Large cities throughout the U.S. have done well to embrace public transportation in recent years — Houston and Sugar Land included. While public transportation offers a wide range of benefits to the community and the environment, city bus drivers (and other public transit professionals) are just as prone to make harmful mistakes as the rest of the driving population.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that between fiscal years 2016 and 2017, transit-related injuries dropped from 1,121 to 904, and fatalities dropped from 14 to 10. While these numbers indicate that our state’s safety regulations are moving in the right direction, that doesn’t negate the fact that people throughout Texas are still getting hurt and even killed in accidents involving buses, metros, and other public transit systems.
Who Pays for Public Transportation Injuries?
Before the Texas Tort Claims Act was passed in 1969, people injured in public transportation accidents were unable to sue the government for the harmful mistakes made by local, county, or state-employed drivers. Fortunately, that’s not the case anymore.
When your injuries or the wrongful death of your loved one is caused by a bus driver’s mistake, you have every right to seek financial compensation from the government entity that bus service belongs to. The same can be said for other forms of public transit as well, such as the city metro.
For instance, let’s say that a distracted bus driver swerves and hits another car. Those injured in the accident discover that the bus line is owned and operated by the city of Houston. They can now file what’s known as a Texas tort claim against the city. By making a tort claim, they are legally demanding that the city compensate them for their medical bills, time missed from work, property damage, and other costs caused by the accident.