Buses are an important community resource. They transport kids to school, help commuters reach their workplaces, and allow those without cars to head out of town. When they’re run effectively, they contribute to a mobile, connected community. However, in the event of a crash, buses can cause catastrophic injuries.
Bus accident victims in Tyler, TX have the right to pursue compensation. Compensation through a settlement or verdict could reimburse you for your medical expenses and other losses. Our Tyler bus accident lawyer can review these losses and advise you on your next steps.
Compensation in Bus Accident Cases
Personal injury cases, which include bus accidents, hinge on damages. Damages describe the ways that you’ve been harmed by your bus accident. Through a settlement, you can usually receive compensation for two types of damages, economic and non-economic.
Economic damages cover your expenses, including:
- Upfront medical expenses, like surgery or hospital stays
- Ongoing medical expenses like physical therapy or counseling
- Property damages to your vehicle or other belongings
- Loss of earning potential
- Costs of medical equipment, like a wheelchair or respirator
Non-economic damages, while more complicated, are equally important. These damages account for the emotional fallout of your accident. This includes:
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
What if I Lost a Loved One in a Bus Accident?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the U.S. experienced 232 fatal bus accidents in 2019. These numbers can’t account for the trauma that families experience after losing a loved one. Whether you lose a spouse, child, or parent, recovering from an accident-related death may feel like an insurmountable task.
A settlement can provide financial support to you and your family, so you can focus your resources on mourning your loss. Our team will treat your case with kindness and compassion. We understand what you’re going through and want to help. A lawyer from our firm can pursue the following wrongful death damages on your behalf:
- Loss of a close relationship
- Burial expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Reduced earning capacity
Under Texas law, only a spouse, child, or parent can pursue a wrongful death case. If no close family members can pursue a case, an estate representative may be able to take over. An attorney from our team can discuss your wrongful death case eligibility with you.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
When you’re suffering in the aftermath of an accident, the amount of money you may receive becomes more important. However, estimating an exact amount is not possible without a thorough case review.
All bus accidents are both complex and unique. Some involve municipal vehicles like school buses, whereas others involve private companies. This variability extends to settlements, too. These factors, among others, could affect the outcome of your bus accident case:
- The liable party: Was your bus accident caused by an individual, municipality, or private company? The type of responsible party involved in your case may impact the value of your settlement.
- The strength of your case: Bus accident cases hinge on evidence. If you cannot prove that someone else caused your bus accident, you may not receive compensation. The evidence your lawyer gathers can strengthen your case for a worthwhile settlement.
- The type and severity of your injuries: Injuries are often the most significant damage in a bus accident case. Generally, the more severe your injuries are, the higher the settlement offer you receive.
- The outcome of settlement negotiations: Accident cases are resolved through settlement negotiations most of the time. This requires constant communication between your legal representation, insurance companies, and the legal representation of the at-fault party.
We Can Estimate the Value of Your Case
Knowledge is power. If you don’t know what your case is worth, you could be vulnerable to unfair settlement offers. Insurers or an opposing legal team may offer you a low settlement in the hopes that you don’t know any better than to accept.
We can help you estimate the value of your case. This way, you’ll know what you should receive in compensation.
Our Team Has Secured Notable Settlements for Clients Like You
Our legal team is led by Domingo Garcia. In the past decades, he and our team have won several notable settlements in cases involving large vehicles, including one over $8 million. When seeking a law firm, it’s important to review their previous case results. Multiple case victories demonstrate that a firm successfully represented its clients in the past.
In addition to these life-improving financial awards, we help our clients with the quality of our services. Our high google ratings and client testimonials speak to our knowledge, dedication, and communication with our clients.
For a free legal consultation with a bus accidents lawyer serving Tyler, call (903) 593-4545
Services Provided By Our Tyler Bus Accident Lawyer and Legal Team
Working with a bus accident lawyer doesn’t need to be intimidating. Our goal is to make your recovery as smooth as possible. We know that you’re stressed, and we want to take this weight off your shoulders. Here’s how we support our clients:
- Act as your legal representative
- Investigate your case
- Build an argument for your compensation
- Advise you on major decisions – we’ll act as your legal guide
- Keep you updated on the status of your case
- File a lawsuit if needed
These services are designed to allow you to take a hands-off approach to your case. You may be seriously injured, or you may have lost a loved one. In either case, the last thing you need is to deal with insurers, an aggressive legal team, or the municipality. You focus on healing. We’ll keep your case on track.
Can I Afford a Bus Accident Lawyer?
Many law firms, ours included, work on a contingency-fee basis. This payment plan is less complicated than it sounds. Essentially, it means that:
- We don’t require any upfront fees
- We don’t charge you unless we win you a settlement
- Our final payment will come as a percentage of your settlement
We adhere to contingency fees because we’re committed to putting our clients first. We believe that financial concerns shouldn’t prevent you from working with a bus accident lawyer.
Tyler Bus Accident Lawyer Near Me (903) 593-4545
Who Can I Sue After a Bus Accident?
