Buses are critical to the public transportation infrastructure of any major city. They provide commuters with an affordable way to get around town and help ease traffic congestion. Unfortunately, those large vehicles are also capable of causing catastrophic accidents. You may find yourself seeking the assistance of a bus accident lawyer following your involvement in one.
In Bexar County and the rest of Texas, carriers including Via Metropolitan Transit, the Imperial Bus Company, the San Antonio Charter Bus Company, US Coachways, Longhorn Charter Bus San Antonio, Kerrville Bus-Coach USA, Fiesta Transit, and Star & Shuttle Charter owe it to their passengers and other motorists to operate safely.
They cannot be negligent regarding maintenance and/or operation. If they are, you should work with a skilled San Antonio bus accident attorney from a San Antonio injury law firm to hold them accountable.
Texas Bus Accident Injuries
There are a lot of different causes of bus accidents in San Antonio and Bexar County, TX, but generally, they all have one thing in common: serious and life-altering injuries can occur in a bus accident. Whether you’re a passenger on a public bus, such as VIA, a school bus, or a chartered tour bus, accidents in San Antonio involving these massive passenger vehicles are usually among the most devastating motor vehicle accidents.
In fact, in 2017 a school bus accident sent twenty-three elementary aged students to local hospitals as a result of a single bus accident. Additionally, nearly 100 people were seriously injured over the past year in San Antonio as a result of public transit bus accidents.
Whether you’ve been injured in a school bus, public transportation bus, or chartered bus, you will soon find that the insurance companies for the bus operators are not helpful, and will either drag their feet (a stall tactic designed to make you miss important deadlines), or they will hurry and offer a low-ball settlement offer (almost always for far less than your claim is worth).
Sadly, because many busses are not equipped with seat belts, or have seat belts that don’t work properly, serious injuries and fatalities are common in bus crash cases.
Causes of Bus Accidents in San Antonio
Identifying the cause of the bus accident can point you in the direction of the party ultimately responsible for what happened. Below are some of the most common causes of bus accidents in San Antonio and Bexar County.
Impaired Driving: Bus drivers who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol pose a serious danger to their passengers and the motorists around them. In addition, those suffering from extreme fatigue and/or stress present a similar threat. If you are a bus driver dealing with those issues, you should stay home instead of hitting the road.
Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is another common cause of bus accidents in Bexar County. A bus driver who is eating or checking something on their phone may not see a car in front of them. They may only realize the error of their ways after the crash.
Reckless Driving: Reckless drivers who have a habit of speeding or cutting other drivers off can be dangerous. They are not fit to drive private cars, let alone large buses.
Inadequate Maintenance: Bus companies should keep their fleet of vehicles well-maintained. If an accident occurs because the bus did not function properly, they will likely be made to answer for what happened.
Equipment Failure: Components used to repair buses may not always work as intended. That kind of thing could happen if the product used to restore the bus to its working state were defective.
Who Is Responsible For a Bus Accident in San Antonio?
A bus accident is not like a typical car accident. In bus accidents, the parties you may seek compensation from include the bus driver, the bus company, the government, and the party responsible for delivering a defective product.
More often than not, plaintiffs in accidents involving private bus companies should sue the companies themselves. Plaintiffs have the right to do that because of the legal concept known as respondeat superior. Essentially, that legal concept holds bus companies responsible for the actions of their drivers.
Securing compensation will be significantly harder if you are going up against public entities. Plaintiffs in those cases only have ninety days to file their claims. Moving with great urgency is a must if you want your lawsuit to have a chance. Hiring a lawyer who has experience with those cases is also highly recommended.
You can also seek compensation from the bus driver who caused your accident, but that may only be allowed if they intentionally committed certain actions that put the people around them in grave danger. If the investigation reveals that a defective component caused the bus to move out of control, then your bus accident case will turn into a product liability lawsuit. Your goal is to identify the party responsible for delivering the defective component. Sue them if you want compensation in your case.
Types of Bus Accidents Barrus Injury Law Handles
No matter what kind of bus accident you are involved in, our San Antonio, Texas personal injury lawyers can help you out. Examples of the bus accident cases we frequently deal with are detailed below.
Passenger Bus Accidents
According to a report published by the United States Census Bureau, 46.3% of all public commuters in the country regard the bus as their preferred mode of public transport. That translates to around 3.6 million commuters all over the country.
