The morning of July 18 was a terrifying one for some San Antonio-area parents, as the bus carrying their children back from church camp caught fire on Highway 281, near Johnson City in Bianco County. While everyone got off the bus safely, the entire vehicle eventually wound up in flames, totaling the vehicle. The cause was later determined to be a fault in the bus’ engine, which began to smoke and then caught fire. While thankfully, there were no injuries, the engine’s total failure raises legal questions of liability, both between the manufacturer and the church and between the church and the children.
Bus Accident Cases Are Complex
Accidents involving buses can lead to very high casualty counts – between 2009 and 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates approximately a 40 percent increase in the number of fatal crashes involving buses – and sometimes it can be quite difficult to determine how the accident occurred. There are so many potential factors in any road accident – inclement weather, malfunctioning parts, driver error – that anyone can be the tipping point; the Bianco County accident is an exception, rather than a rule. If there had been any casualties, parents would have had to either determine who bore the most liability or choose to bring suit against multiple defendants.
In a case involving a private bus, an action would be brought in a similar way to any other auto accident case (if you are in a crash involving a public bus, there are slightly different rules to follow). If you can establish that the bus company or the driver (or both) failed to exercise reasonable care in their actions and that the recklessness or negligence of their actions caused your injuries, you should be able to recover for your medical bills and your pain and suffering.
Product Liability Issues
If your bus accident stems clearly from a malfunctioning part or from a malfunction in the overall systems of the vehicle, there may be a product liability dimension to your case. It is somewhat difficult to show that the malfunction or problem contributed directly to your injuries under Texas law, but it is possible to do so, and if the evidence is clear cut, as it might conceivably have been in the Bianco County fire, the odds obviously rise.
Product liability in Texas is usually considered a strict liability offense, meaning that negligence does not have to be specifically proven in order for a plaintiff to collect. If there is a demonstrable defect in the product (in the case of the Bianco County fire, the bus or its engine), and it can be shown that the defect led to someone being harmed, then the defendant will usually be liable. There are three classes of demonstrable defect – a design defect (meaning that the item was flawed from the beginning), a manufacturing defect, and a failure to warn, which is when a company puts out a product that is unsafe if used normally.
Call a New Braunfels Bus Accident Lawyer
While thankfully, there were no injuries or fatalities in this accident, it may not be true for the next bus accident on Texas roads. If you or a loved one has been injured, calling a dedicated New Braunfels bus crash attorney can be a good first step toward getting the help you need to put your life back in order. Contact our office at 888-392-0039 today to schedule a free consultation.