Houston Bus Accident Attorneys

From Charter Buses to School Buses, Our Texas Bus Accident Lawyers Are Here for You

Bus accidents have the potential to cause catastrophic trauma to multiple passengers and everyone else on the road. At Arnold & Itkin, we are here to help if you or someone you love has been injured in a collision with a bus. Whether you were a passenger, were driving another vehicle, or were a pedestrian or cyclist, our Houston bus accident lawyers have the resources, knowledge, and commitment to protect your interests and fight for your fair and full recovery.

The following are just a few benefits of working with our legal team:

  • We have won $20 billion in verdicts and settlements.
  • We've set records time and again across multiple states.
  • We treat our clients like family.
  • Your consultation is free, and if we take your case, you only pay if we win!

To find out how our Houston bus accident lawyers can help you, call (888) 493-1629.

Abogados de accidentes de auto en Houston

Billions Recovered To Rebuild Clients' Lives

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About Bus Accidents in Houston, TX

If you have questions about bus accidents and want to learn more about their causes, what to do if you've been in an accident, who is responsible, and more, you've come to the right place. In addition to calling our Texas bus accident firm at any time for a free, confidential case review, you can learn more by reviewing the information on this page.

The Dangers of Public Transportation & Bus Accidents

No type of vehicle accident is free of consequences—whether only a few scratches are incurred or catastrophic injuries result. This is particularly true of bus accidents. Because of the large size of these vehicles and the fact that they may carry dozens of passengers, bus accidents are likely to result in injuries—sometimes to many people.

Bus passengers may sustain injuries due to:

  • Lack of safety restraints
  • Inadequately trained drivers
  • Improperly maintained busses
  • Negligent bus drivers
  • Bus drivers under the influence
  • Defective bus parts

Bus mechanics can also contribute to accidents. Because these vehicles are so large, their brakes are under tremendous pressure and must be frequently examined and well-maintained. Unfortunately, many maintenance problems are ignored by bus operators so that the vehicles can continue their operations and not undercut company profits. 

When proper maintenance is neglected, additional stressors such as overloaded or crowded buses can cause or contribute to bus accidents.

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Why Injuries from Texas Bus Accidents Are Far Too Common

Per the U.S. Department of Transportation, bus accidents cause between 11,000 and 15,000 injuries per year. These injuries range in severity, although it is reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that there are around 300 bus accident fatalities every year. These numbers are far too high, especially when you consider how many communities rely on public transportation. Buses are used by adult commuters and students. Nearly 25 million children ride a school bus in the U.S.; there are around 20 deaths per year caused by school bus accidents.

Factors in Serious Bus Accident Injuries

Despite the number of accidents, buses are not required to make any changes to their equipment to create a safer environment. It is not unheard of to travel on a bus that offers no seat belts. When there are “click it or ticket” laws all over the country, it doesn’t make sense to deny passengers the chance to buckle up on a bus.

Bus safety advocates have another concern: Not only do the majority of buses today not offer seat belts to their passengers, but the roofs placed on most tour buses don’t provide adequate protection in case of a rollover, nor do the windows have the proper glazed covering. When involved in an accident, top-heavy vehicles like buses can flip on the road. Without adequate strength in the roof or windows, the possibility of roof crush increases—leading to more severe injuries. There have been recent cases of the dangers of “party buses,” in which preventable circumstances killed victims. One instance involved a girl who leaned against the inside of the bus and fell out of the emergency exit—a door that is supposed to have a particular lock on it to prevent accidental openings.

Because many buses lack proper safety equipment to protect their passengers, thousands are injured and millions of children and adults are put at risk every year in the United States.

Highlighting the Issue with a 2007 Atlanta Bus Crash

In March 2012, the U.S. Senate approved bus safety legislation tightening requirements for bus drivers as well as the companies that operate the vehicles. The bill was introduced after a 2007 bus crash in Atlanta that killed 7 people after the bus driver drove the vehicle onto an exit ramp and through a barrier wall, causing the bus to fall onto the highway below. An investigation by the National Traffic Safety Board placed blame on driver error and poor traffic signals.

