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TX injury lawyerRecently, a three-vehicle crash between a VIA bus, a sedan, and a pickup truck sent 5 people to the hospital, one of whom was in critical condition. According to law enforcement, the woman driving the sedan ran the stop sign at Schuwirth Road and Loop 1604, striking the bus, which then skidded into the pickup truck. While law enforcement assigns fault primarily to the sedan driver, very often buses do contribute to accidents that they are involved in. It is worth asking how this accident might have played out in terms of liability had the bus had passengers, whether or not the bus driver was the immediate cause of the crash.

Who Is Liable?

In the case of the Schuwirth Road accident, the bus driver was not found to have played a role in causing the accident, though in other states, that fact would not immediately insulate him or his employer from liability. Many states have what is called a “common carrier” provision in their personal injury laws, which holds a bus company (private or public) to a higher standard of care than would normally be expected of any one driver, but Texas does not have such a law, so an injured plaintiff must be ready to show negligence (if possible) by other means.

If there is reason to believe that the bus driver might be liable, it is worth noting that their employer might also be liable. Texas does observe a concept called respondeat superior, which states that if an employee commits a tort (basically the civil law version of a crime) while acting “within the scope of employment,” their employer is vicariously liable for any damages. The rationale is that the employer ought to have taken more care before allowing the employee to act for them.

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TX injury lawyerThe morning of October 1 saw traffic slowing noticeably on Highway 281 near Bitters Road, due to an accident involving a VIA bus, a pickup, and an automobile. While the accident was characterized as ‘major,’ what immediately occurred was not disclosed by law enforcement. Still, the relative scarcity of bus accidents still means that the event is worth marking because when bus accidents do occur, they can be devastating. Yet so few people understand how best to seek compensation for any injuries they sustain.

Buses Are Not Cars

Buses, especially those owned or operated by government agencies, occupy their own special place in Texas law. Certain requirements, such as insurance coverage (generally, those buses that carry 15 passengers or fewer have to carry less insurance than those who carry more) and duty of care toward their passengers, hinge upon how many a bus can carry and in what context. For example, the regulations covering chartered buses, such as those for casinos or churches, are very different than those surrounding city buses or school buses owned by cities and counties. Understanding the difference matters in an accident situation.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

Texas accident lawyerWhen a large commercial vehicle like a bus collides with a smaller vehicle, the consequences can be severe. For example, a VIA bus collided with a parked pickup truck on the 2400 block of Ruiz Street in San Antonio. A woman was in the pickup truck when it was hit by the bus. Then the bus pushed the pickup truck into three other parked vehicles. The woman had to be removed from the mangled pickup truck and transported to University Hospital with serious injuries, according to My San Antonio.

Unfortunately, serious accidents involving large buses and other commercial vehicles are quite common. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were approximately 4,311 fatal accidents involving large trucks and buses. That represents an eight percent increase in deadly accidents when compared to 2014. If that was not bad enough, the number of fatal wrecks involving large trucks and buses has jumped by 26 percent since in 2009.

Steps to Take After an Accident

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Texas accident lawyer, Texas wrongful death attorneyA charter bus carrying seniors from Bastrop Senior Center was involved in a deadly collision with a train in Biloxi, Mississippi on March 7. The bus, which was on a trip to New Orleans, became stuck on a railroad crossing in downtown Biloxi for up to 10 minutes prior to being struck by a CSX Transportation train. The train then pushed the bus about 300 feet further down the tracks. There were 49 individuals on the bus; four were killed and 35 were taken to local hospitals for treatment. At least two individuals had gotten off the bus while it was stuck and became trapped underneath it during the collision. The four individuals killed in the accident were residents of Sealy, Bastrop, and Lockhart, Texas.

What Caused the Crash?

The reason why the bus was stuck on the railroad tracks is currently unknown. It may have been due to mechanical issues, the specific rail crossing’s low clearance, or another issue entirely. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Railroad Administration are investigating.

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bus accidentPublic transportation should always strive to offer safe and affordable means of travel for citizens. Sadly, this is not always the case. Accidents do occur, often as the results of neglect. Some passengers are lucky enough to walk away from a bus accident with little more than a scare; others, however, might suffer more serious injuries. All passengers have rights, and it is important to understand them—especially when accidents happen. Depending on the nature of the accident, it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit. It is always beneficial to review the details of the incident and any injuries sustained with an experienced personal injury attorney. Sometimes, the cause of an accident is not always clear. Crashes may occur as a result of driver negligence, poor road design, inclement weather, bus or car defects, and more. Despite the reason, there are some important steps everyone should take after experiencing an accident—whether one appears to be injured or not. What to Do After a Bus Accident According to Bankrate.com, looking after one's own safety and health is the most important step to take. While the accident may have been completely preventable and a lawsuit might be in order, these concerns should never come before the immediate condition of a passenger. Be sure to contact a physician or even a local hospital emergency room to address injuries. Whether the city owned the bus or it belonged to a private company may influence the personal injury case. Cases involving city buses and public transit are sometimes more difficult to win, but they are still manageable if there is sufficient evidence of neglect. Another important factor when dealing with a bus accident is addressing the type of injuries sustained. Some injuries from a car accident might not be as apparent within a few days or weeks after the incident. This is another reason why it is so critical to consult a doctor after the accident; the information from a clinical analysis may be vital for your case. If you have recently been in an auto accident involving a bus or public transportation, it can be to your benefit to consult an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer. At The Bettersworth Law Firm, we can review your case and offer consultation and advice on the next steps. Contact us today at 830-606-0404.

The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

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