Last week in New Braunfels, an accident on I-35 involving a bus and multiple passenger vehicles injured at least two people and blocked highway traffic for several hours. The cause of the accident is unclear, and fault has not been determined, but the crash raises important questions regarding what may happen in personal injury cases involving buses and other forms of public transportation.
Texas Bus Accidents and Personal Injury Claims
The way that a personal injury claim plays out after a bus crash depends on which party was injured and which party’s negligence was responsible for the accident. Here are three possible scenarios:
- The driver or passenger of another vehicle is injured in a collision with a bus. In this case, the injured party may have a case for compensation for damages if they have evidence to demonstrate the bus driver’s negligence. Multiple Texas appellate court rulings have affirmed that buses are considered common carriers, meaning that bus drivers have a higher standard of care than drivers of personal vehicles, which may make it easier for the injured party to establish negligence. In some cases, the organization that employs the bus driver could also be partially liable. This may be a private company or a government agency.
- A bus passenger is injured in an accident. When a bus passenger is injured, there may be several at-fault parties, potentially including the bus driver, their employer, and other drivers whose negligence contributed to the crash. When pursuing compensation through a settlement or trial, each negligent party’s liability will likely be determined based on their percentage of fault in the accident.
- The bus driver is injured in an accident. A bus driver who is injured while performing driving duties for their job will often be entitled to workers’ compensation through their employer no matter who is at fault for the accident that caused the injuries. However, if the driver’s employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage, the driver can pursue a personal injury claim against the employer. If the wreck was caused by a negligent third-party driver, the bus driver may also be able to pursue a personal injury claim against this person to recover additional compensation.
Any of these parties who are injured should seek immediate medical attention after the crash and hire an attorney who can help them gather timely evidence from the scene of the collision. Bus accidents also often have many witnesses, including all of the passengers on the bus at the time, and their testimony can be valuable in helping an injured party build a case....