If you have been involved in a bus accident in the state of Texas, several legal remedies are potentially available to you, depending on the nature and specifics of the accident. If you were a passenger involved in a bus accident, Ceja Law, PLLC can provide advice to you and help you determine if you have legal remedies.
Here are some steps and potential avenues to consider if you have been injured on a bus in Texas:
- Identify the Responsible Party: Identifying the party responsible for the accident is an important first step. You will need to determine who you think is the liable party for your accident – it could be the bus driver, the bus company, another motorist, or even a municipality if you were on a public bus. In some cases, the manufacturer of the bus could be the party at fault.
- Filing a Claim with Insurance Company: You might have to deal with the insurance company of the bus driver or the bus company, if one or both parties are responsible. Another insurance avenue might be to pursue a claim through your own insurance policy, such as health insurance or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If the insurance company is involved, you will undoubtedly be involved in negotiations with them as to how much you will be able to receive.
- Negligence Lawsuits: If the bus accident was caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of another party, injured passengers can file a personal injury lawsuit. To succeed in such a lawsuit, the injured party typically needs to prove that the other party owed a duty of care, breached that duty, and that the breach directly caused the injuries. Texas follows a modified comparative negligence system. If you are less than 51% responsible for the accident, you could potentially recover damages. The amount you can recover would be reduced by your percentage of fault. The damages you might be able to recover as a result of a negligence lawsuit would be compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and possibly more. If the accident resulted in a death, the deceased’s family may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Product Liability Lawsuits: If a defect in the bus or a part of the bus contributed to the accident, injured passengers may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor or seller of the defective product. Product liability claims can arise from defects in tires, brakes, safety equipment, or other bus components.
- Government Liability Claims: If the accident occurred on a bus that was owned or operated by a governmental entity, injured passengers will need to follow specific procedures to file a governmental claim. These claims can be more complicated because special rules and shorter time limits apply. As a result, it is advisable to contact an attorney to determine your rights.
It is interesting to note that the Texas Tort Claims Act was enacted in 1969, and governs the lawsuits against governmental entities in Texas. Before the act was passed, governments, whether local, county, or state, could exercise sovereign immunity. This common law doctrine simply states that you are prohibited from suing the government for monetary damages.
Recognizing that one way to hold the government accountable was through lawsuits, the Texas Legislature passed a law, which governed the rules for when you could sue the government, how to go about doing it, and how much money you could recover. The government, however, did set damage caps to limit just how much the government could be sued for. These caps can be found in Section 101.023 of the Civil Practices and Remedies Code of the Texas Tort Claims Act.
Keep in mind that the Statute of Limitations in Texas for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the accident. This means you typically must file a lawsuit within that time frame, or you may be barred from doing so.
It is important to note that legal proceedings can be complex, and it’s advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Texas to evaluate the specific circumstances and discuss your available legal options. Ceja Law, PLLC can provide guidance, assess the strength of your case, and help navigate the legal process to pursue the appropriate remedies.