What do I do if I am involved in a bus accident?
By GNGF on January 23rd, 2023 in
The first thing you should do after a bus accident is to seek medical help for your injuries. The next thing to do is to call a qualified personal injury lawyer that has experience suing bus companies. A bus accident is not like a “normal” car accident and there are many complex federal, state, and local laws that can affect your claim. Hiring the right lawyer to pursue your bus accident case is perhaps the single most important decision you will make. Do your research and make the right decision.
Texas DOT reports that in 2020 there were 8 fatalities from passenger bus accidents and 3 fatalities from school bus accidents. New Mexico had 2 fatalities from bus accidents in 2019, along with 85 serious injuries from bus accidents. Being involved in a bus accident can be a traumatic experience, since, like a large commercial truck, a bus accident often causes severe, even catastrophic injuries to passengers. Few buses contain safety devices like seatbelts and airbags, therefore, the sudden force of a stop and impact can result in serious injuries. Insurance companies may not want to pay what your damages are actually worth, leaving you facing mounting medical expenses plus an inability to pay your normal monthly expenses if your injuries kept you from returning to work.
Following your bus accident, you may feel that you are “fine,” so you do not seek medical treatment. When you are involved in an accident, adrenaline floods your body, masking symptoms of injury. Later, you may discover that you actually were injured during the bus collision, but the insurance company may claim that if you had been injured you would have immediately sought medical attention. It’s always better to have a medical professional check you out following a bus accident even when you think your injuries are minor.
If your injuries are not too severe, take photographs with your phone of anything that could potentially show who was at fault for the accident. If there were witnesses, get their names and contact information. This includes others on the bus as well as the bus driver. This information could be invaluable as your attorney builds a case on your behalf. Once you are home, take a few minutes to write down everything you can remember about the accident. The most important step you can take to safeguard your health and your financial future is to contact an experienced bus accident attorney who will fight for your rights and for a fair settlement.
If I am a passenger on a bus, do I have any special protections?
Passengers on a bus have the same rights as other passengers in motor vehicles. The passenger may have a claim against the bus driver and the bus company if the bus driver is at fault. Passengers may also have claims against other vehicles that negligently cause a bus accident. City buses like Sun Metro are governed by a law called the Texas Tort Claims Act. The TTCA has certain technical notice requirements and caps on damages that can dramatically alter your legal rights. Because of the complexities involved, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer immediately after a bus accident to protect your legal rights.
Like truck accidents, there may be more than one liable party in a bus accident. The bus driver could have caused the accident by being overly fatigued, distracted, impaired, or simply driving carelessly or negligently. If the bus company failed to do a thorough background check on the bus driver or failed to ensure the driver was properly trained to drive a bus, then the company may bear some responsibility for the accident as well. If the accident was the result of poor maintenance on the bus, then the maintenance company may have some liability for the accident.
Finally, if a defective bus part caused the accident, then the manufacturer of the bus or the bus part may have some liability as well. As you can see, bus accidents can be much more complex than typical passenger vehicle accidents. You need a bus accident attorney who understands the laws as they apply to bus accidents and who will zealously represent your interests.
How the Harmonson Law Firm with Offices in El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM Can Help
Being involved in a bus accident can be a traumatic experience. When an insurance company attempts to pay you much less than your injuries and other damages are worth, delays your claim, or flat-out denies the claim, your trauma can be compounded. Attorneys Hadley Huchton and Clark Harmonson from Harmonson Law Firm are ready to help you through this difficult time in your life. We understand that you may be feeling anxious about your future—both your health and your finances—and we will answer all your questions in a comprehensive manner to help set your mind at ease.
At Harmonson Law Firm, we will make the personal injury claims process as stress-free as possible. We know that you have many choices when deciding on a personal injury attorney. We believe that if you talk to one of our attorneys, your choice will be clear. We have the skills and experience necessary to secure a full and fair settlement for you and we also have a level of commitment rarely seen. You are not just another client—you are important to us, and we will always treat you with respect. Let Harmonson Law Firm deal with the legalities of your bus accident claim, while you have time to heal. Contact Harmonson Law Firm today. Please note that nothing herein is meant as legal advice specifically related to your case.