Laredo, TX Bus Accident Lawyers
Whether you're a passenger on a junket to a casino, in an airport van or traveling on an interstate carrier, you have the right to seek fair and just compensation for any injuries you receive if that vehicle is involved in a crash. A distraction, driver fatigue or an error in judgment by a bus driver or another driver on the road can result in injuries and deaths of bus passengers. Our bus accident lawyers pursue careless drivers and companies across Texas and the nation.
When a bus is involved in a crash, the magnitude of one or more impacts or a rollover can carry severe consequences because of the number of passengers that the bus is carrying. Bus crashes are much more likely to injure or kill multiple passengers, particularly when the only person on the bus that has an opportunity to wear a seat belt is the driver.
Not including the driver, a bus is usually classified as a motor vehicle that transports 10 or more people. Those might be:
- Municipal buses
- School buses
- Tour buses
- Church buses
- Day care and adult care vans
- Airport buses
Any number of things can be a significant distraction to a bus driver. Eating or drinking while driving, or talking to passengers can create a dangerous distraction. One bus driver recently caused a serious crash when eating a burrito while driving. Bus drivers are trained to know better than to text and drive, but some do it anyway. Texting while driving was determined to be the cause of three deaths in an accident involving two school buses in Tennessee in late 2014. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that while texting, the average person's eyes are off of the road for about five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, a vehicle covers the length of a football field in those five seconds.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates bus safety and bus driver hours of service. Many of the agency's rules just aren't working. They're ignored by both bus companies and their drivers. Many drivers are holding down more than one job, and they're simply reaching the point of exhaustion. Other drivers transport passengers from city to city or state to state. Hours of service rules apply, but drivers have other duties other than just driving. They're often attending to those other duties when they're not physically on the road.
Human error in a bus crash might include the bus driver, another motorist or both the bus driver and one or more motorists. Human error can include but not be limited to:
- Mechanical issues
- Following too closely
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failure to yield
- Disobeying a traffic device
Buses should undergo periodic safety and maintenance checks, but dangerous mechanical issues can be overlooked or outright ignored. The bus company involved in the recent crash with eight fatalities and over 40 injuries outside of Laredo was twice ordered by Louisiana officials to take a bus off of the road. Six discoveries involving driver service hours and vehicle maintenance totaling 15 violations were noted between 2014 and the date of the tragedy. At least one of the maintenance issues involved a serious brake condition. The investigation continues as to whether that was the bus or driver involved in the crash near Laredo.
Most lawsuits brought against bus companies for injuries or fatalities are brought under a theory of negligence. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must show certain elements. Those elements are:
- That the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- The defendant breached that duty
- The breach of that duty caused the plaintiff to be damaged
- The plaintiff suffered legally recognized damages
If the plaintiff fails to prove any single one of those elements, the case fails in its entirety. Since more than one defendant can share in liability for an accident, you can file your lawsuit against anybody who you reasonably believe was partially responsible for the accident.
The damages sought by a person who was injured in a bus accident must be recognized by the law. Those damages include but aren't limited to:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent disability
If a family member died, other damages can be sought under the Texas Wrongful Death Act.
The statute of limitations on Laredo, TX Bus Accidents
Every state has a different deadline for when a personal injury lawsuit must be filed. In Texas that deadline is two years from the date of the accident. If you fail to protect your rights, and you don't file your lawsuit against a defendant that you believe is responsible for your injuries within the time set by that deadline, you can be forever barred from proceeding further. If a governmental entity is involved, shorter notice and other filing deadlines are likely in effect. Strict attention must be paid to all time limits.
Bus accidents involve complicated facts and legal strategies. If you or somebody close to you was injured or killed as a result of a bus accident in Laredo, contact us right away. Never give a statement to the bus company or its insurer or investigator. It will only be used against you in the future. Preserve and protect your rights by calling us right away.
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