Were you injured in a bus accident in Houston? You’re bound to have questions, and as always, we’re here to help.
We are a national law firm based in Houston with multiple offices around the country. We also work with affiliate law firms in most states that share our focus and dedication to excellence. No matter where you are located, we may be able to help you, so call or contact us now. We are open, for FREE, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-898-4877, or you may contact our Houston Bus Accident Lawyers online to submit your case for review.
Houston Bus Accident FAQ
Below, we provide the answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs).
How big of a problem are Houston bus accidents?
Every Houston resident is familiar with the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) buses. With 99 different routes and three light rail lines, this public transportation is vital for many commuters and city dwellers. In addition, thousands of Houston children depend on school buses to travel to and from school. Finally, charter buses carry conference travelers and tourists around the Bayou City and get them where they want to go.
There’s a downside, however. Bigger vehicles mean bigger accidents. At our law firm, we see bus accidents all the time throughout the city and all of Harris County.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, regular buses are involved in 3,300 accidents every year throughout Texas. School buses are involved in another 1,247 accidents. Last year, regular buses were involved in 19 fatal accidents, 31 accidents causing serious injury, and 274 accidents resulting in non-capacitating injuries. School buses were involved in another 2 fatal accidents, 57 accidents causing serious injuries, and 274 accidents causing non-incapacitating injuries.
Since Houston is the largest city in Texas, Harris County likely experiences these types of accidents more frequently than other counties.
Luckily, our experienced attorneys are here to help victims of Houston bus accidents. If you’ve experienced a Houston bus accident, reach out to us as soon as possible.
How dangerous are Houston bus accidents?
If you were in a Houston bus accident, you may already know what the statistics say. While only a small percentage of bus accidents result in a fatality, families are still left devastated. When helping victims obtain justice, we approach each bus accident case as if our own loved one or child was involved.
The percentage of injury-causing accidents is much higher than the percentage of deaths. Buses are much larger than most vehicles on the road; buses generally weigh more, and they are longer. Still, a collision with a car can seriously injure all occupants. Buses are much larger than most vehicles on the road, they’re longer, and they weigh more. This means they carry more momentum and force in the event of a crash, and may be more difficult to bring to a stop. A collision with a pedestrian may prove deadly.
Additionally, most bus passengers, including children, are not wearing seat belts when a collision occurs. As a result, passengers run the risk of being thrown out of their seats in a collision.
Bus accidents can cause a plethora of injuries, including:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken bones (legs, arms, pelvis, skull, ribs)
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and coma
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
- Internal injury
- Amputation of limb
Who is liable if I’m injured in a Houston bus accident?
The responsible party in a bus accident is the entity that ultimately caused the accident. The bus driver might bear responsibility, but the fact is, almost all bus accidents require extensive investigation to determine their true cause.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) fields investigators to investigate crashes of large commercial vehicles, including buses.
Why is an investigation required? Because many factors contribute to bus accidents. Driver error may constitute one cause, but what if the bus driver turns out not to hold the qualifications required of Texas bus drivers?
Bus drivers must hold a Texas commercial driver’s license (CDL). School bus drivers need an additional endorsement to operate school buses. These qualifications exist because safely driving a bus is quite different than operating a car; it takes practice and skills a typical driver may lack.
If a lack of proper certification and training contributed to the accident, the department or agency who checked credentials or training may bear responsibility for the accident.
Bus accidents can also stem from mechanical problems with a bus, like worn brakes, faulty steering systems, or lack of adequate safety equipment such as mirrors and horns. In order to keep passengers safe, all commercial motor vehicles require regular maintenance, inspection, and repair. If mechanical or physical issues occurred because of lack of maintenance, lack of inspection, or a faulty repair, the subcontractors responsible for the issue bear responsibility.
If the problem that caused the accident stemmed from the original manufacture of auto parts components used in repair and maintenance, or of the bus itself, the component and bus manufacturers may bear responsibility.
If a bus collided with another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle may sometimes bear responsibility for the accident.
It’s also possible for a pedestrian to bear some responsibility. For example, what if someone jaywalks or runs in front of the bus, causing the driver to brake suddenly? If passengers suffer injury or harm, the pedestrian is arguably responsible.
In summary, responsible parties in a bus accident may include the following:
- The driver
- The bus company responsible for checking qualifications and maintenance
- Companies that inspect, repair, and maintain the bus, if separate from the bus company
- Companies who check driver qualifications, if separate from the bus company
- Component manufacturers
- Bus manufacturers
- Other motorists
How will I know who or what is responsible for my Houston bus accident?
If you or a loved one suffers injuries in a bus accident, knowing what or who caused the accident might pose a challenge.
The key takeaway is that the responsible party’s negligence resulted in injuries directly caused by the accident. The negligent person or organization is liable and financially responsible for the harm caused.
For help determining liability, it’s wise to consult our Houston bus accident lawyers. Lawyers possess the experience you need in dealing with bus companies, and we can help you investigate and navigate the complexity of potential causes involved in bus accidents.
Does the person or organization responsible for my injuries owe me anything for my Houston bus accident?
Yes! If a person or organization caused an accident in which you suffered injuries or other harm, they are financially liable.
Texas is a fault state for vehicle accidents, which means you can pursue damage compensation from the negligent party. In other words, if the accident took place between a bus and your car, you are not expected to turn first to your own insurance company, as required in no-fault states. You can pursue damage compensation by approaching the responsible party’s insurance company or by bringing a Houston bus accident lawsuit.