Among other things, the bill requires bus designs to include seat belts and stronger seating systems to reduce the risk of injuries to passengers in the event of an accident. Investigators believe that fewer passengers would have died in the Atlanta accident if the bus had been equipped with seat belts. The legislation also calls for more advanced training for bus drivers, and the installation of anti-ejection glazing systems on windows, which can help reduce the risk of passengers being thrown from buses in the event of a collision or crash.

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Crashes Involving School, City & Charter Buses in Houston, Texas

According to the American School Bus Council, school buses are designed to be even safer than passenger vehicles. The NHTSA states that school bus drivers are highly screened and well-trained. Their driving records are frequently checked, they are randomly tested for alcohol and drugs, and they are trained to perform emergency medical procedures. 

Conversely, city buses, charter buses, and other types of buses are not held to as high of standards—making them dangerous commercial vehicles. For example, take city buses which operate on a strict deadline. It is the job of the bus driver to get their passengers to the next stop on time. Unfortunately, sometimes, this can come at the risk of safety.

School Bus Accident Statistics

When we send our children off to school, we do so with the expectation that they will arrive at school and return home safely. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. According to the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), since 2003, there have been nearly 1,400 school bus accidents that resulted in one or more fatalities. The vast majority of these fatalities were occupants of the other vehicles that collided with the bus.

Below is a breakdown that accounts for the total number of fatalities in school bus accidents:

  • Occupants of the other vehicle: 71%
  • Non-occupants (such as pedestrians and bicyclists): 21%
  • Occupants of the school bus: 8%

Children Killed In School Bus Accidents

According to the same statistics collected by the DOT, 344 children have been killed in school bus accidents since 2003. Surprisingly, very few are killed while riding the bus. The majority of the fatalities occurred as an occupant of another vehicle or as a pedestrian. Only 55 of the fatalities occurred to children who were on the bus during the accident. Children who were riding in another passenger car accounted for 161 of the deaths. Another 128 were pedestrians or pedalcyclists who were struck by a school bus or another passenger car while boarding or exiting.

Traffic laws in Texas and nationwide require motorists to stop behind a bus while it is loading or unloading students. Unfortunately, hurried or distracted drivers may not heed these laws, putting children in serious danger.

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Bus Driver Training

In order to become a bus driver, an individual must pass their CDL test. While the requirements differ for each state, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 did much to regulate the industry. All commercial vehicles are different, which is why depending on what the driver is going to drive, they have to pass additional tests.

Commercial drivers, such as individuals who drive buses, will also need to go through additional training and meet certain requirements. For example, because bus drivers interact with the people they are transporting, they will be tested for their people skills. Their hearing ability will also be tested to ensure that they can hear a forced whisper from five feet away without a hearing aid. Finally, their vision will be tested to ensure that it is at least 20/40.

Other important characteristics that a bus driver will be tested for include:

  • Customer service
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Hearing
  • Patience
  • Physical health
  • Vision

For more information on the qualifications and standards for commercial drivers, click here.

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Who Can Be Held Liable for a Bus Accident?

Unlike with car accidents, it can be difficult to determine who is liable for a bus accident. The party liable is usually determined by analyzing the accident. Unfortunately, it's often the insurer or well-funded defendants who provide accident analysis, meaning the analysis is done by the people who want you to recover as little as possible.

Privately Owned Bus Accidents

Filing a claim against a privately owned bus company is more complex than filing a claim for a car accident. There are multiple entities that could be found liable for any given bus accident. Often, multiple bus companies work together to provide transportation, necessitating a thorough investigation to make sure all potential defendants are included in the case. Discovering the conduct and policies that led to your crash requires experience, resources, and relentless effort—that's why hiring a seasoned Houston bus accident attorney is vital for your case.

Private bus companies have contingency plans and strategies in place for claimants like you. They put pressure on plaintiffs, offering low-ball offers while investigating ways to relieve themselves of responsibility. Their investigators and insurers are incentivized to keep you from getting the money you deserve. The only way to fight back is to have investigators, adjusters, and expert witnesses in your corner. That's what Arnold & Itkin provides.

