Bus accidents are different from other types of vehicle accidents. You will benefit from working with a Longview bus accident attorney that understands those differences and how they may impact your claim.
Consider the following key points about bus accidents in East Texas:
A bus accident can lead to a huge financial loss for the company that insures the bus. Given what is at stake, an insurance company will act quickly to investigate the crash and try to find ways to lessen or deny your claim. You will need to act quickly, too.
An experienced lawyer can help you by going to the accident scene, interviewing witnesses and making sure that important physical evidence and documents are preserved, gathered and examined.
A timely and thorough investigation of the bus accident can make a major difference in the outcome of your case.
Buses are unique vehicles. They are larger and weigh more than passenger vehicles. Their shape also makes them prone to rollovers. Additionally, many buses lack seat belts.
All of these factors can contribute to catastrophic, or life-changing, injuries in a bus crash, including multiple fractures, soft tissue damage, traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries and spinal cord injuries.
An experienced bus accident attorney will know how to pursue compensation for all medical bills and treatments brought on by your bus accident injuries.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) safety regulations govern many aspects of the commercial bus industry, including bus driver hiring, training and supervision and the inspection, maintenance and repair of buses. A lawyer can determine whether one or more specific rules violations entitles you to compensation.
Additionally, a lawyer should understand the specific rules that apply to school bus accidents in Texas, including the standards established by the Texas Department of Public Safety’s School Bus Transportation Program.
Driver negligence serves as one of the leading causes of bus accidents in East Texas. Examples of bus driver negligence include:
Distracted driving (texting or talking on a phone, eating, drinking or trying to read a map while driving or allowing passengers to behave in an unsafe, distracting manner)
Speeding and aggressive driving (breaking the speed limit, going too fast for conditions, tailgating or recklessly changing lanes)
Driving while fatigued (in many cases, due to being on the road too long without a break)
Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs (including prescription or over-the-counter medications that impairment)
If a bus driver’s negligence causes a crash, the bus driver can be held liable. However, the bus driver’s employer – whether it is a tour bus company or a school system – can be held liable, too, based on its employee’s negligence. In some cases, the employer has caused a crash due to its own negligence. For instance, a tour bus company may have hired an unqualified driver or forced a driver to meet an unrealistic schedule, leading to fatigue that caused an accident.
If improper vehicle maintenance caused a bus crash, the driver, bus owner/operator and/or maintenance contractor could all be at fault.
If an accident occurred because the bus or one its parts was defectively designed or manufactured, then a product liability suit could be brought against the bus or part manufacturer.
A lawyer will thoroughly investigate your case and identify all parties who should be held accountable for your injuries and losses.
In a motor vehicle accident, you typically file a claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurer. However, in a bus accident, your lawyer may sort through multiple insurance policies in order to seek a maximum recovery for you, including the driver’s policy, the policy of the bus owner/operator and, in some cases, your own insurance.
Generally, you must file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas within two years after an accident occurs. If your loved one dies in a crash, you must file a claim within two years of the death.
These time limits are called the statute of limitations. Under a few exceptions, you may have a longer time period in which to file a lawsuit.
However, if your case involves a bus owned and operated by a state, county or city – for instance, a school bus or Longview Transit bus – you may need to file written notice of your claim as early as within three months after the accident.
A lawyer will make sure that you meet all deadlines in your case or advise you if a deadline has already passed.
As you can see, bus accident cases differ in many ways from other types of motor vehicle accident cases. However, one thing is the same: You should never accept a settlement offer before you talk with a lawyer.
An attorney from The Sloan Firm can conduct a comprehensive investigation of your case, comb through your medical records, consult with experts and review all insurance policies in order to assess the full value of your claim and amount of available compensation.
Depending on the circumstances of your bus accident and your injuries, you may be entitled to seek compensation for damages that include:
Once we review your case, we can advise you on whether to accept an insurance company’s settlement offer. If necessary, an experienced trial lawyer from our firm can prepare your case for court.
At The Sloan Firm, what matters to you, matters to us. If you were injured in a serious bus accident crash, we will be in your corner to fight for you and help you through the aftermath.
Throughout your case, we will listen closely to you and tailor our legal strategy towards reaching your goals. We see the person behind the injury.
Our firm handles personal injury cases, wrongful death cases and accidents involving motor vehicles on a contingency fee basis. We will not be paid unless we win for you.
Don’t wait to get help. Learn more about your legal rights and options after a bus accident. Get in touch with our lawyers today and receive a free legal consultation about your case. We serve clients in Longview, Houston and all of East Texas, as well as Santa Fe, New Mexico.