Passenger bus companies owe a duty to their passengers to keep them safe. They also owe that duty to the motorists who share the road with their buses. If you are a San Antonio resident who was recently in an accident involving Via Metropolitan Transit, the Imperial Bus Company, the San Antonio Charter Bus Company, US Coachways, Longhorn Charter Bus San Antonio, Kerrville Bus-Coach USA, Fiesta Transit, or Star & Shuttle Charter, we can help you obtain compensation for what happened.
School Bus Accidents
Accidents involving public buses are scary. The accidents involving school buses are terrifying. When you see an accident involving a school bus, you probably worry about the safety of the children right away. Per the National Safety Council, around 5% of the people who died in school bus accidents were the passengers of the bus themselves.
Notably, these accidents seem to be even more dangerous for other motorists. For example, the same article from the National Safety Council notes that 70% of the people who died in those school bus accidents were occupants of other vehicles. Be wary of driving near buses of all kinds because they can be dangerous.
Shuttle Bus Accidents
Some companies and establishments use shuttle buses to quickly get people from one place to another. These shuttle buses often do not cover great distances, but they can still get into accidents. Make sure you hold the appropriate party responsible if you are ever involved in a shuttle bus accident.
How Much Is My Bus Accident Claim Worth?
While pursuing your San Antonio personal injury lawsuit, the party responsible for the bus accident may opt to settle your case. However, before you agree to any settlement offer, you should know how much these claims are typically worth. Settlements in bus accident cases where the plaintiff was not seriously injured may be around $100,000. However, if you sustained severe and/or long-term injuries from the accident, you might receive an offer north of $200,000.
Bus accidents that lead to wrongful deaths can settle for significantly higher amounts. In that scenario, it is common for a plaintiff who has partnered with a Texas wrongful death lawyer to walk away with a settlement worth more than $2.5 million. It is also important to point out that the principle of proportionate responsibility can affect how much an accident claim is worth.
They can reduce a plaintiff’s final compensation c by the percentage of blame they shoulder for the accident. If they bear more than 50% of the blame, then they will not be eligible to receive compensation.
What to Do if You Are in a Bus Accident in San Antonio
Bus accident sites in San Antonio are often chaotic. Unfortunately, in the midst of all that chaos, you may take certain actions that could jeopardize your claim down the line. Avoid making potentially costly mistakes by following the steps detailed below.
- Check if You Are Injured: You must always prioritize your safety following a San Antonio bus accident. Check if you are injured and do the same for anyone in the vehicle with you.
- Call 911: Place a call to 911 and ask them to send an ambulance if you or anyone else at the Texas accident site appears badly hurt. You should call 911 even if you do not see anyone seriously injured because you will need police officers at the scene.
- Obtain Information from the Bus Driver: If you can move around after the accident, you should take that opportunity to approach the bus driver and request their information. Ask for their name, contact details, insurance information, and additional details about their employer.
- Document the Accident: Next, you need to start gathering evidence for your San Antonio personal injury lawsuit. Take videos and photos of the accident site so you can examine them later. You should also speak with any witnesses who can detail what happened.
- Speak to the Police Officers: Speak to the police officers as soon as they get to the scene of the accident. Tell them your story and ask for their names and contact details so you and your attorney can retrieve the official police report later.
- Notify Your Insurer: You must also notify your insurer if you were involved in a bus accident. For now, simply provide your information and the bus driver’s information. Do not get into the specifics of what happened until you have talked to your lawyer.
- Visit Your Doctor: Any type of auto accident can cause serious injury. Therefore, you should head to your doctor as soon as possible to check if you have any injuries that have gone unnoticed thus far.
- Hire a Bus Accident Lawyer: If you do not have one yet, now is the time for you to hire a personal injury lawyer. Their assistance will be critical if your goal is to recoup compensation from the bus company.
Bus Accident Law Firm
If you, or a loved one, has been injured or killed in a bus accident in San Antonio or Bexar County, you need someone in your corner fighting for your rights. Make no mistake about it, the insurance companies for the bus operators have teams of investigators, adjusters, and attorneys who are all working against you – don’t you deserve to have a skilled bus accident law firm working for you?
Our bus accident attorneys have handled serious bus accident injuries and helped injured victims get the compensation they need and deserve to get their lives back on track, and we can help you too.
Some of the cities in Bexar County which our bus accident lawyers serve include: San Antonio, Kirby, Leon Valley, Converse, Live Oak, Universal City, Schertz, New Braunfels, Pleasanton, Seguin, Canyon Lake, Hondo, San Marcos, Kyle, Kerryville and Lockhart.