According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1,344 people were killed due to school-transportation-related accidents between 2004 and 2013. Surprisingly, 71 percent of the people killed in those school bus crashes were not bus occupants. While these statistics show some consistency, the causes of these accidents tend to vary. Many are caused by bus drivers, while others can be blamed on pedestrians and other vehicles.
If you have been involved in a school bus crash, you have probably wondered if you can legally pursue compensation for your injuries. At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., we understand that funds are needed to pay for medical bills and other essential items.
Call (281) 283-8500 today to see how our Houston bus accident lawyer can fight for what you deserve.
Sovereign Immunity and the Texas Tort Claims Act
Decades in the past, sovereign immunity protected all government entities in the state of Texas. In essence, it disallowed private citizens from suing government organizations if they were at fault for an accident. In those days, a flaming city bus could fly through your front door and the government would not have to provide you with any compensation. Thanks to the Texas Tort Claims Act, which was implemented in 1969, government entities can now be sued in the state of Texas. This includes the public school districts that are commonly held liable for accidents involving school buses.
Unfortunately, the state government found a way to protect themselves even after the Texas Tort Claims Act was passed. Realizing that the floodgates had been opened to a wave of lawsuits, government officials implemented damage caps. These caps limit the amount that one person or a group can be awarded when the state government is determined to be liable for an accident. The damage cap for one person is set at $250,000.
Who is Responsible?
It is important to determine who was at fault for an accident before filing a lawsuit. In many cases, the driver of the bus may be at fault. If an accident occurs when a bus turns left, for example, the bus driver will most likely be blamed due to the fact that the bus driver did not have right of way. In other cases, pedestrians or the driver of another vehicle may be to blame. For instance, an accident in which a vehicle ran a red light and collided with a school bus would be blamed on the vehicle.
If the bus driver is to blame, it is important to determine whether or not that driver is an agent of the school. If the bus driver was employed as an agent of the school rather than an employee of a contracted bus company, then the school district is vicariously responsible. In this case, you would be able to sue the school district along with the bus driver. Typically, the school district is held vicariously responsible if the bus driver was acting within the scope of his or her employment.
Let The Krist Law Firm Help
Regardless of the incident’s cause, school bus crashes can have devastating effects on your life. You may be injured and unable to work, or perhaps you lost a loved one in the accident. At The Krist Law Firm, our Houston bus accident lawyers have years of experience in helping good people obtain compensation.
Call (281) 283-8500 now to see how we can work with you to fight for the funds you deserve.