Austin School Bus Accident Lawyers
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Many parents all across the country rely on the school bus system to transport their children to and from school. Yet, however safe we may think these school buses are, it is important to remember that accidents can and do happen. In fact, thousands of school bus accidents happen all across the state of Texas every year. For this reason, it is important to be aware of steps that may be taken to prevent such accidents or steps that should be taken if you or a loved one are the victims in such accidents. Always remember, you have options.
School Bus Accident Statistics
When considering the seriousness of school bus accidents, it is important to be aware of the statistics. The Texas Education Agency collected the following data from the 2017-2018 school year:
- During the 2017-2018 Texas school year, there were approximately 2,183 bus accidents
- Of these bus accidents, approximately 2,145 involved school buses
- There were approximately 22,761 students involved in such accidents and approximately 935 adults involved
- In these accidents, approximately 606 student passengers experienced injuries
- In these accidents, approximately 44 adult passengers experienced injuries
- In these accidents, there were approximately 99 school bus driver injuries
- Approximately 291 of these total injuries occurred where passenger seats were not equipped with seat belts
- Pedestrians also suffered approximately 11 injuries from school bus accidents
Common Causes of School Bus Accidents
Although we may trust school buses with the transportation of our children to and from school, it is important to be aware that accidents can and do happen. For this reason, it may prove beneficial to be aware of some of the common causes of these accidents. Common causes of school bus accidents include:
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
- Lack of driver training
- Improper loading of passengers
- Blind spots
- Driver fatigue
- Left turns
- Driver negligence
How to Prevent School Bus Accidents
There are measures that can be taken by you, your children, and your child's bus driver to prevent accidents. Ways in which school bus accidents may be prevented include:
- Stay seated when on a school bus
- Keep the aisle free of any debris or obstacles
- Be sure the school bus driver and other drivers on the road are aware of if you decide to cross the street
- Do not cross the street from behind the school bus
- Only enter and exit the bus when it has come to a complete stop
- Do not distract the driver
- As another driver, be aware of the school bus’s blind spots
- As another driver, be aware of passengers entering and exiting the vehicle
What to Do After a School Bus Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a school bus accident, there are some steps you should certainly consider taking. By taking such steps, you may find yourself in a better position should you decide to move forward in seeking compensation for any injuries or damage sustained in the accident. Steps you should consider taking include:
1. Seek Medical Attention
If you or a loved one has been injured in a school bus accident, your very first step should be to seek medical attention as soon as possible. You should seek medical attention no matter how minor the injuries may appear at the time. It is possible that symptoms of your injuries may be easily overlooked at the time of the accident. However, a trained medical professional may be able to see things others cannot. For this reason, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is undoubtedly in your best interest.
Seeking medical attention fast may also prove beneficial should you decide to seek compensation for any injuries you sustained. By asking medical care immediately, you will get appropriate documentation of the full extent of your injuries. By waiting, your doctor may not be able to document all the injuries you sustained as some may have healed. Be sure to meet with your doctor as soon after the accident as possible.
2. Contact the Authorities
Although your primary concern after a school bus accident should be the health and well-being of the victims, you should also make sure that the authorities are called. By calling the police, you can make sure that an investigation into fault and what truly happened is begun immediately. The report the officers create at the scene can prove to be incredibly beneficial further down the line should you decide to seek damages. Be sure to acquire any contact information from any officers at the scene to help make sure that you may obtain a copy of the police report.
3. Document the Injuries and Incident
Once you have received all the medical attention you require, your next step should be to document the incident and any resulting injuries. One of the most important ways in which you should document the events is to take pictures. Take as many pictures as possible. Take pictures of the scene of the accident, any injuries sustained, any damage to property, and the surrounding area. Photographs may be some of the strongest pieces of evidence in a trial. For this reason, the more pictures you take, the better.
Another way in which you may document the events is to reach out to any witnesses and any parties involved in the accident itself. When reaching out to these parties, be sure to get their contact information, including their name, phone number, and any additional contact information. Witnesses may be able to provide you with facts that you may not have been aware of, providing a perspective other than your own. Keep in touch with any witnesses as their recollection of the events may prove incredibly important further down the line.
4. Keep a Detailed Record
After the accident, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the documentation you may be acquiring. You may be receiving medical bills, repair estimates, police reports, witness statements, and a wide variety of other sources of information. If this is the case, you should be sure to keep a detailed record of all of the documents you receive. Make sure to keep this record organized and readily available.
5. Contact an Experienced Bus Accident Lawyer
If you decide that you want to seek compensation for any injuries or damage you sustained due to being involved in a school bus accident, one of your smartest choices is to contact an experienced bus accident lawyer. These cases may turn quite complex and confusing, very fast. An experienced attorney, however, may help simplify the process and make sure that you truly understand what is going on. They may answer any questions that you have and may explain your options.
Who Is Responsible for the Accident?
After a school bus accident, there may be several parties that may be held responsible. If you decide that you want to move forward in seeking compensation for any injuries or damage sustained, it is important to be aware of your options. In this way, speaking to an experienced school bus accident attorney is a smart choice. Parties that may be responsible for school bus accidents include:
- The bus driver
- The school district
- The manufacturer
- The bus company
- The mechanic
- Other drivers
Different procedures may be applicable depending on the party through which you intend to seek damages. For this reason, consulting with an experienced school bus injury attorney is in your best interest. An experienced attorney may help you better understand these procedures and help make sure you’re aware of potential outcomes.
Legal Time Limits
When considering whether or not you want to file a claim seeking compensation, it is important to understand the legal time limits associated with legal claims such as those brought about after a school bus accident. In Texas, these legal time limits are governed by the statute of limitations. Filing outside of the statute of limitations of two years may prevent your case from being heard, therefore potentially preventing you from seeking any compensation.
If, however, the victim in your claim is a child under the age of 18, it is important to understand that the rules regarding the legal time limit are different. Under these circumstances, the legal time limit is tolled. What this means is that the legal time limit does not go into effect until once the child reaches the age of 18. Once the child reaches the age of 18, then the legal time limit for which to bring the case begins.
If you are at all confused as to how the Texas legal time limits affect the claims in your case, you should certainly consider reaching out to an experienced accident attorney. The statute of limitations in Texas may prove to be surprisingly confusing and hard to understand. However, an experienced attorney may work with you to make sure that these important dates are not forgotten.
Our Austin School Bus Accident Lawyers May Help
At Zinda Law Group, our motor vehicle accident lawyers have helped thousands of victims get their lives back on track after sustaining an injury. We have the resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible and pursue maximum compensation for medical bills, property damages, lost income, pain and suffering, and much more.
Our firm also believes a bus accident victim should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you will pay nothing unless we win your bus injury case. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a bus, call Zinda Law Group today at (817) 381-7415 to receive your free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.