While buses are often a safe method of travel, bus accidents in Houston, Texas do occur. These accidents can range from disorienting to lethal for those involved.
Houston’s roads are notoriously busy and hard to navigate, even for professional bus drivers, and the weight and relatively slow speed of buses — often considered assets in keeping passengers safe — can sometimes work against passengers after an accident.
In Mithoff Law’s decades of experience representing passengers hurt in bus accidents, we have learned that knowing what to do after a bus accident in Houston, Texas can provide those affected by the crash with some clarity during a very chaotic time. While the best course of action will depend on the circumstances surrounding each crash, there are some basic safety strategies that can be applied to most accidents.
Steps to take directly after a bus accident in Houston, Texas
What follows is an overview of what to do if you have just been involved in a bus accident in Houston, Texas. The steps outlined here are described in-depth in our article What to do After a Car Accident.
Step 1: Call 9-1-1.
As in all emergencies, one of the first things you should do after a bus crash in Houston, TX is to call for emergency services. Even if you believe you are OK, calling could still save the lives of others involved in the accident. Furthermore, a Houston police officer who comes to the scene will make an accident report that may prove useful should you find cause to pursue a personal injury case.
Step 2: Seek medical attention
Injuries incurred in vehicle accidents are not always immediately apparent. The adrenaline surge that accompanies an accident can dull or cover up pain and make major injuries feel like minor ones. If possible, do not discuss your medical condition with those involved in the accident, their insurance company, other legal representatives, or anyone who is not your attorney or providing you with medical care.
Step 3: Gather evidence
Depending on the severity of your injuries, gathering evidence may or may not be feasible. If you can document what you can with pictures, speak with fellow passengers, and document the names, contact information, and observations of those involved, including eyewitnesses. (For a full list of evidence to gather, click here.)
Step 4. Avoid signing documents until you’ve contacted your lawyer
You may need to sign police documents, but it’s advisable to avoid signing insurance documents without speaking to your lawyer, first. And, as always, it’s best practice to keep communication between yourself and the bus company or their representatives to a minimum until you have legal representation.
Understanding your legal options after a bus accident in Houston, Texas
A bus accident in Houston, Texas can quickly become complicated. Once retained, a Houston personal injury attorney can help their client(s) navigate the complicated legal framework of bus accident cases. If you’re not sure what to look for when seeking out representation, check out these top 5 signs of a quality bus accident law firm and look for law firms that address the following:
The facts of your case and their implications
What constitutes appropriate actions will depend on the particulars of your case. For example, the procedure for investigating charter bus accidents differs significantly from the procedure of investigating school bus accidents.
Most charter bus companies are considered common carriers — services that offer transportation of persons or goods in exchange for monetary compensation — and thus have a heightened duty of care, i.e. the legal obligation to provide a reasonable standard of care. Meanwhile, school bus accidents are handled under the Texas Tort Claims Act, which comes with its own set of legal requirements.
Navigating these different avenues takes know-how. Mithoff Law can claim more than 40 years of experience handling bus accident cases from all types of owners and operators.
The cause of the accident
At Mithoff Law, we frequently get questions along the lines of “Can I sue the bus driver?” or “Who is liable for bus accidents?” These questions have value but are often putting the cart before the proverbial horse.
Before you make a claim against someone or some entity, you must first establish what caused your accident. The causes of bus accidents vary, from driver inattention and/or fatigue to training issues, vehicle defects, and external factors such as other motorists. At the outset of a case, the team at Mithoff Law works alongside a team of subject matter experts to quickly dig through crash reports, witness interviews, and available physical evidence.
Once we can uncover the cause of the accident, we work to ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable.
Communication & deadlines
Those involved in legal battles frequently have to manage communication hurdles and multiple sets of deadlines. At Mithoff Law, we take the burden of managing these elements off of our clients’ shoulders as much as possible.
One deadline that’s important to keep in mind from the outset, however, is the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases is typically two years. However, some cases (such as those involving the aforementioned Texas Tort Claims Acts) have their own set of deadlines.
Demonstrating experience and preparing for trial
While it’s often easier on a client to settle a claim out of court, it’s always best to work with a bus accident law firm that prepares for the eventuality of a trial. One way to vet for law firms who have the experience needed to perform well in the courtroom is to check their record of success. In this respect, Mithoff Law has designated itself as one of the top firms in Houston (and, according to Forbes, the country).
Cases of note include the Hurricane Rita bus fire. During this case, Richard Mithoff served as lead liaison counsel for the plaintiffs, the families of 23 nursing home residents who died in a bus fire while evacuating from Hurricane Rita. The firm determined that insufficient lubrication of the rear axle caused the fire, and successfully negotiated an 80 million dollar settlement on behalf of the surviving relatives.
Mithoff Law is a renowned Houston bus accident law firm
The bus accident attorneys at Mithoff Law work tirelessly to ensure that, when bus accidents in Houston, Texas do occur, our clients’ best interests are thoroughly and thoughtfully represented. In reaching this goal we also help address safety hazards and prevent future accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident in Houston, Texas and you want premier legal representation, don’t hesitate to contact an esteemed Houston bus accident lawyer at Mithoff Law.
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- Plane Crash Aftermath: Resources & Representation
- Types of Personal Injury Compensation
- The Differences Between Negligence and Malpractice