Filing a Bus Accident Claim in Dallas
There are about 9,000 bus accidents annually which result in approximately 12,000 victims injured and 330 fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), bus drivers hit between 90 and 100 pedestrians a year.
Factors that can Cause Accidents
Accidents can occur because of the many demands placed upon the shoulders of a bus driver and the many challenges he/she has to adjust to: long relay (drivers who drive 9-11 hours before having 10 hours of time off), straight through haul (drivers who drive cross country), irregular sleep patterns, fatigue, long hours, tight pickup and delivery schedules, irregularity in eating patterns, adverse road, traffic and weather conditions.
There are many negligent factors that can cause a bus accident- from defective parts to dangerous roadways to distracted driving or lack of training. In these instances, a bus driver and/or bus company can be held liable for any injuries sustained. In the event of an accident, individuals can sustain serious injuries such as: sprains, fractures, internal injuries, concussions, burns or brain and spinal cord injuries.
Because buses usually weigh more than 10,000 pounds, bus drivers often have poor visibility due to the large size of the bus and the limited rear view, vehicles can easily collide into a bus because of visibility issues, and because, in the case of school busses, other motorists can get impatient and try to get around the bus, bus accidents can occur- and result in significant harm. Sometimes a bus accident was not the fault of a driver or company- but often times it is.
The Responsibility of a Bus Driver
Bus drivers who transport passengers are known as "common carriers" and have a high degree of care. Under Texas law, these drivers must exercise "very cautious, competent and prudent" care. The Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Handbook gives very detailed advice to bus drivers including, "Make sure you are rested and alert. If you are drowsy, sleep before you drive! Even a nap can save your life or the lives of others. If you wear eye glasses, make sure they are clean and unscratched. Don't wear sun glasses at night. Do a complete pre-trip inspection of your vehicle. Pay attention to checking all lights and reflectors and cleaning those you can reach."
When you are injured in a bus accident, you could be eligible to receive a wide variety of damages- from medical bills, to lost wages, to pain and suffering, to loss of enjoyment of life, to loss of consortium or punitive damages. Because bus companies can be especially susceptible to personal injury lawsuits, they will not easily hand over damages or most likely will attempt to settle your case for a lot less than its worth.
What to Do After a Bus Accident
If you were injured in a bus accident, after receiving medical care you should:
- Get the name and contact information of the bus driver, bus owner, bus manufacturer and bus company
- Obtain the bus driver's license and employee number
- Get the name and contact information of any witnesses
- Get the identifying number and license plate of the bus
- Take pictures of the damages bus and your injuries
- See if any street cameras might have captured the accident
Our Dallas bus accident attorneys can secure the aid of an accident reconstructionist and medical experts as you go about making your claim. Because you are going up against a large and intimidating bus company that will already have legal experts ready to represent their best interests, it is important that you do not file a personal injury claim without the proper legal backing on your side as well. In Texas you only have two years to file a personal injury claim after an accident occurs, so call Zinda Law Group to get aggressive Dallas personal injury lawyers on your side today!