In bus accident cases, the responsible party is usually referred to as the liable party. This is because whoever caused your accident is liable for your damages, meaning they’re responsible for compensating you.
There’s a wide range of potentially liable parties in a bus accident case, including:
- An individual driver: Just because your accident involved a bus doesn’t mean it was caused by a bus driver. An individual driver could have been speeding or ignoring roadway laws before causing your accident.
- A municipality: According to the FMCSA, over half of all fatal bus accidents in the US during 2019 were caused by school or metro buses. In these types of accidents, a municipal organization, like Tyler transit, may be liable.
- A private company: Private transportation companies transport thousands of customers throughout the U.S. daily. If a private company failed to thoroughly vet the driver who caused your accident, they could be held responsible.
This is not a complete list of potentially liable parties. Remember that every bus accident case is unique. Another party not listed here might be liable for damages in your case.
You Have Limited Time to File a Municipal Claim
Buses are often operated by municipal governments. This means that you might need to file a claim with the City of Tyler to receive compensation. If you intend to file a claim with the City of Tyler, you must notify the City Clerk within 30 days of your accident. This deadline is dramatically shorter than other legal deadlines.
For this reason, we advise you to get started on your case as soon as possible. Our team can manage your case deadlines, as missing them could sideline or jeopardize your case.
Starting on your case early offers additional benefits, including:
- Provides you or your lawyer with more time to gather evidence
- Ensures that witnesses don’t forget what they know about your accident
- Signals to the liable party that you intend to pursue compensation
- Allows our team to help you abide by relevant deadlines stress-free
The Statute of Limitations and Bus Accidents
The municipal deadline isn’t the only time limit associated with bus accidents. These cases are considered personal injury under Texas law. This means that they’re subject to the Texas personal injury statute of limitations. Under this law, you typically have two years to file a lawsuit after being injured.
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How do You Identify the Liable Party in a Bus Accident Case?
Identifying a liable party is a crucial part of bus accident cases. Doing so could allow you to receive compensation. This process entails multiple steps.
A legal case is like a house, and every house needs a strong foundation. Evidence is the foundation of a bus accident case and may include:
- Traffic camera footage of the accident
- Eyewitness interviews
- Your medical records
- Accident reconstructionist reports
- Police reports
Gathering this evidence requires time and energy. A Tyler bus accident lawyer from our firm can undergo this part of the process on your behalf. While you recover, we can build your case.
Evidence is not enough to win a case on its own. Ultimately, you’ll need to slot the evidence you’ve recovered into the four elements of negligence. These elements are like true or false statements – they must all be true if you hope to show that another party caused your bus accident.
These are the four elements of negligence with relevant examples:
- The liable party owed you a duty of care: Imagine your accident was caused by a metro bus. All drivers on the roadway owe others a ‘duty of care,’ meaning they’re responsible for not acting in a way that endangers others. This element of negligence is typically a given in bus accident cases – the metro bus driver, or their employer, owed you a duty of care as a fellow road user or passenger.
- The liable party failed to uphold this duty: The liable metro bus driver was feeling frustrated and decided to run a red light. This is considered negligent behavior. Therefore, the bus driver exposed others to risk and failed to uphold their duty of care.
- Your accident was caused by negligent behavior: After running the red light, the metro bus driver struck your car. This establishes a link between their negligent behavior and your accident.
- You suffered damages: The final element of negligence involves proving that you suffered from your accident. This entails using your medical records and receipts to illustrate the extent of your damages.
What Causes Bus Accidents?
The previous example involves one type of roadway negligence, ignoring traffic signals. However, bus accidents can have several other causes, including:
- A lack of vehicle maintenance – faulty bus components can cause accidents
- A lack of vetting on the part of a bus driver employer – hiring an inexperienced driver could expose an employer to liability
- Drunk driving
- Ignoring roadway regulations
- Distracted driving
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What Should I Do After a Bus Accident?
The aftermath of a bus accident can be confusing and frustrating. Victims who suffer from debilitating injuries may face considerable medical costs. Paying these expenses while being unable to work isn’t easy. Legal proceedings can further complicate your life as you recover from your accident. While your lawyer can take care of most things, you can help your case by following a few precautions.
Doing the following after a bus accident could streamline your case and reduce your stress levels:
- Seek medical attention: Speaking with a doctor after a bus accident has two benefits. First, if you’re seriously injured, you need to begin treatment as soon as you can. Second, a doctor’s opinion is the best way to document your injuries. Medical records can be used as evidence.
- Assemble evidence: Contact information of those involved in your accident is a great place to start. Videos and images of the accident could prove useful, as well. Don’t fret if you’re unable to gather evidence, though — our team can investigate your case.
- Contact law enforcement: The police usually arrive at the scene of serious bus accidents. However, if they didn’t, you should contact local law enforcement to inform them of your accident.
