An estimated 13,000 people were injured in school bus related crashes in 2019 according to research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While school buses are still the safest way for children to get to and from school, accidents do happen. While rare, school bus accidents can be significant because of the amount of weight and passengers involved. Most injuries and fatalities from school bus accidents are people who aren’t riding on the school bus, though passengers can be vulnerable as well. If you or your child was involved with an accident with a school bus, a Houston bus accident attorney can help you with your case.
Do I Need a Houston Bus Accident Attorney for School Bus Accidents?
After a school bus accident, it can be hard to know what to do from here. Of course, in the immediate aftermath you’ll want to seek medical care for any injuries and jot down important information, such as insurance information, license plate numbers, etc. But then what?
Generally, if there are serious injuries or a large amount of damages, many people decide to hire an attorney for assistance with their case. Often, school bus accidents can cause both. Also, the claims process can be a lot different for school bus accidents, which we’ll discuss in more detail a little later. Essentially, a lawyer can help guide you through the process of seeking compensation after an accident, which many people find invaluable for their case.
How are School Bus Crashes Different from Normal Car Accidents?
It’s not hard to see why you might hire a Houston bus accident attorney after a school bus crash. After all, this isn’t exactly a normal traffic accident. It’s not just that one of the vehicles involved is a unique shade of yellow.
First, there are tremendous forces involved in a bus accident. The average school bus weighs a little over 7 times your average sedan. Therefore, injuries may be more significant than a small fender bender between two passenger vehicles.
Also, depending on the time of day, the school bus may be full of students on their way to or from school. Therefore, many people may be involved in the accident. This can make things more complicated not only immediately after the accident, but while you seek Houston auto accident compensation.
In addition, the claims process may be much different after a school bus accident than a normal car accident. This depends on who’s at fault for the accident (which, again, can get pretty complicated). Therefore, you may want to have an experienced professional on your side after a school bus crash.
How Your Houston Bus Accident Attorney Helps You File a Claim
Filing a claim after a school bus accident can be difficult. In some cases, you may even need to file a Houston auto accident lawsuit. This all depends on who is at fault for the accident. In some cases, it may be the bus driver, in others it might be another driver.
Claims Against the School District
Now, if the school bus driver was at fault for the accident, in most cases you’ll need to file a claim with the school district. The exception would be if they’re driving the bus around outside of the scope of their employment. For instance, if they decide to pick up groceries in the school bus rather than their personal vehicle.
So, in most cases, you’re likely facing filing a claim with the school district. This is important because some special laws apply to school districts, specifically sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity essentially helps protect government agencies from liability.
Now, that doesn’t mean you’re just out of luck after a school bus crash. One of the exceptions is for traffic accidents. However, in many cases you have a shorter timeline to file a claim. Also, in many cases you may need to send a notice of claim before filing a claim. Therefore, an attorney can be helpful for this often more complex process for seeking compensation from the school district for a bus accident.
Talk to your Houston Bus Accident Attorney About Claims for Private School Buses
There are also numerous private schools in Houston, many of which may also operate school buses. If you were in an accident with a private school bus, then sovereign immunity doesn’t typically apply. Instead, you generally will need to file a claim with the private school’s insurance policy for your damages and injuries. Of course, proving fault and filing claims can still be difficult, so many people hire an attorney to help with this process.
Claims Against Drivers of Other Vehicles
Now, bus drivers can make mistakes, but most go through pretty rigorous training and driving record checks. So, in many cases, another driver’s negligence may have caused the accident. Therefore, you may need to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance to help cover your damages. For instance, if your child was injured during a school bus accident or if another driver’s negligence caused the bus to crash into your car.
If you’re at the accident scene, you will likely get all the information you need from the other driver to file a claim against their insurance. However, if you weren’t there during the accident, you can typically get this information from the bus driver or from school officials. Afterwards, your attorney can help you file the claim and negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf.
Call the Experienced Attorneys at DeSimone Law Office after an Accident
Dealing with a school bus accident claim? Our experienced attorneys at DeSimone Law Office are here to help you seek compensation! We’ve helped settle thousands of cases, including many bus accident claims. We’re here to help advocate for your rights, and we’ll even cover your out-of-pocket costs until you receive your settlement. If we don’t win your case for you, we ask for nothing in return for compensation. Whether you need help with a bus accident, motorcycle accident, or car accident, we’re here to help. Contact us now for a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys!