In Houston, many of us use buses to get to work or school or to travel to another city. Unfortunately, with Houston’s dense traffic, accidents are an all-too-common occurrence.
When an accident involves a bus, the innocent, injured victims are left to deal with the consequences of their injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, and reduced quality of life caused by pain and disability. Those injured in a bus accident should not have to deal with the financial burdens of their injuries. Nor should they have to deal with the stress they feel when fighting with large companies and insurance firms to get the compensation they deserve.
For more than 25 years, our trial lawyers at The Callahan Law Firm have worked tirelessly to help Houston citizens get back to their normal lives after a life-altering accident. Our firm is focused on seeking the best possible outcome in our clients’ personal injury claims. We do not rest until we have secured full and fair compensation for our client’s injuries.
Many other lawyers throughout the Houston area and other cities in Texas handle hundreds, if not thousands, of cases at a time. We do things differently and intentionally handle fewer cases at a time, which gives us the ability to give you and your case the full attention it deserves. We make sure we are available to you to speak in person, over the phone, through a video call, an email, or a text. We are here to answer your questions and keep you updated on the progress of your case.
Our mission is to secure a positive outcome for you. Our legal team is led by Michael Callahan who is board certified in personal injury trial law, and our staff has extensive experience in the insurance industry.
Contact our law firm by calling us to set up a free case review with one of our experienced Houston accident lawyers. Call us or contact us online today.
Why Are Bus Accidents So Complicated?
Pursuing a bus accident injury claim often turns into a far more complicated process than pursuing a typical car accident claim. Crashes involving buses tend to become more complex than other motor vehicle accidents for these reasons:
- More serious injuries – Bus accidents tend to result in life-altering injuries. Passengers on the bus do not have the benefit of seatbelts or airbags to help prevent injuries. Even when it collides with a smaller vehicle, passengers inside the bus can be seriously hurt.
- More injuries– Collisions involving buses can leave numerous people inside and outside the bus with serious accident injuries. When multiple people are injured, the financial resources of the at-fault party may be quickly exhausted. That means some or all of the injured may not get full compensation for their injuries and damages.
- More vehicles involved – Accidents that occur in downtown Houston or other densely populated areas can easily involve multiple vehicles. Having multiple vehicles in the crash can make it difficult to determine how the accident transpired and who may have been at fault.
- Multiple liable parties – Many different persons, companies, and public entities can be involved in putting buses on the road. Each of these parties may be responsible for causing a crash, or multiple parties may all share some portion of fault for an accident.
- Complex insurance coverage – Many bus companies have complicated insurance structures, such as layered coverages that do not kick in unless other policies are exhausted, or other conditions are met. These complicated structures can make it difficult to know how much money is available to compensate for everyone’s injuries and damages.
- More state and federal regulations – Accidents that involve buses require our attorneys to review many more pieces of evidence than a typical car accident. State and federal regulations govern all kinds of buses. Different regulations may apply to charter, intercity, public transit, or school buses.
- Busses operated by local governments – Many city bus services are operated wholly or in part by the local city government in whose jurisdiction they operate, such as METRO in Houston. A separate body of law often governs claims against these kinds of operators and involve short deadlines to provide notice as well as limits on the amount an injured person can recover.
HOW A LAWYER CAN HELP IF YOU’VE BEEN HURT IN A BUS CRASH IN HOUSTON
If you have been hurt in a bus collision in Houston and it wasn’t your fault, you should not have to pursue financial compensation for your injuries and damages on your own. A Houston accident attorney from The Callahan Law Firm can help you by:
- Conducting a detailed investigation of your accident to secure relevant evidence. We then do an exhaustive review of the evidence to determine how the accident occurred and identify the party or parties responsible for causing the crash.
- Determining the extent of financial resources (such as layered insurance policies) available to compensate you and others injured because of the accident.
- Guide you through the legal process and protect your rights. We are familiar with the specific laws and regulations governing such accidents in Houston.
- Working with accident reconstruction experts in complicated cases to build a strong case that shows how and why the other party or parties are liable for the accident and your injuries.
- Filing claims for compensation with the liable parties and their insurance companies. We will aggressively negotiate for a settlement that provides you and your family with full compensation.
- Using our extensive litigation experience to prepare your claim for trial when necessary, and present the case to a jury if the insurance company refuses to treat you fairly.
Call our Houston bus accident lawyers today to learn more about how we can help you in filing a personal injury claim. An experienced lawyer will make all the difference if you have been injured while riding a bus.
COMPENSATION FOR INJURIES AFTER AN ACCIDENT
After you have been injured in a bus collision in Houston, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages from the accident. Compensation may include:
- Past, ongoing, and future medical and personal care expenses, such as hospital bills, surgeries, physical therapy, medications, home health care, or mobility equipment.
- Lost wages and income and lost earning capacity, if you miss time from work while recovering from your injuries, or if your injuries leave you with disabilities that prevent you from working to your full capacity or prevent you from working altogether.
- Pain and suffering for physical pain and emotional distress, and this includes both past and future pain and suffering associated with the accident.
- Physical impairment because of the inability to participate in activities you enjoyed prior to your accident.
- Disfigurement leading to loss of quality of life.
- Loss of consortium, which provides compensation to your spouse for the loss of your companionship due to your injuries.
If you lose a loved one, our lawyers can file a wrongful death claim and recover:
- Financial losses resulting from the death, such as medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and loss of future income and benefits.
- Non-economic damages for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and emotional distress caused by the death of a loved one.
- Punitive damages if the responsible party’s actions were particularly reckless or egregious these are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from similar conduct.
You may also be entitled to seek compensation for any property of yours that was damaged in the accident. For example, if a bus collides with your vehicle when driving, you should be entitled to compensation for the vehicle’s damage.
WHO MAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR A BUS COLLISION IN HOUSTON?
Depending on the public agency or company responsible for operating a bus involved in your crash, multiple parties might be held responsible for your accident. Potentially liable parties in such accidents in Houston may include:
- The driver
- The company that owns or operates the bus, such as a corporate shuttle company, charter company, or intercity bus company
- Public transit agencies such as METRO, in accidents that involve public buses like the Houston Metro bus
- Local school districts and/or the transportation agency hired by the school district, if the accident involves a bus transporting school children
- The bus manufacturer or an auto parts manufacturer
- Third-party mechanics responsible for maintaining the bus
Our attorneys will thoroughly review your case to identify each party that may bear responsibility for your injuries and damages.
TIME LIMIT FOR FILING A BUS ACCIDENT CLAIM IN HOUSTON
Under the state’s statute of limitations in Texas, you generally have two years from the date of your bus accident that happens in Texas in which to file a lawsuit for your injuries and damages from the crash. If you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the court will dismiss your suit before you even get to trial.
In addition to the statute of limitations, if your accident claim involves a public transit agency or another unit of state or local government, under Texas’s Tort Claims Act, you have even shorter time limits by which you must provide the government agency with proper notice of your claim, sometimes as soon as 90 days from the date of your accident. And if you fail to provide proper, timely notice, you can be barred or prevented from ever making your claim.
TYPES OF BUS ACCIDENT CASES WE HANDLE
Buses are operated by a wide variety of public transit agencies, state and local units, and private companies. Our knowledgeable and experienced bus accident lawyers at The Callahan Law Firm can help you pursue a claim for compensation following an accident with any of the following bus types:
- Public transit system
- Airport or corporate shuttle
- Charter buses
COMMON CAUSES OF HOUSTON BUS ACCIDENTS
An accident may occur due to the negligence or recklessness of a bus driver or the companies or entities that operate buses in Houston and throughout Texas. Common causes of bus accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Careless or reckless driving, such as unsafe lane changes or failing to signal or check mirrors and blind spots
- Wide turns, or when the driver moves to the left before taking a right turn
- Fatigued driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Improper or inadequate bus maintenance
- Defective parts or defective design or manufacture of the bus
- Poor road maintenance, leading to potholes, broken pavement, or debris in the road
How Common Are Bus Crashes?
Crashes involving buses in Houston are not very common as compared to car accident cases, but they do happen occasionally. The sheer volume of buses and other vehicles on the roads increases the likelihood of accidents occurring. In 2021, someone died on Texas roadways every single day because of an accident.
In 2020, there were 2,645 bus crashes in Texas, including 2,032 commercial and 613 school buses, on both urban and rural bus routes. Of these accidents, 11 resulted in one or more fatalities, and 55 resulted in serious injuries. These statistics do not mean crashes involving buses are always minor or harmless. Many people have been killed in a bus accident. Passengers, the driver, and other motorists can suffer severe injury or death if the bus is traveling at high speed, collides with a large truck, rolls over, catches fire, or has defective parts.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE BEEN HURT DUE TO AN ACCIDENT
After you have been injured in a bus accident due to any reason that’s not your fault, keep these steps in mind. Following them can help protect your legal rights and your options for pursuing financial compensation for your injuries and damages:
- Call 911 if no one else has. Although someone (usually the driver) will likely contact 911 following an accident, you should call 911 if no one else has. Your call will summon paramedics and the police, who will come to the scene, investigate the collision, determine fault in many instances, and prepare an accident report. You or your attorney may need to request a copy of the police accident report from the police department as well as the officer’s investigation file.
- Get the driver’s name and contact information for their employer. Be sure to also get the contact and insurance information for any other motorists involved in the accident, including the bus driver and his employer. That way, you will know who you need to contact if you later file a claim for compensation.
- Document the accident scene. If you are safely able to do so, take photos and videos of the bus and other vehicles involved in the accident. Items to photograph can include relevant traffic controls at the scene, damage to the vehicles and property involved, debris from the crash, including tire tread and vehicle parts, lighting conditions, as well as traffic and road conditions. Photograph any visible injuries you suffered. If there were any eyewitnesses to the accident, try to get a short statement or their contact information. Your attorney can take a statement from them later, as necessary.
- Keep your ticket or boarding pass. This shows that you were on the bus at the time the accident happened.
- Get examined by paramedics at the scene, your primary doctor, or a hospital physician. The shock of an accident can mask your pain or other symptoms of an injury for hours, days, or weeks after an accident. A physical exam can reveal injuries before they begin to worsen and cause you even greater pain. Quickly identifying your injuries not only improves the prognosis of your treatment but also allows you to argue more persuasively that those injuries were caused by your crash.
- Avoid posting about the accident on social media. Insurance companies are notorious for finding a reason not to pay out claims, and if you post on social media, they may look for things to use against you.
- Talk to a Houston bus accident attorney from The Callahan Law Firm. We can help you understand your legal rights and options after your accident in Houston. Our personal injury lawyers can walk you through the process of pursuing a compensation claim for your injuries and damages if you have been involved in a bus accident.
Injuries Common in Bus Accidents
Accidents in general can result in a wide range of injuries, varying in severity depending on the circumstances of the accident. Some injuries common in bus accidents include:
- Whiplash: This is a common injury that occurs due to the sudden jerking motion of the head and neck. Whiplash can cause neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and other symptoms.
- Fractures: The impact of an accident can lead to broken bones in various parts of the body, such as arms, legs, ribs, or the pelvis.
- Head and brain injuries: Those involved in accidents may suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) if they hit their heads on hard surfaces during the crash. TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe, life-altering injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries: The force of the accident can cause injuries to the back and spinal cord, leading to conditions like herniated discs, spinal fractures, or even paralysis.
- Soft tissue injuries: These injuries involve damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Common soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, and bruises.
- Cuts and lacerations: Broken glass, loose objects, or sharp debris in an accident cause cuts and lacerations that may require medical attention.
- Internal injuries: The impact of the accident can cause damage to internal organs, such as the lungs, liver, or kidneys. Internal injuries may not always be apparent and can be life-threatening if left untreated.
It’s important to note that the severity and types of injuries can vary widely depending on factors such as the speed of the vehicles involved, the use of seatbelts, the size and type of bus, and other circumstances specific to the accident. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident on a bus, it’s advisable to seek medical attention and get a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney who can provide guidance based on the specific details of the case.
Safety Tips for Passengers
While bus drivers are responsible for taking you safely to your destination, it’s essential to be prepared and follow safety guidelines to minimize the risk of injury. Here are some safety tips for passengers to reduce the chances of injury in the event of an accident:
- Wear your seatbelt: If there are seatbelts, ensure that you buckle up properly. Seatbelts can significantly reduce the risk of injury during sudden stops, collisions, or rollovers.
- Choose a safe seating position: When boarding, choose a seat closer to the front and away from the areas most susceptible to impact, such as the rear or sides. Seats near emergency exits can also be advantageous in case of evacuation.
- Hold on to handrails or seatbacks: Use the handrails or seatbacks for support while standing or moving around. This provides stability and helps prevent falls during sudden maneuvers or if the bus encounters rough road conditions.
- Avoid standing while the bus is in motion: Whenever possible, find a seat and avoid standing while the bus is moving. If you must stand, hold on to secure handrails with a firm grip to maintain balance.
- Listen to safety instructions: Pay attention to safety instructions provided by the driver or any announcements the bus driver may make on the bus. Follow their guidance in case of an emergency or if specific safety measures need to be taken.
- Stay seated until the bus stops: It is crucial to remain seated until the bus comes to a complete stop before standing up or moving towards the exit. Sudden stops or decelerations can cause passengers to lose balance and get injured.
- Stay clear of the doors: Avoid standing or leaning against the doors. These areas are more susceptible to impact during sudden stops, and you could be at risk of injury.
- Be cautious when boarding or exiting: Take extra care when boarding or exiting. Watch your step, especially when using stairs or ramps, and use handrails or support. Be mindful of your surroundings and traffic when getting on or off.
- Report unsafe conditions: If you notice any safety hazards or concerns regarding the bus or its equipment, promptly report them to the driver, bus company’s representatives, or to relevant authorities. This can help address potential risks and prevent accidents.
- Stay calm during emergencies: In the event of an accident, try to remain calm and follow the instructions provided by the driver or emergency personnel. Panicking can hinder your ability to respond effectively.
Remember, such accidents are rare, but staying informed and prepared is important. Following these tips can help minimize the risk of you being seriously injured in a bus accident in Houston. And if the unfortunate happens, you can get a free consultation with professional and experienced legal counsel.
Talk to a Bus Accident Lawyer in Houston Now
If you have been injured in a bus accident, talk to the Houston bus accident attorneys at The Callahan Law Firm today by calling us or reaching out online now. We have the appropriate strategies to increase your chances of a successful outcome. Do not wait another day to schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our knowledgeable lawyers for a free evaluation of your case. We offer services throughout the greater Houston area and Pasadena, Texas.
You will learn about your legal rights and how an experienced attorney may make a difference in your case. You owe us no fees unless you win.