Buses are incredibly common around the United States. There are transit buses around the cities, school buses around neighborhoods, and long-distance buses on interstate highways. Every day millions of drivers from other vehicles, passengers, and pedestrians will encounter buses on the roadways. An accident with a bus can be catastrophic. Joe I. Zaid & Associates have experienced attorneys who serve people that have been injured in bus accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident due to the negligence of another party or parties, don’t hesitate to reach out to our attorneys to discuss your legal rights before you get taken advantage of by insurance companies or corporations.
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What You Need to Know About Bus Accidents
The National Transportation Safety Board reported that smaller bus companies that have been operating less than 10 years are more likely to be involved in accidents. Furthermore, they estimate that 35% of bus carriers in the U.S. are registered in Texas, California, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.
Bus carriers vary greatly among others, some follow formal training procedures while others follow a less formal training procedure. Drivers sharing the road with buses do not know if the bus driver is properly trained. That is why it is important to have an experienced bus accident attorney at your side to recover the maximum compensation you are owed.
Bus accident liability in Texas varies greatly from car accidents and 18 wheeler accidents. The size of the bus, the ownership, and the amount of compensation the injured can recover determine how and when a claim must be filed.
Texas law divides buses into two categories; commercial buses and government-owned buses.
Commercially owned buses are those owned by a private company or entity, such as:
- Shuttle Buses (airport shuttles, hotel shuttles, etc.)
- Commercial buses (Greyhound, etc.)
- Nursing home buses
- Charter buses
- Casino buses
- Church buses
Government-owned buses include:
- Public transportation for the disabled
- School buses
- City buses (Metro buses, etc.)
Government-Owned Bus Lines Are Protected by Texas Law
The law of Texas provides government-owned bus lines with an immense degree of protection from lawsuits, even when the driver was at fault for the accident.
The statute of limitations in Texas for all bus accident cases, even those involved in government-owned buses require the injured to file a lawsuit within 2 years from the day of the accident.
However, the injured passenger must also file a notice of intent to sue government-owned buses within 6 months from the day of the accident.
Moreover, cities are allowed to impose their own notice deadlines within their city charter, it can range anywhere from 45 days to 6 months.
Victims involved in a bus accident who fail to file a notice within the specified time frame forfeit all their rights to sue.
Caps on Compensatory Damages & Punitive Damages
Texas imposes damage caps of $250,000 per individual and $500,000 per incident in government-owned cases.
Victims involved in government-owned bus accidents may only pursue compensatory damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) against government entities but are prevented from seeking punitive damages.
Commercial Bus Lines Duty of Care
Commercially owned buses are considered common carriers under the law of Texas. They are expected to exercise a higher duty of care to their passengers and other people on the road than other drivers.
This higher duty of care goes way beyond basic traffic laws, such as:
- Ensuring proper maintenance.
- Remaining focused and alert while driving.
- Ensuring bus drivers are mentally and physically fit for the job.
- Not falling asleep at the wheel.
- Maintaining a safe distance between the bus and other vehicles on the road.
Commercial bus companies and their drivers are considered negligent when they fail to follow these duties of care.
Passengers who suffer injuries from a negligent commercial bus driver are entitled to recover damages for their injuries. They may also be able to recover punitive damages if the commercial bus negligence was caused by malicious intent.
Liability Insurance Limits
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes minimum insurance limits on government-owned and commercially-owned buses. These limits state that:
- Any bus that carriers more than 15 passengers onboard must have at least $5 million in liability insurance coverage.
- Buses that carry fewer than 15 passengers must have at least $1.5 million in liability insurance coverage.
These limits listed above are considered per incident, not per passenger. In the event of an accident, the insurance would be split among all injured passengers.
However, that’s assuming the bus company’s insurer agrees to settle or a jury finds the bus company and driver negligent for the victim’s injuries. Unfortunately, it’s rare for bus accident cases to settle without a fight and frequently end up going to trial.
Accident victims who obtain legal counsel are far more likely to receive the maximum compensation or a verdict than those who try and settle the case on their own and will most likely be taken advantage of by the bus companies insures.
Call Now For a Free Consultation With Our Aggressive Bus Accident Attorneys
Our firm has recovered over millions of dollars for our clients and will continue to do so on your behalf. We know that cases involving bus accidents can be very complex, our attorneys have dealt with many cases like these and will work tirelessly to recover the compensation you deserve even if we have to go to trial. We have the resources, skills, and experience to ensure that you and your family are well represented and receive the maximum compensation for your injuries and damages.
Call us now at (281) 990-5200 or schedule a free consultation.
All of our consultations are free of charge and you pay us nothing unless we win your case. We are also available 24/7 via our live chat for an instant response to any questions you may have regarding your case. Don’t wait any longer so that you don’t forfeit your rights at receiving the compensation you deserve.