Public Transportation Accidents

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.

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Time Limits to Claim Compensation

Please note that bus accident cases have notoriously short deadlines — meaning you want to get started on your claim as soon as possible if you hope to get paid for your accident. You see, unlike most personal injury cases, those involving public transit have two deadlines: the “notice” deadline and the traditional personal injury claim deadline.

  1. The “notice” deadline requires you to notify the government entity you plan to file your claim against. Since each Texas city is allowed to set their own time frame for this deadline, you could have as little as 45 days or as much as 6 months after the accident to send notice.
  2. The personal injury claim deadline is generally 2 years in Texas. In other words, you have 2 years following the accident to file your tort claim against the entity responsible for your injuries. Keep in mind that if you fail to send that initial notice on time, your tort claim will almost certainly be thrown out.

For bus and other public transit cases, acting quickly is crucial. The best thing you can do is to contact a Texas attorney as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss either deadline.

Types of Bus Accident Injuries

As far as Texas law is concerned, you are eligible for compensation regardless of whether you were hurt while riding the bus or after being hit by the bus. Likewise, you may be able to file a tort claim on behalf of your loved one if they were severely injured or lost their life in a public transit accident. These are just a few of the many ways in which Texas strives to protect its drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians from lasting physical and financial damages.

Bus & Metro Accident Lawyer Serving Houston & Sugar Land, Texas

If you or a loved one was hurt in a bus crash, metro accident, or other event caused by a public transit professional, contact the Law Office of Frederick K. Wilson II. With free initial consultations and a vast knowledge of Texas law, we are here to provide you with the legal guidance you need without adding any new financial stress to your situation. Let our experience benefit your case.