You are entitled to seek damages in the following categories:
- Medical bills, past, present, and future – for hospitalization, surgery, emergency treatment, transport, prescriptions, assistive devices and mobility aids, office visits, physical therapy, and more
- Wages lost from work – when a victim requires time off from work to recover, they should track their lost hours and seek compensation
- Pain and suffering – for physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering as a result of the accident, including PTSD
What if I’m disabled as a result of a Houston bus accident?
If you become disabled as a result of injuries suffered in a bus accident, the law allows you to seek damage compensation. These damages may be related to lost earning potential if, for example, your disability prevents you from performing your job. In this case, the value of your expected lifetime earnings is computed based on the salary you earned when you suffered an injury and the expected earnings over your lifetime.
Expert medical testimony is also often solicited, as well as expert opinion from human resources compensation professionals and actuarial professionals. Bus accident lawyers can connect you to these resources and help you build the strongest possible case.
Additionally, damages for pain and suffering are higher for an accident resulting in disability than for an accident in which the victim can return to work.
What’s the average damage compensation for a Houston bus accident victim?
We’d love to tell you what to expect, but unfortunately there’s no “average” damage compensation. This is because damage compensation depends on three factors:
- Your total medical expenses related to the accident
- Your total wages lost from work
- Your pain and suffering
Your medical expenses, whether existing or projected for the future, are added together. Then your total wages lost from work are computed by multiplying the time you’ve lost by your existing salary. These two figures are then added, plus a value that has been placed on your pain and suffering. All together, they make up the total amount that may be awarded to you.
For serious and long-term injuries, such as traumatic brain injury and spinal cord damage, however, all amounts are likely to climb higher. In severe cases, medical treatment costs more, time off work is lengthier (or permanent), and your compensation may increase as a result.
How do I file a Houston bus accident lawsuit or contact the negligent party’s insurance company?
Step one: call us. We can thoroughly analyze and investigate your case. Until then, you won’t know the best way to proceed – and you don’t want to get taken advantage of.
Insurance companies deploy many strategies designed to keep victims from receiving full compensation. An insurance company may offer a low payment for your claim, especially if it knows that you’re facing large medical bills or cannot work. In this case, the company assumes you’ll leap at the first chance of payment.
Insurance companies are notorious for unfairly casting aspersions on injured individuals, claiming that they caused or at least contributed to their own accidents. Insurance companies even delay answering calls and emails as a strategy, designed to increase injured individual’s desperation and make them settle for an amount that doesn’t cover their entire costs.
Additionally, you may experience challenges even finding the insurance company in a bus accident. If multiple parties bear responsibility, each may have different insurance carriers with different policies. It can turn into a confusing mess in the blink of an eye.
That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to an experienced Houston bus accident attorney before approaching an insurance company (or if you’ve already approached the company but aren’t receiving an adequate response). Attorneys know your rights – and how to protect them. They’ve also spent their careers honing their negotiation skills, which they will use to seek justice for you.
Attorneys can also prepare, file, and argue cases in court. A bus accident lawsuit may provide the spur an insurance company needs to pay out a fair claim. Failing that, judges and juries in civil courts may feel more sympathy for accident victims, as these decision-makers aren’t involved in a for-profit business like insurance companies.
What if I can’t afford a Houston bus accident lawyer?
Despite what you may believe, you can afford our Houston bus accident lawyers.
Just how much does a bus accident lawyer cost? Our Houston bus accident lawyers offer absolutely free initial consultations. During your initial call, you’ll describe what happened, who or what bore responsibility, and your injuries. You and your lawyer will discuss your case, and we will help determine if you qualify for compensation.
If you retain the lawyer after the initial consultation, you won’t have to pay the lawyer’s fees out of your pocket. Our bus accident lawyers work under a contingency fee agreement—this means they receive a percentage of the eventual damage compensation that their clients receive, only when the case is over.
Don’t hesitate to contact us because you feel you can’t afford us. You can, and you risk losing money by not working with our Houston bus accident lawyers, since we bring negotiating and investigation skills to the table. We handle all the headaches for you, like filing paperwork and arguing a legal suit.
Is there a time frame in which I have to consult an attorney after a Houston bus accident?
Generally, accident victims must file a suit within two years of the date of their bus accident, according to Texas law. This time frame is known as the statute of limitations. While a few exceptions exist, generally a court will not hear your case after the statute of limitations has lapsed. Make sure you call us now to allow as much time as possible to build a strong case.
What if my loved one died in a Houston bus accident?
Tragically, some bus accidents are fatal. You’ll undoubtedly suffer emotional devastation if someone dear to you dies a bus accident. You also may suffer financial hardship if your loved one was the primary breadwinner.
Texas law only allows certain parties to bring a wrongful death suit against negligent parties. You may bring a suit if you are:
- The surviving spouse of the deceased
- A child of the deceased (including adopted children and adult children)
- A parent (including adoptive parents)
- The executor or personal representative of the deceased’s estate, if the people listed above don’t take steps to bring a suit
Damage compensation in the following categories is available in wrongful death claims:
- Funeral costs
- Lost income and financial support formerly provided by the deceased
- Lost services, care, maintenance, support, and counsel formerly provided by the deceased
- Emotional and mental pain, suffering, and anguish
- Lost love and companionship
- Lost inheritance value, if a longer life would have resulted in a larger estate
Contact the Houston Bus Accident Lawyers at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, Today
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you were injured in a Houston bus accident, call our office right now for a free consultation! Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a DIME unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by CLICKING HERE.
“I was extremely impressed with how easy they made the process of dealing with my insurance company, doctors offices, and other bill collectors involved in my accident. They are very good at keeping you informed about your case, and turn your calls very quickly. If I am ever in another car accident I will be using them again.”
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