How to Build an Effective Bus Accident Case

By Jose Ceja
Managing Attorney

If you have been involved in a bus accident in Texas, the aftermath can be overwhelming and confusing. It is important to take immediate steps to protect your health, safety, and legal rights. First and foremost, seek medical attention, even if you do not believe you are seriously injured. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent due to the shock and adrenaline. Once your immediate health concerns are addressed, there are several steps you should take and types of evidence you may need to gather, either for an insurance claim or a lawsuit.

Steps To Take To Build An Effective Case

  • Police Report: Obtain a copy of the police report from the accident. It will contain an objective third-party account of the incident, including details about the involved parties, witnesses, and circumstances.
  • Medical Records: Keep all documentation related to medical visits, treatments, diagnoses, and prognoses from the time you received medical attention after the accident.
  • Witness Statements: Collect contact information and statements from anyone who witnessed the accident. Witness testimonies can be extremely relevant in establishing fault and corroborating your account of the accident.
  • Photographic Evidence: Take photographs and videos at the scene of the accident if you are able to do so safely. Include images of your injuries, damage to the bus and other vehicles, and the surrounding area, including any road signs, traffic signals, and weather conditions.
  • Black Box Data: If the bus is equipped with an event data recorder, it can provide details about the bus’s speed, brake usage, and other factors at the time of the accident.
  • Traffic Laws: Showing that the defendant violated a traffic law can help establish negligence.
  • Documentation of Damages: Document any damages you have suffered as a result of the accident. This includes physical damages to your property and evidence of all other damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • Expert Testimony: In some cases, you may need the testimony of accident reconstruction experts or medical experts to support your claim regarding the cause of the accident or the extent of your injuries.
  • Legal Notices and Filings: Send any required notices (such as a notice of claim if a government entity is involved) and make sure that you file any lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. The statute of limitations in Texas, is generally two years from the date of the accident for personal injury claims.
  • Bus Company and Driver Information: Gather information about the bus company, the vehicle, and the driver. This can include the company’s safety record, the driver’s employment history, and the maintenance history of the bus.
  • Federal and State Regulations: Determine whether any state or federal transportation regulations were violated, as this can be critical in establishing negligence.
  • Insurance Information: Obtain insurance information from all parties involved in the accident. You may need to communicate with multiple insurance companies, including the bus company’s insurer.
  • Legal Representation: Consider consulting with a personal injury attorney who specializes in bus accidents. An attorney can help navigate the legal complexities and advocate on your behalf.

Elements For A Legal Case If You Have Been A Victim Of A Bus Accident

In Texas, as in most jurisdictions, to make a case for a bus accident (which could involve a personal injury claim, wrongful death claim, or both), you typically need to establish the following elements:

  • Duty of Care: The bus driver (and/or bus company) had a duty to operate the bus in a safe manner and to ensure the safety of the passengers and the public.
  • Breach of Duty: The bus driver or company failed to fulfill this duty through negligence or wrongdoing. For example, the driver might have been driving recklessly, or the bus company might have failed to maintain the vehicle properly.
  • Causation:  You need to prove that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the accident and the resulting injuries or damages. This means that the accident would not have occurred if not for the defendant’s actions or inaction.
  • Damages: You must have suffered actual damages from the accident, which can be physical, emotional, and/or financial. These damages might include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Takeaway

Bus accident cases can be complex, involving potentially multiple responsible parties, such as the bus operator, the bus company, or even government entities, depending on the type of bus service. It is advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who is familiar with bus accident cases. Contact Ceja Law Firm, PLLC.  We can help determine the liable parties, assist in dealing with the insurance companies, and guide you through the necessary steps to file a claim or a lawsuit for damages. We will help to ensure that you take all of the necessary legal steps and protect your rights throughout the process.

About the Author
Jose Ceja is the managing attorney of Ceja Law Firm. He has practiced law since 2007 and has devoted his career to the practice of criminal law. Mr. Ceja began his legal career as a felony drug prosecutor, where he prosecuted drug, gang, and violent offenses. Mr. Ceja has first or second chaired almost 100 trials, including murders, drug cases, DWIs, and assaults. In his career as a defense attorney, he has regularly obtained dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and grand jury “no bills” in a wide variety of cases.