As more and more people rely on public transportation, the number of bus crashes is likely to increase. Unlike most vehicle wreck injury claims, public transportation and bus injury cases involve a strict set of procedural rules. If you don’t carefully follow these rules, you might lose your right to compensation. Learn how to avoid some common mistakes below.
Public Transportation Is a Part of San Antonio Life
Public transportation is a cost-effective and ecologically friendly way to travel, making it a popular option in San Antonio. In 2016 alone, VIA Metropolitan Transit provided 39.6 million passenger rides. While most drivers do their best to keep passengers safe, bus-related injuries are not uncommon.
What to Do After a San Antonio Bus Accident
Immediately after a bus crash, your first priority should be your safety and well-being. Assess your injuries and seek medical attention if it’s necessary. You should also call 911 and report the crash. Law enforcement will investigate the situation and file an accident report—which may serve as important evidence in your bus injury claim.
If possible, you should also get all of the drivers’ insurance and contact information. And, if there were witnesses, get their names and phone numbers as well.
Related Ebook: 5 Mistakes to Avoid After an Auto Accident
Because a bus crash claim can involve very short deadlines and multiple insurance policies, you should contact an experienced bus accident lawyer as quickly as possible. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights, identify your potential claims, and may be able to file claims or lawsuits on your behalf.
Common Types of Bus Injuries
In many ways, bus crashes are similar to car and truck wrecks. However, buses have unique driving challenges that can make them more likely to cause injuries. For example, a bus has a very wide turning radius. If the driver miscalculates a turn, it’s easy for a bus to collide with a curb, building, signpost, vehicle, or pedestrian.
Additionally, public buses don’t offer the same safety systems as cars and trucks. There aren’t airbags or seatbelts. And you might be standing at the time of impact. During a collision, unrestrained passengers are more likely to be injured. And, even a “minor” crash or error could cause serious injuries, including head and spine injuries, broken bones, deep cuts, and soft tissue injuries (such as whiplash).
“An individual is limited to $250,000 in damages, with a maximum of $500,000 for each incident. However, you might receive additional compensation if a third party contributed to your injuries.”
Bus Accidents and the Texas Tort Claims Act
If you’re injured by a public bus driver, you might have a claim against VIA or another public transit authority. Because public transit authorities are a government agency, your bus injury claim is covered by the Texas Tort Claims Act.
The Tort Claims Act sets strict limits on claims against the state and local governments. In addition to other Texas personal injury laws, the Tort Claims Act adds:
You must file a Notice of Intent to Sue with the government agency no later than six months after the bus crash. However, local governments can reduce this deadline—and San Antonio has a 45-day deadline. If you do not file a Notice of Intent within this time period, you lose your right to compensation.
Even though most public buses carry large insurance policies, the Tort Claims Act limits how much you can get in compensation or damages. An individual is limited to $250,000 in damages, with a maximum of $500,000 for each incident. However, you might receive additional compensation if a third party contributed to your injuries.
If you’re injured in a taxi, Lyft, Uber, or a charter bus, the rules are different. Instead of filing a claim under the Texas Tort Claims Act, you will typically file claims with a private insurance company or companies. These claims are not covered by the Tort Claims Act.
Related Blog: Injured by an Uber, Lyft, or Taxi? Here Are Your Options
You Might Have Third Party Liability Claims After a Bus Crash
Sometimes, another driver contributes to a bus crash. In these cases, you might have a liability claim against the negligent driver’s car or truck insurance policy (sometimes in addition to a claim against the transit authority or bus company).
Additionally, you might have other claims involving:
- Product liability: claims against a manufacturer or retailer that made or sold a dangerous or defective product
- Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage: a claim against your personal UIM policy if a driver was uninsured or underinsured
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): a claim against your own PIP policy
- Dram shop liability: claims against a bar or restaurant that knowingly overserved alcohol to a driver who contributed to the crash
If you have questions about what types of claims may apply to your personal injury case, contact Crosley Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.
Crosley Law Firm: We Fight for Bus Crash Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured in a serious bus crash, contact Crosley Law Firm for a free consultation. We are tireless advocates for crash victims, including bus passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. If you’d like to learn more about our approach to bus injury litigation, complete our simple online form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000.
About VIA (2017). VIA Metropolitan Transit. Retrieved from http://www.viainfo.net/about-via/.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.