Hundreds of people entrust their safety to public buses every day. Yet, passengers can face serious injuries and expenses after a bus crash. In these cases, you may need help from an experienced Houston bus accident attorney to get the compensation you deserve for your case. Let’s talk about passenger claims for bus accidents and how your attorney may be able to help with your claim.
Talk to a Houston Bus Accident Attorney if You Were a Passenger Injured in a Bus Crash
If you were injured in a crash while riding on a bus, then you may want to discuss your case with a Houston bus accident attorney. Your attorney can be a great source of information as you seek compensation from the at-fault party. They are there to help with each step of your case, from helping you file paperwork and gather evidence to negotiating to get you a fair settlement.
What to Do After a Bus Accident to Help Your Auto Accident Claim in Houston
Right after a bus accident, you might not know what to do. One of the first things to do is check yourself and others for major injuries. The next step is to call the authorities to get police on the scene and also paramedics if anyone is seriously hurt.
If you’re injured, it’s important to seek medical care, even if you don’t think your injuries are that bad. Many people feel fine directly after an accident because of adrenaline and stress, but you could be seriously injured. It helps to get a medical evaluation to make sure you’re not seriously hurt and also to get evidence for your claim.
After an accident, you may not be able to gather evidence at the scene if you’re injured. In these cases, the police will generally get pictures and descriptions of the accident. However, if you can do so, try to get evidence for your bus accident claim at the scene like pictures of the damage, road conditions, and anything else that may be useful for your case. You should also get information for your claim, such as the bus’s information, the bus driver’s information, and the other driver’s information if there was another car involved.
The next step is to contact your Houston bus accident attorney. Getting them involved early can help immensely in your case, especially because bus accidents can be incredibly complex and challenging.
Bus Accident Claims May Have Some Unique Challenges
There are many potential challenges you may face with your case after a bus crash. That’s why it’s important to hire a Houston bus accident attorney for your case.
One issue is that there are many potential parties that may share blame for your accident. For instance, it might be the bus driver, another driver, or even the company responsible for maintaining the bus. Your attorney can help you determine who is at fault so you can file an auto accident claim in Houston against them to cover your expenses.
Also, keep in mind that you likely aren’t the only passenger injured. Buses are seen as safe because of their size and stability. They are also less likely to get into accidents. However, when buses do crash, there are no safety restraints or airbags, which can lead to major injuries for many passengers. Therefore, you may also face issues because so many others may be making a claim as well. Your Houston bus accident attorney can help you strategize to get the compensation you need after your accident.
How Your Houston Bus Accident Attorney Helps if You Were Injured by a METRO Bus
If you were on a public bus in Houston, then it was likely a METRO bus. The local transit authority, which is part of the local and state government, owns and operates these buses. It’s important to know this, because making a claim against the government comes with some special considerations. Therefore, if you were injured in a METRO bus crash and the driver was at fault, talk to your attorney about your case.
You Have a Limited Time to File a Claim: Your Houston Bus Accident Attorney Helps You Meet These Deadlines
In Texas, you usually have up to two years after a car accident to file a claim. However, because you’re dealing with a government agency, you actually have a shorter window. For claims against the Houston METRO, you have just 180 days to file a claim. Otherwise, you lose the right to file a claim or lawsuit.
METRO has a special claim form online that you can fill out before mailing or hand-delivering the form to them. Your Houston bus accident attorney can help you fill out this form and also manage any deadlines so you can get the compensation you need after your bus accident.
Essential Evidence for METRO Bus Accident Claims
There are also a few things you will need to know to make a claim for a METRO bus accident. They include:
- Date of the accident
- Time of the accident
- Location of the accident
- Weather conditions
- Visibility (light or dark outside)
- Bus number
- Bus route
- Your boarding location
- Your exit location
You will also need the police report number if you know it. For the claim, you need to provide a description of the incident in your own words. Otherwise, you can’t make a claim. Therefore, it’s important not to leave it blank. Your Houston auto accident attorney can help you word your description for your claim.
Your Houston Bus Accident Attorney Helps You Understand Your Rights When Making a Claim Against the Governmental Bus Owner
Because making a claim against a public bus means you’re pursuing a claim against a government agency, there are several things you need to know. The first is that you may not be able to file a lawsuit against them due to sovereign immunity laws. These laws basically mean that the government is typically immune to lawsuits.
In addition, there may also be limitations on the amount of compensation you can receive. There are many laws in place regarding claims against the government. Your Houston bus accident attorney can help you understand any limitations that may apply for your accident compensation.
What if Another Driver Was Responsible for the Bus Accident?
In many cases, the bus driver may not be at fault for the accident, but another driver may be. In these cases, you will seek compensation from the other driver.
Your Houston Bus Accident Attorney Helps You File a Claim Against the At-Fault Driver
If another driver is at fault for your injuries as a bus passenger, then you can typically file a claim against their auto insurance policy like you would if you were injured in a passenger car accident. This involves contacting their insurance company and starting a claim with them. From there, you will deal with an insurance adjuster to resolve your claim. Your Houston bus accident attorney can help you with everything from submitting evidence to negotiating a settlement amount for your case.
Keep Auto Insurance Policy Limits In Mind for Your Auto Accident Claim in Houston
One important thing to note is that most auto insurance policies have limits. This means the maximum amount the insurance will pay for a covered claim. You should know this for any car accident, but particularly for bus accidents, as many others may be filing a claim against the at-fault driver.
Insurance limits usually provide a set amount for individuals, entire accidents, as well as property damage. In Texas, drivers are must have minimum liability coverage for $30,000 per person for injuries, $60,000 for injuries for an entire accident, and $25,000 for property damage. You can have more coverage as well.
Let’s say the at-fault driver for your bus crash only has minimum liability auto insurance. This means that if you have $50,000 in injury-related expenses, the insurance company would only pay you $30,000. The driver is responsible for the rest.
In a bus accident, you might be one of several people making a claim. Since the insurance will pay out a maximum of $60,000 for the entire accident, that means there are a lot of people vying for a slice of the settlement pie. Often, this is a first-come-first-serve situation from the insurance company’s perspective. Your Houston bus accident attorney may recommend a certain strategy to help you get the compensation you need after an accident.
You May Need Your Attorney’s Help to Sue the Negligent Driver
If you have damages that go above and beyond the insurance policy’s limits, then you may need to sue the negligent driver to recover your damages. Taking a settlement from the insurance company often means signing a waiver stating you won’t pursue further legal action against the insurance company or the driver. Therefore, you may need to file a lawsuit instead of settling a claim out of court if you can’t get the compensation you need due to insurance limits. In these cases, it allows you to get the maximum amount you can from the insurance company and also keep the driver on the hook for additional compensation. Your legal team can help you determine if this is a good course of action based on the specifics of your case.
Get Help from a Top Houston Auto Accident Attorney – DeSimone Law Office
When you need experienced attorneys for auto accidents, choose our team at DeSimone Law Office. We offer legal counsel for bus accidents, car accidents, and truck accidents. Our goal is to help you get as much compensation as possible for your accident. Over our years in business, we have helped settle thousands of disputes for auto accidents. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation with our team!