A car has rear-ended a school bus.

When individuals think about vehicle collisions, it is easy to envision a car-on-car collision. However, bus accidents create a lot more devastation due to the vehicle’s larger size and greater passenger capacity. Unfortunately, the number of fatal bus crashes has only increased over the past few years. 

The State of Texas is the third highest state in the country for bus accidents. In 2022, there were a total of 1,149 bus collisions that resulted in 528 individuals who suffered serious injuries. These accidents were also responsible for 20 deaths.

Most of these accidents were caused by negligence on the part of the bus company or the bus driver. Children are the most prone to serious injury and trauma from these types of accidents since most bus accidents involve a school bus.

The victims of these accidents shouldn’t have to struggle to put the pieces of their lives back together. The bus accident attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. have dedicated their lives to being advocates for the victims of bus accidents in Dallas, Abilene, and Amarillo, Texas. Here is more information on bus accidents and how our legal services can help you get the compensation you deserve to cover medical expenses and damages.

A legal statue with the Texas flag.

The massive size of buses, the speed at which the vehicle is moving, and the sheer destruction that results from a collision make bus accidents one of the most catastrophic types of vehicle collisions. For example, a fully loaded 40-foot transit bus weighs approximately 36,000 pounds as opposed to a standard 4-door sedan that weighs 2,000-2,600 lbs, depending on how many passengers are in the car.

Serious injuries and death are often a result of bus accidents, though the victims who suffer these injuries and fatalities are often the occupants of other vehicles and not the individuals on the bus. To understand the complexity of bus collisions, it is important to take a close look at the causes, consequences, and legal implications. Here is an overview of these areas of bus accidents:

Causes of Bus Accidents

Causes of Bus accidents can be separated into four different categories:

  • Negligence of the bus driver
  • Negligence of the bus company
  • Negligence of another driver
  • Negligence of a manufacturer

Negligence on the Part of the Bus Driver: A majority of bus accidents are caused due to the careless or reckless actions of the bus driver. These errors put not only the passengers of the bus at risk but also other motor vehicles on the road. Some of the most common forms of negligence from a bus driver are as follows:

  • Distracted Driving
  • Driving while fatigued
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Improper merging
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Negligence on the Part of the Bus Company: Although the driver may have been primarily responsible for the accident, the bus company may be the true party responsible if the following occurred:

  • Allowed or pressured drivers to drive beyond their allotted hours of service.
  • Failed to adequately vet a driver’s background and qualifications
  • Failed to perform proper maintenance or needed repairs on the bus
  • Failed to provide proper training for their bus drivers
  • Inadequate policies or failure to properly enforce policies regarding safe driving practices or the use of substances, such as drugs or alcohol

Negligence on the Other Driver’s Part: In some cases, it may not be the bus driver who is at fault for the accident. Other drivers on the road can also be responsible for the collision if they are driving recklessly. These include the following actions:

  • Speeding
  • Failure to keep their vehicle properly maintained
  • Driving too fast for road conditions
  • Failure to properly merge into a lane that has a bus
  • Following too closely
  • Distracted driving
  • Aggressive driving
  • Fatigue
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Negligence on the Part of the Bus or Parts Manufacturer: Another potentially responsible party may be the manufacturer of the bus or bus parts. This category would fall under product liability, as the accident cause would be a defect in a component on the bus. This can include anything from having faulty lights on the bus to faulty brakes.

Companies that design, manufacture, or sell a defective product to a bus company can be held liable for the damages and injuries that the victims of the bus accident sustain if it can be shown that the accident was caused by the defective part. It takes an experienced bus accident attorney though to prove this, as the manufacturer will often try to point to the bus driver or the bus company for fault in order to avoid liability. The attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. will not let that happen. We will do a thorough investigation to get to the root cause of the accident, so we can ensure that the proper party is held responsible for their actions.

What Are the Consequences of Bus Accidents?

A bus accident on a street.

Regardless of whether it is the passenger of a bus that is injured or the driver/passenger of another vehicle that sustains injuries, the damage is often life-altering. This is due in part to the sheer size and power of a bus.

The impact alone can throw passengers off the bus out of their seats, crush the other vehicles involved, or cause the bus to flip over. This can lead to serious injuries as passengers in the bus or other vehicles get violently tossed around. In worst cases, the impact could lead to the bus or other vehicle catching fire, trapping the passengers and driver inside, and leading to serious burns or disfigurement. 

