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.
We Never Back Down
Many riders rely on the Houston METRO day in and day out. But when a bus driver loses control and you can’t get your vehicle or yourself out of the way quickly enough, you suffer serious consequences.
A bus’s weight and mass can easily destroy a smaller vehicle. Even when traveling at moderate speeds, the force of a bus accident impact crushes a vehicle’s support structures. It easily crumples a car’s metal exterior and pushes into the passenger compartment.
Buses have the power to cause the types of injuries that forever change people’s lives. We’ve seen the aftermath firsthand, and we’re dedicated to helping victims recover.
If a bus driver’s reckless actions have injured you or your family member, you need a team of legal professionals with the manpower and the resources to make them pay. Contact Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers for more information.
We Work for Maximum Recovery
For over 20 years, the team of lawyers and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, has responded to injured victims when they needed legal help. We understand that injuries do not always occur during normal business hours. That’s why we are here 24/7, with serious legal representation available immediately to our clients.
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.
Day or night, we’re here when you call 800-898-4877. You can also click here to send us a message or begin a live chat with a member of our legal team. Get your immediate virtual consultation to determine if we can help you.
Naturally, bus accidents have always been more complex than accidents involving only private passenger vehicles. Our injured clients have often sustained serious or catastrophic injuries. Bus accident liability issues can involve multiple potentially responsible parties; our investigations have often revealed contractual and employment relationships with liability issues that extended beyond the negligent driver’s actions.
Our firm uses its vast experience and network of resources to tackle and resolve complex issues like these. We have worked closely with our clients and learned from personal experience how serious and catastrophic injuries have affected their lives. Our legal team has always been committed to doing everything within our power to achieve maximum damage recovery for our injured clients.
We Get Results
Our attorneys have produced millions of dollars in settlements and judgments by keeping our clients’ best interests in mind. We do it all: file lawsuits, conduct discovery, and present our evidence before a judge and jury. We conduct negotiations through mediation, arbitration, and settlement conferences, and we remain open to settlement even after we’ve initiated litigation.
Our team of legal professionals always prepare our cases early on to withstand whatever challenges we might face. We have no problem taking a tough stance on behalf of our clients. Every case is unique and we believe it’s important to share our accomplishments, so we invite you to view our Testimonials Page. We’re proud of the relationships we’ve developed with our injured clients and their families, and the satisfying results we’ve accomplished together.
You Cannot Avoid Buses in the Houston Area
Wherever you travel Houston’s roads and highways, you’re bound to find buses nearby. Each weekday, 1,236 METRO buses transport approximately 100,000 passengers on their routes. Houston Independent School District buses log 86,000 miles each day, transporting 36,000 students to schools throughout the city. Local and national bus lines and shuttles travel in and out of town, delivering tourists, commuters, and city residents to their destinations.
Similar to large tractor-trailer rigs weighing upwards of 10,000 pounds, buses have the advantage when it comes to weight and size. This allows them to inflict extensive damage and serious injuries when they crash into a smaller vehicle.
Most of the buses you see on the road fall within these Federal Highway Administration’s weight and class categories:
- Mini bus: Class two, 6,001 to 10,000 pounds; Class three, 10,001 to 14,000 pounds.
- School bus: Class six, 19,501 to 26,000 pounds.
- City transit bus: Class seven, 26,001 to 33,000 pounds.
- Tour bus: Class eight, 33,001 pounds and more.
How Do Bus Drivers Cause Accidents?
Bus drivers undergo training to obtain their commercial licenses and comply with plenty of federal, state, and local guidelines. But they are also human, and they make the same mistakes as other drivers on our roads. Plus, some bus drivers act downright irresponsible. To stay on schedule, they may cut you off and force their way into your lane.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other agencies track the worst commercial transportation accidents. They get a first-hand view of the issues that cause and contribute to commercial bus accidents.
Let it be known: the NTSB strongly disagrees with the idea of multitasking. Their investigators have seen how electronic devices and other distractions divert a driver’s attention away from the road. They’ve found that a driver using a phone is twice as likely to crash, and a texting driver is 23 times more likely to crash. They have also found hands-free devices are a big distraction as well. Traditionally, distracted driving has been hard to prove after an accident occurs, but law enforcement officers are adopting new strategies to figure it out. In the meantime, the NTSB recommends a ban on all electronic devices while drivers are behind the wheel.
No one should be drinking on the job, but this is especially true for bus drivers who may endanger others when under the influence of alcohol.
The NTSB wants to deal with alcohol-impaired driving by reducing the legal BAC limit to 0.05% for commercial drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has also proposed a rule prohibiting states to issue, reissue, or upgrade a CDL license when the driver has a documented history of alcohol or drug abuse.
As people begin using marijuana for recreational enjoyment, it is becoming more of a factor in vehicle accidents. Whether marijuana is legal in a bus driver’s state or not, it still impairs driving abilities and contributes to accidents. Even though marijuana is legal in many other states, it is not legal here in Texas.
In 1991 Congress passed the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, requiring agencies to implement drug testing of safety-sensitive transportation employees in the trucking (including school bus drivers, and certain limousine and van drivers) and mass transit industries, among others.
The NTSB acknowledges fatigue as a common contributing factor for commercial accidents. Drowsy driving situations can occur due to lack of sleep, prescription or recreational drug use, and health conditions such as sleep apnea. FMCSA Hours of Service guidelines exist to address drivers who exceed drive-time regulations.
