Public transportation is a vital means of getting around for many children and adults in Houston. We trust school, city, and municipal bus drivers to travel the roads safely, obey traffic laws, and pay attention to the road. We also expect the buses to operate without issue. If a bus driver, company, or parts manufacturer negligently breaches accepted standards of care, it can result in a devastating bus accident.
If you or a loved one have recently been injured, contact a Houston bus accident lawyer at Attorney Brian White & Associates. We don’t charge you anything until we win!
What Causes Bus Accidents?
Negligence exists everywhere, even in the public bus system. Despite being responsible for the safety of dozens of people at once, buses operate like any other motor vehicle. Bus drivers can make fatal errors, the vehicle can break down, and the manufacturers can make dangerous mistakes.
After any bus accident, seek help from a local attorney.
A personal injury law office can investigate the crash and determine if one or more parties may be liable for victims’ damages. Common causes of bus accidents include:
- Driver error
- Driving under the influence
- Drowsy driving
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Defective vehicle parts
- Roadway hazards
- Bad weather
- Other drivers
Whether the accident occurred on a school bus, city bus, tour bus, charter bus, or party bus, you should talk to an attorney about your injuries. Transportation services act like businesses and are liable for passenger injuries in the face of an individual or company’s negligence. As a common carrier, a bus must obey regulations on a federal and state level. Any broken rules or laws, resulting in an accident, may be grounds for a personal injury claim.
Houston Public Bus System
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County is the main entity in charge of the public bus system in Houston. METRORail offers bus, bus rapid transit, and light rail services running from downtown to NRG Park. There are local services that run along city streets as well as park-and-ride services for long-distance commutes. The Metro of Harris County operates a fleet of 1,211 buses, covering a service area of 1,285 square miles. Other bus systems in Houston include:
- Jitney service called The Wave (a hybrid between a bus and taxi)
- SuperShuttle, a shared-ride bus service
- Greenlink buses, providing free transportation in downtown Houston
The Metropolitan Transit Authority is a government-run agency in Harris County. Texas legislature approved the creation of the authority in 1973. Five years later, Houston voters created the METRO. When a city-run bus crashes or otherwise injures people, victims have the opportunity to sue the City of Houston for negligence. It is the city’s job to maintain its bus fleets, employ trustworthy drivers, keep the roads clear of hazards, and otherwise ensure the safety of riders. Failure to do so, resulting in injuries, is a liability.
Bus Accident Statistics
Texas has a special system just for collecting and analyzing information related to annual school bus accidents, called the Texas Education Agency’s Bus Accident Reporting System (BARS). BARS uses a survey to gather school bus accident data each year. For the 2016-2017 school year, BARS recorded 2,114 bus accidents for the 1,101 districts that took the survey. These accidents involved a combined total of 21,217 students and 887 adults. There were 457 total injuries, 26 serious injuries, and two fatalities in these crashes. These data do not include the hundreds of non-school related bus accidents in the state the same year.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 2,975 total bus accidents statewide in 2016. The vast majority (2,670) of these accidents occurred in urban areas like downtown Houston. Of these bus accidents, 57 caused incapacitating injuries and 18 involved fatalities. Attorney Brian White looks past just the numbers when it comes to bus accidents in Texas. We know that every victim is unique, and deserves personalized legal attention.
Common Bus Accident Injuries
Bus accidents are unique in that they almost always result in injuries to more than one party. Buses can hold dozens of passengers at once, opening the door to person-to-person collision injuries such as concussions in accidents. Most buses also do not have seatbelts and have many passengers standing up and holding straps or bars. The atmosphere of a bus makes for myriad opportunities for serious injuries in a collision. The most common bus accident injuries include:
- Bone fractures
- Muscle tears or dislocations
- Lacerations from broken glass or metal
- Head and brain injuries
- Burn injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
Bus-accident related injuries can land you in the hospital, with hefty medical bills and days of missed wages from staying home from work. You can also suffer damages such as property losses, physical pain, emotional suffering, and permanent disability.
In Texas, the civil court system gives injured accident victims an outlet for financial recovery. If you can prove someone else’s negligence caused your bus accident and related injuries, you could take home considerable compensation.
Duties of Care in the Bus Industry
Most bus accidents are not “accidents” at all – they are the result of someone’s preventable negligence. Common carriers like buses have higher duties of care since they offer public services. The law holds commercial drivers to higher standards than other drivers as well. It is worthwhile to speak to an attorney about all the laws and rules that may apply in your particular situation. Otherwise, you could miss out on the chance to pursue compensation for personal injury, disability, or wrongful death.
If you believe a bus driver or another entity breached accepted standards of care, and this caused your accident, you likely have grounds to file a claim against the responsible party. Keep in mind that many buses are under governmental jurisdiction. Bringing a claim against the government or a municipality involves requirements like filing within a strict statute of limitations – a time frame that is shorter than typical personal injury claims in Texas. If you need to file a claim against the city of Houston, you have 90 days from the date of the injury (or discovery of injury) to do so.
Pursuing a personal injury claim after a bus accident starts with identifying the defendant(s). Several parties may be liable for bus accidents, including the bus company, the driver, another driver, a roadway maintenance crew, or a manufacturer. An attorney can help you determine who might be responsible and take steps toward pursuing a claim in Houston.
Trust the Houston Bus Accident Attorneys from Attorney Brian White & Associates
The Houston bus accident lawyers at Brian White & Associates have years of experience representing clients and their families. We obtain successful resolutions in 99% of our cases and excel in and out of the courtroom. Our team has what it takes to help victims of all types of bus accidents, including knowledge of federal, state, and local bus laws.
Don’t let someone else’s negligence ruin the rest of your life. Seek the compensation you may deserve with our help. To schedule a free consultation regarding a bus accident in Houston, contact us today.