Common injuries that often result from bus accidents are as follows:

What Are the Legal Implications of a Bus Accident?

The aftermath of a bus accident can be devastating. Medical expenses, struggling to recover from the injuries, the financial downfall from missed time at work, and the damage to personal property such as the car can be overwhelming for victims. In most cases, the victims and their families aren’t able to handle the sudden changes that result from these types of accidents. It shouldn’t be left for the victim and their families to figure out how to put their lives back together on their own. 

Unfortunately, the insurance company for the at-fault party may try to get the victim to admit partial fault or say that their injuries are not that bad. They may also try to get victims to agree to accept the lowest compensation possible, by dressing it up as something that they are doing for the victim. In reality, the insurance company is only acting in their own best interests and not the interests of the victim. To protect their rights, the victim of a bus accident must contact a Dallas bus accident attorney before they ever talk with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Never sign anything in writing or agree to anything verbally without having your attorney present. Agreement to a settlement can result in you being unable to pursue a fair settlement in court, so it is important to ensure that the settlement the insurance company is offering is fair and covers all of your damages. 

A bus accident attorney will help you understand exactly how much your case is worth and give you better insight into whether the settlement that the insurance company is offering is fair. In addition to this knowledge, insurance companies tend to act a bit differently towards the injured party of an accident when they know that they have legal representation.

How Can I Prove the Cause of a Bus Accident?

To get compensation for injuries and damages, it needs to be established that the defendant is liable for the accident. This is the first step towards filing a successful claim. To do this, an investigation needs to be conducted as soon as possible after the accident. This investigation will involve examining the scene of an accident, inspecting the bus and the other vehicles involved, and gathering evidence such as photos, police reports, witness statements, and maintenance records. A bus accident attorney will be able to investigate the accident on your behalf while you are focusing on your recovery.

Comparative Negligence in Bus Accident Cases in Texas

A car has rear-ended a commercial bus.

Comparative negligence is a legal term that describes the determination of the percentage of fault for an accident. This means that all cases where multiple parties may be considered at fault for an accident will be looked at carefully to determine their portion of responsibility. This is done by establishing the following:

  • A claimant (the injured party) may not recover damages if their percentage of fault is greater than 50%
  • If the claimant’s percentage of fault is not greater than 50%, then the claimant is eligible to recover damages, but their award will be reduced by the amount of fault they were responsible for. 

For example, a bus driver was following too closely behind a vehicle, the vehicle in front suddenly slammed on brakes to turn and the bus hit the back of the car. While the bus driver would be considered at fault for following too closely, the driver of the car, who failed to signal properly, could also be considered at partial fault.

If the bus driver is shown to be at 75% fault and the driver of the car is found to be at 25%, then the driver of the car may seek compensation, but the amount they receive will be reduced by the 25% they were responsible for. If this means that they could receive compensation for $100,000, the money they would actually receive would be $75,000.

Why Choose Hernandez Law Group for Your Bus Accident Case?

The Hernandez Law Group, P.C. was founded on the principle that every individual deserves experienced legal representation to ensure that they can have a successful recovery after an accident. Injured parties should not be made to pick up the broken pieces by themselves when their accident was caused by the negligence of another party.

Our attorneys have years of experience in all aspects of personal injury cases and have helped thousands of clients across the Dallas area get the compensation they deserve. With a 98% success rate, we have become the most trusted bus accident attorneys in our area. When you need an experienced trial attorney to represent you, you can rest assured that the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. has your back. 

Our attorneys fight for compensation for the following:

  • Medical costs associated with your injuries and treatment
  • Loss of wages
  • Future loss of wages
  • Transportation costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability 
  • Disfigurement
  • Personal property damage related to the accident

A steady, guiding hand after an accident can make all of the difference in the recovery process. Our attorneys can help give you and your family peace of mind that your case will be represented to the best of our abilities to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

The Hernandez Law Group, P.C. stops at nothing to ensure that our clients’ voices are heard and that they get the help they need to get their lives back on track. We walk with our clients every step of the way, this includes the following:

  • Initial consultation to determine the damages
  • Negotiating with the defendant to try and settle outside of court
  • Filing the initial claim
  • The discovery process
  • Pretrial motions
  • Second settlement attempt
  • Personal injury trial

Our Approach to Dallas Bus Accident Investigations and Claims

Regardless of whether you were a bus passenger or an occupant in another vehicle that was involved, having a knowledgeable bus accident lawyer on your side will make all the difference. The attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. start each case with a consultation with our client. Here we get a picture of what happened, the resulting injuries and damages, and then we can form a better plan on how to best address your case. 