Government-Owned Bus Accidents

Government bus accident claims are far different from private buses. For one, government entities can be more immune to lawsuits. In many cases, it is a challenge to recover compensation for damages because it is difficult to file a claim. Each state has different procedural rules for filing a claim against the government. For the most part, victims must file claims directly with the local entity responsible for operating the bus during the accident. Sometimes, multiple parties can be held responsible for contributory negligence, and if a private party is included on that list, you'll have more options at your disposal. Call us for a free review to learn how our Texas bus accident attorneys can help.

Typically, the bus accident claim must state the following:

  • The specific person, entity, or employee that was allegedly negligent
  • A detailed description of the accident
  • The victim’s name
  • The case for the scope of damages the claim is for

After filing the claim, the government will review and will work with the victim to compensate for their injuries if the claim is accepted. If a bus accident victim wants to file a claim against the bus driver or government entity, he or she must file within six months after the accident. The statute of limitations can also be much shorter.

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About Houston, TX

Houston is one of the largest and most populous cities in the United States. As of July 2021, Houston had an estimated population of nearly 2.89 million and encompassed a total land area of approximately 640 square miles. Houston is considered heavily reliant on automobiles; as of 2016, an estimated 77.2% of commuters drove to work alone. For those who do not have cars or prefer other modes of transportation, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) offers public transportation by bus in a service area covering more than 1,300 square miles, including the greater Houston area and nearby unincorporated communities. The local bus network in Houston includes a fleet of more than 1,200 vehicles and serves about 275,000 people every day.

For children attending Houston Independent School District (ISD) schools, the Transportation Department provides transportation to and from school, athletic events, field trips, and more. About 36,000 students are transported by Houston ISD buses every day; the fleet includes about 1,000 vehicles.

Houston Links & Resources

Call a Houston Bus Crash Lawyer Today: (888) 493-1629

Unfortunately, recovering damages after a bus accident can be challenging. Many buses are owned or operated by government entities, making liability more complicated. Even if you have been injured on a privately owned bus, filing a bus accident complaint is nothing like dealing with the aftermath of a normal car accident. Deadlines to file required notices pass very quickly, often within days of the incident. Arnold & Itkin is prepared to help.

We have successfully recovered billions in verdicts and settlements, and we know what it takes to help you do the same successfully. Bus accident victims should not suffer any more than they already have from their injuries, and we are here to make sure that everything possible is done to help prevent further pain and suffering.

Immediate action must be taken to preserve a claim against the responsible party. Call Arnold & Itkin at (888) 493-1629 today.

Common Questions

  • How Do Bus Accidents Endanger Other Drivers, Cyclists & Pedestrians?

    During a bus accident, not only are passengers in danger, but the safety and well-being of other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the road are jeopardized. While the large size of a bus perfectly serves the purpose of transporting many individuals at once, it also poses a problem for others on the road, particularly when it comes to an accident. There is a significant difference in size and weight when comparing a bus to a passenger vehicle. On the road, a bus could easily cause serious damage to the smaller, lighter vehicle if they were to collide.

  • How Can a Houston Bus Accident Attorney Help Me?

    After a bus accident, the insurance company might offer you a settlement that seems fair, but it will do little to cover your long-term losses. Or, you may be uncertain of who should pay for your medical care. Whether you have questions or have already been approached by the bus company or their insurance company about your accident, you can get the help and answers you need from a skilled lawyer. We offer a free initial consultation to talk to you about your bus accident, the next steps, and how to recover the fair compensation you need.
  • What Should I Do After a Bus Accident?

    The first step after any accident is to seek medical attention. You need to put your well-being first, so even if you feel that you are not seriously injured, see a medical professional and tell them that you were in a bus accident. They will know what injuries to look for, even those that do not immediately present themselves, like whiplash. Once you've seen a doctor, contact an attorney. Whether you were a passenger on the bus, were driving another car, or were struck by a bus while riding a bicycle or walking, an attorney will be able to help you understand your options and how to seek a fair recovery.
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