The FMCSA found that speed was not necessarily a problem for commercial drivers. The speed issue is more related to driving at-speed, based on conditions. Buses require long stopping distances. When bus drivers travel 65 mph, they need a distance equal to two football fields to stop their vehicles. Stopping is also problematic at lower speeds during adverse weather or when pavement conditions present a hazard.
Age-Related Driving Issues
The FMCSA found that commercial drivers aged 66 or older had skill and performance issues. They have demonstrated a 6.64 times higher likelihood of being in a fatal accident than the safest drivers, aged 46 to 55.
What Injuries Do Bus Accidents Cause?
When they are involved in a crash, buses injure pedestrians, passengers in smaller vehicles, bikers, and other vulnerable people. Given a bus’s weight and mass, the frames of most vehicles cannot withstand the impact. Airbags, seatbelts, and infant car seats provide only limited protection from serious and catastrophic injuries in a bus accident.
Due to their increased vulnerability, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists will sustain even more serious injuries than vehicle passengers. Injuries may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Severe soft tissue tears and strains
- Shattered or fractured bones
- Neck injuries
- Internal damage
- Loss of bodily functions
- Severe burns
- Fatal injuries
Who Is Responsible for Paying Damages When a Bus Accident Occurs?
Generally, when a bus accident occurs, the driver is legally responsible. Depending on the circumstances, other entities may also share a driver’s legal liability.
- The bus company: U.S. Federal Transportation codes require that transportation employers monitor and test their drivers. If they find a problem, they must restrict their driving. When drivers operate a bus within their authority as an employee, their employer can be held responsible for their negligent actions. Employers are often responsible for negligent hiring. They could also be held liable when they negligently entrust a commercial vehicle to a driver who they knew or should have known had a bad driving record. Also, companies must test and monitor employees for alcohol and drug issues.
- The bus owner: When a transportation company leases a bus, the owner may share liability for damages caused by maintenance issues or defects.
- Maintenance/repair contractors: If a maintenance or repair issue causes an accident, maintenance companies and contractors may share liability for their negligent actions or inaction.
- The bus manufacturer: A bus manufacturer may share liability when a manufacturing defect causes or contributes to an accident.
- Contractually-liable entities: Corporations and other entities often transfer legal responsibilities via contracts, hold harmless agreements, liability waivers, or duty-to-defend provisions.
Recoverable Damages For a Bus Accident Injury
A settlement or judgment for a Texas bus accident injury usually includes economic and non-economic damages. Courts also award punitive damages under certain circumstances.
Economic damages include out-of-pocket costs for treatment and financial losses incurred during treatment and recovery. A settlement for a person who is still under treatment also includes a payment for their projected future costs.
Economic costs include:
- Income losses
- Medical costs and medication
- Prosthetic devices
- Mobility devices and structures
- Physical and psychological therapy
- Scar revision surgery
- Rehabilitation services
- Transportation costs
- Household services
- Funeral and burial expenses
Non-economic damages attempt to place a monetary value on an injured person’s psychological and emotional trauma from a bus accident. These damages consider how a person feels about their injuries and how the injuries affect their life.
Non-economic damages sometimes include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Physical and psychological impairment
- Loss of earning capacity
- Damage to spousal and familial relationships
When a court awards exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages, it is solely to punish responsible parties for their actions. Texas juries award exemplary damages based on standards outlined in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.003. An injured plaintiff must prove “…by clear and convincing evidence…” that the defendant caused harm due to fraud, malice, or gross negligence.
We Fight to Make Negligent Bus Companies Pay
Injury claims can be difficult, and negligent parties don’t always take responsibility as they should.
When a bus company injures you or your loved one, you might have a big fight on your hands. Don’t enter the ring alone.
Our mission is to hold negligent bus drivers accountable for their actions. We’ll do whatever it takes, including doing battle with bus companies, self-insured transportation corporations, insurance companies, their defense attorneys, and more.
A Houston bus accident lawyer can help you overcome obstacles such as:
- Reporting delays/misinformation: Delayed reporting is one of the simplest ways for a negligent party to avoid taking responsibility. Commercial entities sometimes force you to go on the offensive. If they do not report a claim to their insurer, you would have to file a lawsuit eventually. By then, critical evidence is often unavailable or lost completely. Misinformation is also a problem. Some sneaky drivers report accident facts in a way that makes them sound like the innocent party.
- Negotiation strategies: If and when an insurance carrier negotiates an injury claim, saving money is one of the primary goals. They sometimes offer a low settlement as part of an overall strategy. A low offer sometimes forces plaintiffs to sue. This can become a problem when a plaintiff’s attorney does not have the resources to litigate a case. The threat of incurring discovery expenses forces plaintiffs to make a decision: (1) Pay discovery costs and hope you get a big judgment so expenses do not matter; or (2) Settle the case for a low amount to avoid future costs and uncertainty.
- Affirmative defenses: When a negligent company or insurer forces a plaintiff to try a case, they plead affirmative defenses and hope for the best. While they might not get away without paying something, they bank on a jury rendering a verdict that is lower than the plaintiff’s true injury value.
Aggressive Legal Representation for Bus Accident Victims
Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers has the resources to litigate cases from discovery through trial. Our firm is willing to go head-to-head with insurers, self-insured entities, and their attorneys. We are prepared to aggressively present our clients’ cases during negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, and litigation. We have always done the hard work to produce maximum recovery for our injured clients.
Let our next victory be yours.
Our Houston Bus Accident Lawyers
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. We have always put our clients’ needs first. 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.
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 Attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, Today
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, 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.”
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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