It is possible that multiple parties will be found to share responsibility with you. In such a scenario, you receive your money first and the other parties decide among themselves who gets reimbursed.
What Types of Compensation Am I Entitled To?
There may be various types of compensation available to individuals harmed as a result of a bus crash in the Houston area. At the Doan Law Firm, our goal is to ensure clients recover both “special” and “general” damages.
Special damages are also referred to as economic damages, and these losses revolve around calculable expenses Houston bus crash victims are likely to incur after the incident. Some of the most common economic damages we recover for bus crash victims include:
Emergency medical and hospital bills
Any follow-up doctor expenses
Medical device, prescription medication, or physical therapy expenses
Lost income if a bus crash victim cannot work
Various out-of-pocket losses
Property damage expenses
General damages are also referred to as non-economic damages, but these types of losses are not as easily calculable as the expenses mentioned above. These are more immeasurable expenses that revolve around the “unseen” injuries a person is likely to experience. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Physical pain and suffering losses
Emotional and psychological trauma caused by the incident
Loss of quality of life damages
Loss of consortium for a spouse
The total amount of compensation paid to bus crash victims in Houston will vary depending on the factors related to their specific cases. Some of these factors include the severity of the injuries and how long it takes a person to recover. Other factors, such as a person’s inability to work following the incident, as well as the extent of their physical and emotional pain and suffering, will play a role in total compensation amounts.
What Types of Evidence Will a Houston Bus Accident Attorney Use?
The burden of proof in a personal injury or wrongful death claim is a preponderance of the evidence. This means “more likely to be true than not true,” or true with at least a 51 percent certainty. A Houston bus accident attorney will use multiple types of evidence to help prove your case. For instance, witness statements may be collected or physical evidence from the scene will be reviewed or sent to experts for further examination. Other types of evidence can include a police accident report, your medical records, photographs and video footage, and expert testimony. The goal is to either convince a jury that you deserve compensation or to add leverage to obtain a quick settlement.
Time Limit for Filing a Houston Bus Accident Claim
When filing an injury claim in Houston, you are subject to Texas’s statute of limitations. This law places a deadline on the right to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations on most personal injury claims in Texas is two years from the date of the accident or discovery of injuries. If you wish to bring a claim against the government for a city bus accident, however, you will have a shorter time limit – sometimes just 90 days. If you wait too long and miss your filing window, you can be ineligible for compensation. Contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Contact a Houston Bus Accident Lawyer Today | Free Case Consultations
You’ve been through enough as the victim of a traumatic bus accident in Houston. Allow our bus and motorcycle accident lawyer in Houston to take over your case, fight for your rights and ensure that you obtain fair results. If you are looking for quality representation after your bus accident, contact The Doan Law Firm at 1 Riverway, Suite 2500 Houston, Texas 77056. You can also give us a call at (800) 349-0000 to learn more about how we can help and start the legal process in a timely manner.