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TX accident lawyerThe 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.

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TX injury lawyerTwo-wheeled electric scooters have become omnipresent in Austin and many other metropolitan areas in the past year or so, purporting to offer commuters a little extra boost to their travels. However, they have been controversial, causing issues for disabled pedestrians and also, allegedly, leading to injuries on a regular basis. There has not been a completed study of scooter injuries as of this writing, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has requested Austin’s data on the issue as they work on theirs. If you have been injured by a person on a scooter or while using a scooter yourself, data like this can be very relevant if you decide to bring suit to try and recover for your medical bills.

Weekends Downtown Have Highest Risk

A pattern of injuries sustained in scooter accidents has been occurring ever since their installation in Austin some months ago. In January, an Irish exchange student died after being struck by a car while using a scooter; anecdotal evidence suggests at least a handful more have died while using scooters in traffic. Injuries have numbered in the hundreds at Dell Seton Medical Center alone since the end of September 2018, with head injuries, cuts, and bruises being the most common.

The data shows that if one breaks down the number of injuries logged by Austin/Travis County EMS, one can see the most injuries occurred on nights where crowds downtown are at their largest - Friday and Saturday nights’ totals were significantly higher than those for other days. It is also indicative that almost two-thirds of the injury accidents in the data occurred in Austin’s Congress District, with the remainder scattered throughout the city limits - like with any other type of vehicle, more traffic will mean a greater risk of injury.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerIn early December, a school bus belonging to the Northside Independent School District (NISD) was struck as part of a four-vehicle crash on Babcock Road, near Wurzbach Road. An SUV struck the bus and was in turn struck by two other vehicles, pushing the bus on top of a gas main, which warranted a partial evacuation of the nearby area. The bus did have passengers, but none of the 11 children on board was injured, nor was the driver. Thankfully, no injuries or fatalities were sustained, but with school buses, accidents can be devastating. If you or a loved one have been in a bus accident, it can be very confusing to try and seek compensation for your injuries.

Finding Fault

One thing that must be kept in mind after a school bus accident in Texas is that just because your child might have sustained an injury on a school bus, it does not mean that the school or the driver are responsible for that injury. Children are children, and sometimes injuries and accidents do happen. The injury is only compensable if your child was injured due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness (or, obviously, if someone else intentionally sought to injure them). If it can be shown that your child was injured because someone else’s actions were negligent or reckless, however, you may have a claim against the driver, the school, the bus manufacturer, or another actor, depending on the specifics of the situation.

The majority of school bus accidents that are held to involve negligence will generally get laid at the door of the school bus driver, who is the most likely person in most situations. However, if the school bus driver is acting within the scope of their employment, the driver’s employer (the school district, in most cases) will almost always be pulled into the case, because of a common-law doctrine called respondeat superior or vicarious liability. Texas law holds that as long as an employee is engaged in work within their “general authority,” and “for the accomplishment of the object for which the employee was hired,” their employer may be held vicariously liable.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerSan Antonio has joined the list of cities offering electric scooter and wheelchair rentals to tourists, but this can and does sometimes lead to more accidents. On October 30, there was one on North St. Mary’s Street, near College Street, where a man on an electric scooter was hit by a car as he attempted to cross the street against traffic. The tourist’s injuries were relatively minor, but if they had been worse, the driver might be in considerable trouble.

Not Much Info on Scooter Accidents

Because of the relative novelty of the phenomenon, there is not much data on the prevalence of scooter accidents. However, anecdotally, everyone seems to have a story of a scooter injury - falling off, being struck, or something else. There are numerous ways that these scooters can be involved in accidents - the vehicle itself can lock up or fail to respond to the rider, pedestrians can be struck or scooter riders can be struck by passing vehicles. Dockless scooters may also pose accessibility restrictions and/or be unforeseen obstacles, especially at nighttime, given their relatively low profile.

The Texas Transportation Code does regulate scooters, among other similar vehicles, despite their appearing in San Antonio and elsewhere relatively recently. There are specific rules that must be followed by riders and by motorists in relation to those on scooters. Most importantly, the law restricts scooters to being ridden only on streets or highways where the speed limit is 35 mph or less and requires them to be ridden as far to the right as possible (except when making a left turn). The statute holds that municipalities may bar their use on sidewalks, and while no regulations exist yet on this topic in San Antonio, city leaders do plan to restrict their use to roads only.

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TX injury lawyerDuring the last weekend of September, a hit-and-run accident on Ronald W. Reagan Boulevard in Leander left one motorcyclist dead, and the driver missing. According to law enforcement, the truck turned into the path of the motorcyclist, who was headed southbound, and the cycle hit the rear part of the truck, which caused the rider to be thrown. The truck did not stop to assist the injured man, instead choosing to drive on. There are multiple things that might breed a cause of action in this story, especially for the family of the deceased motorcyclist, as they seek compensation that could somehow even partially mitigate the loss of their loved one.

Failure to Stop and Render Aid Is a Crime

Motorcyclists are in some danger while on the roads, even if they operate their vehicle perfectly, simply because they lack the protection and the weight that automobiles have, and this, unfortunately, translates to injury and fatality statistics - on average, around 500 motorcyclists per year are killed in auto accidents on Texas roads, according to data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). While this obviously does not excuse reckless or negligent driving or other actions, it is worth remarking on how an action that can be lethal against a motorcyclist might cause an automobile’s driver mere irritation. If an accident occurs, it is the responsibility of both vehicles involved to stop and render aid to anyone hurt.

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

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