We then take the time to explain the rights that you have regarding the bus accident and what legal options are available. This allows our clients to make the best choice for themselves and their families. We then guide you through the corresponding paperwork and ensure that you understand the complicated legal and insurance jargon.

The next step is gathering evidence to support your claim and show the negligence of the liable party. This evidence includes the following:

  • Medical reports
  • Accident reports
  • Witness statements
  • Pictures of the accident scene
  • Reports of personal property damages

Once we have a clear picture of your case and the evidence to show the negligence of the liable party, we will work on negotiating with the insurance companies. It is important to understand that not all personal injury lawsuits end up in court. Many of them can be settled outside of court with the insurance companies. Having a successful bus accident attorney on your side can ensure that your rights are protected and that you are getting the compensation you deserve. We will speak on your behalf, ensure that they are not taking advantage of you, and make it clear that we are more than willing to go to court on your behalf to get the compensation you deserve. 

If negotiations outside of court are unsuccessful then we will take your case to court. We will not rest until we are sure that you are receiving fair compensation.

Rely on the Attorneys Who Will Fight For You

If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, you should seek medical treatment and follow the doctor’s recommendations. It’s also important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney before talking to the insurance companies. The attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group will make sure that the insurance companies don’t manipulate you or convince you to take a lower settlement than you deserve. We will fight for your rights and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

The experienced bus accident lawyers at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. can help you decide your next steps. Contact us to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to go over the facts of your case.

Bus Accident FAQs:

How Do I Determine Liability in a Bus Accident?

Determining who is liable for the bus accident will depend heavily on the circumstances that led to the accident. These circumstances can be anything from whether either driver was speeding, either driver merged improperly, or a mechanical error on the bus or car. 

Negligence is the root of all personal injury claims. To determine which party was responsible for the injuries and damages that resulted from the accident, it is important to understand which party was negligent in their actions. Negligence can be shown as the following:
– The liable party had a duty to the injured party
– The defendant breached their duty
– The breach of duty is what caused the accident and the injuries
– The defendant owes the damages to the injured party

Several parties could potentially be held responsible for a bus accident:
– The bus driver
– The company that owns the bus
– The manufacturer of the bus or its parts
– Another driver on the road
– The city or state government, if the accident was caused by poor maintenance of the roads

What Damages Can I Seek in a Bus Accident Claim?

Injured parties can seek the following types of damages after an accident to help cover the financial burden that came as a result:
– Medical expenses, both current and future
– Lost wages
– Property damage
– Pain and suffering
– Loss of consortium in cases of wrongful death
– Punitive damages in cases of gross negligence

How Long Do I Have to File a Bus Accident Claim in Texas?

Under the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003, an injured party has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the liable party. However, it is important to file a claim as soon as you can. This will ensure that evidence doesn’t get erased over time, such as losing witness statements. Always contact a bus accident attorney to help you file a claim as soon as possible to ensure that you can get the compensation you deserve.

What Sets Hernandez Law Group Apart in Bus Accident Cases?

After an accident, you will want a guiding hand to help you navigate the complex legal landscape to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. The Hernandez Law Group, P.C. offers all of our clients peace of mind, ensuring that they understand everything that is going on with their case. We know that our clients have suffered enough, which is why we go above and beyond to ensure that justice is served. 

Our attorneys are led by Juan Hernandez, who is one of the two percent of Texas attorneys who is Texas Board Certified in Personal Injury Law. He has also won the Super Lawyers Award three years in a row. With his knowledge and expertise, you can be confident that your case is in the best hands. 

We proudly serve our community by offering our services in both English and Spanish. This is done to ensure that all individuals in our area are represented by competent legal counsel. No one should ever have to be denied rightful compensation for their injuries solely because they don’t understand or speak English very well. Our attorneys work hard to ensure that all groups get equal representation under the law and that their basic human rights are defended.

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