Can I Sue the City If I Was Hurt in as Rider in a Bus Accident?
Nov. 9, 2022
For those of us who either must rely on public transportation or choose to ride the city bus, we place a great amount of trust in the bus driver to get us to our destination safely. But what happens if we’re involved in a bus accident and sustain injuries because of it? According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were over 2,000 bus crashes in Texas in the year 2020 alone. If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, you may be wondering who is liable and how you should go about getting financial compensation for your injuries.
If you’d like to speak with a bus accident attorney about your options and are in the Bryan, Texas area, call me at Rick Davis & Associates. We help clients throughout the area including College Station, Brenham, Anderson, Madisonville, Caldwell, Washington County, Grimes County, Burleson County, and Madison County.
Bus Accidents in Texas
Although riding a city bus is very safe, there are some factors that may contribute to a crash. First, the design of a bus makes it more likely to tip over if it’s in an accident because it’s so much taller than a standard passenger vehicle. In other words, buses have a higher center of gravity. Additionally, because there are usually no seatbelts on buses, when bus accidents do happen, they can often result in more serious injuries to the passengers because there’s nothing restraining them. Lastly, buses have an open floor plan and many riders bring their belongings on whether it’s a backpack, suitcase, or groceries. When a bus crash occurs, these items become projectiles which can cause further injuries to those inside. You remember Newton's First Law of Motion?... a body in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. When a vehicle like a bus is stopped suddenly while traveling fast because the bus hit a wall or a tree or the bus was in a head on collision, the bus stops but the objects in the bus that are traveling at the same speed tend to continue moving forward until they are stopped by hitting an object that is in front of them. If you are that object, you could be seriously injured by what is flying through the bus!
If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, there are usually one or two parties who may be at fault and you may have two ways to seek compensation for your injuries, medical bills and lost wages. In many instances, the crash was actually caused by the driver of another car. When that happens, your first option of recourse is to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver. In this scenario, you could pursue a lawsuit much as you would if you were in a regular car accident by filing a claim with the driver’s insurance provider. However, if the bus driver was at fault, you will need to file a claim against the bus operator, whether a private company or a city, and may need to file a lawsuit against the bus operator. This can be more complicated.
Suing a City in Texas
If you need to sue a city for a bus accident, you’ll start this process by filing a “notice of claim” with the government, and working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help immensely with this process. Essentially, you will submit documentation outlining the damages (injuries) that you sustained and a description of what happened. You will explain that you’re seeking financial compensation because of what occurred. You will also need to provide evidence that proves that the bus driver was acting negligently. Because of they are responsible for the safety of so many people, bus drives are required to exercise a high degree of care because if they are negligent in their driving, the consequences can be catastrophic.
While bus accident cases aren’t impossible to win, they can be more difficult from a legal standpoint. The main hurdle you’ll have to overcome is proving the bus driver's negligence - and sometimes you must prove that the driver acted with gross negligence. The other roadblock you may encounter is that since buses are all managed by different cities, the procedures to perfect (make) your claim may vary from one city to the next, even if the cities are in the same county. This is why you’ll want to hire an personal injury attorney who is very familiar with both state and local ordinances, and who can build a strong case for you to give you the best chance of winning.
Legal Advocacy When You Need It Most
You don’t have to go through this difficult time alone. If you or someone you love has recently been injured in a bus accident or if you've had a loved one die in a bus accident and you need to pursue a lawsuit, reach out to me at Rick Davis & Associates Attorneys at Law in Bryan, Texas. We serve personal injury clients in many counties within the Brazos Valley including Brazos County, Burleson County, Milam County, Robertson County, Grimes County, Washington County, Madison County, Leon County and Walker County and serve clients in the cities of Bryan, College Station, Millican, Franklin, Caldwell, Brenham, Madisonville, Huntsville, Cameron, Hearne, Navasota and more.