- Notify relevant parties: After a bus accident, it’s essential that you notify parties relevant to your case. If you plan to claim your own insurance coverage, contact your insurer right away. If your case involves a municipality, make a plan to get in touch with a relevant official.
- Consider legal aid: A lawyer could handle your case on your behalf. With their help, you can worry less and spend your energy on healing from your injuries.
Common Mistakes After a Bus Accident
Bus accident settlements are sensitive. Minor slip-ups along the way can ultimately harm the value of your case. Avoid these errors to protect your case:
- Ignoring doctor’s advice: There are several reasons you should heed your doctor’s advice. First, they know what’s best for your recovery process. Second, ignoring your treatment plan can indicate that your injuries aren’t severe, which may reduce your compensation.
- Speaking in detail with insurers: Your case may entail dealing with an insurer other than your own. The liable party’s insurer is not on your side. Avoid providing too much detail to anyone other than your lawyer or doctor. An insurer may use the information you provide against you.
How do I Pursue Compensation?
After a bus accident, there are usually two ways to pursue compensation. If neither of the following methods is sufficient to cover your damages, your lawyer can help you determine if your own insurance can help.
An Insurance Claim
Individuals and businesses typically carry insurance. For example, in Texas, drivers are mandated to carry liability insurance. This type of insurance is designed to compensate those injured by someone else’s errors. Per the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), these are the policy minimums for individual drivers in Texas:
- $30,000 for individual injuries
- $60,000 in total injuries per accident
- $25,000 in property damages
To access this insurance, you’ll need to contact the responsible party’s insurer. Then, you can negotiate with their insurer to receive a settlement.
This approach is most commonly used when an accident is caused by an individual driver. A private bus company may carry insurance as well. Our lawyers can negotiate with insurers on your behalf. We know what to expect as we’ve dealt with insurers in the past. With us on your side, you won’t have to fret over maintaining contact with and avoiding the manipulative tactics of these companies.
Lawsuits, despite their prevalence in movies, TV shows, and books, are less common than you might think. Many types of legal cases are settled without the use of a lawsuit.
There are a few reasons that you may need to file a lawsuit after a bus accident, though:
- You receive an unfair settlement offer
- The driver who caused your accident wasn’t carrying insurance
- Your lawyer believes it’s the best way to receive a fair settlement offer
Our lawyers can advise you on filing a lawsuit. While we may encourage a lawsuit in some cases, we will only do so if we believe it to be in your best interest.
What if I Was Partially Responsible for My Bus Accident?
States throughout the U.S. address negligence in a variety of different ways. In Texas, comparative negligence applies when the drivers involved are both partially at fault. This type of negligence law assigns fault as a percentage. Generally, if you were less than 50% responsible for your accident, you can still recover a settlement.
For example, let’s say that you were struck by a bus while driving through an intersection. The evidence reveals that you were talking on your phone via a Bluetooth device. This led to you being partially distracted. For this reason, it’s determined that you were 20% responsible for the accident.
During settlement negotiations, you receive a $500,000 offer. Because you were 20% responsible for the accident, you can only receive 80% of the $500,000 settlement. Your final award would be $400,000.
Federal and State School Bus Regulations
School buses are subject to a number of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and state-level regulations. These regulations may be important if your accident involved a school bus.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
The NHTSA doesn’t control how states operate school buses. However, they do require that school buses meet several safety standards. These standards are called Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). Notable examples include:
- School buses must be equipped with seatbelts
- School buses must have additional padding where a passenger’s head could strike a seat
- School bus seats must be a specific width
These standards are highly specific and could play a role in your accident. If your child was injured on a school bus that didn’t meet safety standards, you could pursue compensation. Our team can review relevant FMVSS to determine if they apply to your case.
State regulations apply to school bus usage, too. For example, if a school plans to transport 15 or more students, they must use a bus that meets FMVSS guidelines. Similarly, school administrators must prevent children from standing in a bus while it’s in use. Failure to meet these guidelines could open a school or municipality to liability in the event of a crash.
Keep in mind that this is only a small sample of state and federal regulations. FMVSS and state school bus regulations are extremely thorough. Our school bus lawyers are prepared to review any information that might be relevant.
Common Bus Accident Injuries
Bus accidents, like any other car accident, can result in serious injuries. After a bus accident, you may suffer from:
- A traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Herniated discs
- Broken bones
- Organ failure
- Internal bleeding
- Torn ligaments
- Severe burns
These medical conditions are often expensive to treat. It’s essential that you see a doctor so that your injuries can be diagnosed. In some cases, waiting until symptoms appear can make it difficult to connect your accident to your injuries. If your health insurance doesn’t provide adequate coverage, we’re prepared to pursue compensation on your behalf. Your recovery is our priority.
Contact a Bus Accident Lawyer Today
Bus accidents are traumatic events. They can leave victims with severe life-long injuries. Some cause fatalities, as well. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a bus accident, we’re here to represent you. Contact Domingo Garcia today for a free no-obligation case review. You don’t have to face your case alone.
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