Bus accidents can prove extremely dangerous or even fatal for those involved. This is true for both passengers on a bus, riders in other vehicles crashed into by buses, or pedestrians hit by buses while walking.
Any accident that involves a bus needs to be claimed with a bus accident lawyer. The reason is because of the extreme difficulty in trying to win these types of claims. Insurance companies are known for fighting very hard when their insured drivers are involved in accidents. They generally deny any wrongdoing and frequently refuse to make fair settlement offers.
The most important factor to consider when making a claim for a bus accident is the severity of your injuries. If you have been seriously injured, it may be advisable to get in touch with an experienced bus accident attorney from Morrow & Sheppard LLP and contact our office as soon as possible after the accident.
Even if you were not hurt very badly in a bus accident, you still need to get help from an experienced bus accident lawyer. Sometimes the bus driver or another party will make a settlement offer that seems like it’s more than your injuries are worth – but this is not always a wise way to go. You have no idea how much your claim might be worth until you speak with a legal professional.
If you or a loved one was injured in such an accident, be sure to contact Morrow & Sheppard LLP at (800) 489-2216. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if we win your case. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.
What Steps Should I Take if I am Involved in a Bus Accident?
If you are injured in a bus accident, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. They will help you get the medical care that you need and help to ensure that you have a fair settlement offer.
Here are a few steps that you should take if you are involved in a bus accident:
- Call 911: Although it may seem obvious, this is the most important first step. You need to ensure that you, your loved ones, or others involved in a bus accident seek medical attention by calling emergency medical services.
- Seek Medical Attention: Of course, if you are severely injured, this is a necessary step. However, even if you do not feel injured, you need to ensure you seek a medical evaluation. Often, the excitement, shock, or adrenaline from an accident can mask pain. Long-term medical problems can develop if you do not seek medical attention right away.
- Collect Evidence: This may be the best thing you can do to preserve evidence at the scene. First, avoid speaking with the at-fault driver (whether this is a separate vehicle or the bus driver). You do not want to give the at-fault party any reason to collect evidence against you. If you are too injured, remind those around you to:
- Take photographs
- Speak with other passengers, or vehicles/people involved;
- Take notes to remember important details
- Consult Legal Counsel: You will undoubtedly be contacted by insurance companies in an attempt for them to gather information about your case. Understand that their goal is to insulate themselves from liability for the accident, or to attempt to get you to accept a payment that will not likely cover the extent of your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other avenues of recovery.
Why Consulting Legal Counsel is So Important
Bus accidents can involve many different statutory schemes and bodies of law. Often, these accidents are far more complex – from a legal standpoint – than accidents with another private citizen driving a car or with someone driving a commercial vehicle. Here are some things you need to watch out for:
Laws Governing Common Carriers
In Texas, the law recognizes riders, pedestrians and other drivers place trust in “common carriers,” like buses. Because the public relies on bus operators to provide safe transportation, the law imposes a heightened duty on them to do so. Common carriers are held to heightened standards because they are involved in a dangerous line of business where the lives of private citizens are at stake. Bus drivers and bus companies are held to a strict duty to avoid accidents as well as they can control, and to take appropriate steps to avoid life-threatening accidents and harm to the public and its citizens.
Among many other things that bus drivers and bus companies must do, the law recognizes the need for them to:
- Hire safe, well-trained and properly licensed drivers
- Adhere to and obey all road laws, including specialized laws for buses and common carriers, and practice defensive driving
- Ensure their drivers are not overworked by monitoring time spent on the road
- Ensure their drivers get adequate rest
- Provide safe environments for passengers, including avoiding overcrowding
- Provide safe environments free from the risks of falling luggage/materials
- Provide safe vehicles that are properly maintained to avoid problems with brakes, tires and other components
Laws Governing State or City-Owned Buses
Some cities in Texas contain public transportation, like buses or rail lines, that may be subject to the protections afforded to government workers. If you are injured in a bus accident, your claims may be subject to the Texas Tort Claims Act.
The Texas Tort Claims Act can apply to:
- Injuries that result from the use of motor-driven vehicles/equipment;
- Injuries that result from the condition or use of tangible property; and
- Injuries that result from the condition or use of real property
So, if you are injured by a bus driver that is a government employee, and the bus driver was operating within the course and scope of their employment, your claims may be subject to these laws. Further, if you are a pedestrian injured by a condition at a bus stop your claims may also be subject to these laws.
These laws can serve to limit the maximum amount of recovery in a lawsuit. Further, these laws can limit the amount of time you have to submit a claim or file a lawsuit. Therefore, it is vitally important that you consult a bus accident lawyer quickly if you are involved in a bus accident.
Experienced trial lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP are equipped to assist you in handling your claims if you are involved in a bus accident. Call us now to obtain a free, confidential consultation and legal advice on your case.