Increased Bus Traffic on Dallas Highways.
Interstate 30 in Dallas is one of the major interstate highway routes and traffic corridors that travel thru the Metro Dallas area and has busy, sometimes congested traffic patterns. A bus accident occurred on I-30 in Dallas when a car hit a school bus as they crossed lanes. A student said the driver tried to save the bus from flipping and skidding by going off to the shoulder, but the bus eventually flipped over an embankment and landed on its side. Luckily the injuries sustained by nine students and the driver were not life threatening. With the expansion of Dallas Area Rapid Transit, and land development in the Dallas suburbs bringing more schools and children to be transported, the amount of bus traffic on the highways is steadily increasing the chance for buses to be involved in traffic accidents. Bus accidents seem to make news headlines every day involving school buses, charter buses, public transit buses and tour buses involved in accidents with cars, trains, trucks and pedestrians. Bus size can decrease the ability to maneuver the vehicle in quick stops or swerving movements to get out of the way and could be a contributing factor to the amount of accidents on record. A bus is a large and heavy motor vehicle that can carry more than 10 passengers including the driver thus increasing the potential for larger monetary damages compared to that of a single motor vehicle accident. Personal injuries may occur and settlements for damages are often higher from legal actions for bus accidents as injuries are more severe and involve a larger number of people. A personal injury lawyer specializing in bus accidents could help you sort out who may be negligent in a bus accident and what state and federal laws will support a claim for damages.
Things you should know regarding your accident, and any potential for a personal injury case involving a bus. Texas laws have requirements as follows:
Mandatory Insurance. Pursuant to Section 601.072 of the Texas Statutes, all motor vehicles must be covered by insurance including liability coverage for at least Thirty-Thousand Dollars per person, Sixty-Thousand for two or more people, and Twenty-Five Thousand for property damage for each accident.
Texas’s No-Fault Vehicle Insurance. In Texas, drivers must establish financial responsibility for their vehicle, accomplished by purchasing car insurance to cover expenses related to injuries and damages from vehicle accidents. Penalties for violating the financial responsibility laws include fines, license suspensions, impounding vehicles and prison sentences.
Statute of Limitations. Texas has a two (2) year statute of limitations for property damage and personal injury claims. This means if a driver, passenger, or passerby is injured or sustains property damage at the hands of a negligent driver, the victim must file a lawsuit within the two (2) year period following the accident.
Small Claims Courts. If you are a victim of a motor vehicle accident, you can choose to sue in small claims court if your damages are less than Ten Thousand Dollars. The suite would be filed with the Justice of the Peace courts in Texas.
Comparative Negligence (51% Rule).
When an individual fails to exercise the degree of care expected of someone in a similar situation, and it results in an injury of some sort, it is called “negligence.” Texas negligence laws stipulate that damages are proportionate to the claimant’s degree of fault, but Texas utilizes the 51% rule, whereby an injured person can be up to 51% responsible for an accident and still collect damages in a Texas personal injury claim but if you were more than 51% responsible for the accident, you are not able to recover compensation for your accident expenses. Seeking legal counsel from a professional attorney as he interprets the law so that you know what your options are to receive your best outcome for damages and injuries caused by the accident.
Bus accidents may occur due to: a lack of proper training for bus drivers; driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; talking on the phone or texting while driving; limitations to bus driver visibility; aggressive driving techniques, speeding or dangerous maneuvering of bus; sudden acceleration or braking; poor bus maintenance; and fault of another driver of vehicle.
Post-Accident Actions. If you are involved in a bus accident in Dallas, TX, you should:
- Check on the condition of the people involved;
- Call the police;
- Get a written accident report;
- Remain at the accident scene;
- Exchange driver and insurance information;
- Gather witness contact information;
- Call your insurance company to set up a claim;
- Seek out medical treatment if necessary;
- Take pictures of the scene, and the vehicle damages;
- Call an accident attorney to determine “fault” and actions toward a proceeding to address damages and injuries sustained.
Damages sustained through any type of bus accident should be addressed in accordance with Texas State Law, the accident and damages should be addressed within the two-year statute of limitations. Bus accident injuries are generally a result of negligence by either the bus operator, the bus owner or another vehicle. These include charter bus lines, school district buses, public transit buses, and tour buses.
The persons that can be sued in a bus accident scenario are: 1) driver of another vehicle; 2) owner(s) of bus as employer; 3) driver of bus; 4) commercial insurer of bus; 5) regulatory agency supporting bus safety on issues of bus manufacturer and parts manufacturer; and 6) licensing agencies of privately owned and public transit vehicles, city, county or state.
The two types of damages that victims can sue for include: 1) compensatory damages which are those damages causing economic (loss of wages, medical bills, and property damage) and non-economic loss to victim (pain and suffering); and 2) punitive damages meant to punish the persons being sued (Defendants).
Seek legal counsel.
If you are involved in a bus accident in Dallas Texas, call Lenahan Law Firm to seek legal counsel and establish actions toward a potential claim for personal injuries and damages related to the accident.
Lenahan Law Firm
2655 Villa Creek Drive, Suite 204
Dallas, TX 75234