Dallas Bus Accident Attorney
Attorney Michael Grossman Discusses Why Bus Accidents Are So Disastrous and Challenging to Litigate
Whenever you are injured by a bus, the resulting lawsuit is inherently complex. There are typically multiple parties who may be liable including the driver, their employer, and even the manufacturer of the bus or one of the bus's components. Our Dallas bus accident attorneys must first determine what caused the accident, then we will attempt to effectively prove the defendant liable for your damages. This means that we must show proximate cause that the defendant's negligent actions caused your injuries. This article will outline some of the various ways in which a person or company's negligence can cause you to be injured in a bus accident and how we might specifically help you in that situation.
Negligent Operation of the Bus
Probably the most common cause of a bus accident is negligent operation. This generally means that the bus driver was careless in their driving or reckless in their operation of the vehicle. In this situation the bus driver might have been speeding, or maybe he switched lanes without checking his blind spot. Not only does the bus driver have an obligation to his passengers, but he also has an obligation for the safety of other people on the road. He must obey all traffic laws and he must drive with caution so as to not hurt other people. If he fails to fulfill his obligation and acts careless or even reckless, and you are injured, then he is responsible for your resulting damages.
But is he the only person who can be held responsible for harming you. Typically, no. If we can prove that the driver was acting within the scope of their employment, their employer can also be held accountable for the bus driver's actions. So what does it mean to act within the scope of their employment? It simply means that the driver was performing the duty for which they were hired and conforming with the responsibilities of their job. In the past, to effectively establish the scope of a bus driver's employment, we have utilized employer documents which outline and give specific detail about the driver's duties and responsibilities. After we introduce this in trial we can show that the driver was acting in conformity with the job description. And as long as the driver was acting within the scope of their employment, the employer will be partially responsible for the driver's negligent actions.
The Defense of Governmental Immunity Involving Bus Drivers Employed by the City
Typically, if the bus is owned by the city or another municipality they would be protected under governmental immunity; however, the Texas Tort Claims Act allows you to hold the city liable in certain situations. The Texas Tort Claims act states that a city or municipality will be responsible for if a negligent employee injured someone while acting within the scope of their employment, and specifically if they injured someone while operating any type of motor vehicle. And the act states that the government will be responsible for various damages including damage to a person's property, physical injury caused by the employee's negligence, and even wrongful death. Therefore, if you were injured or your family member was killed in an accident caused by a negligent school bus driver or a DART bus driver, then the city or state can be held responsible under the Texas Tort Claims Act, in addition to the employee. However, the extent to which they are held liable is reduced by the Act. Specifically speaking, the amount that you can recover is capped, making it all the more necessary to have an attorney guide you through the process.
The city of Dallas and the local school districts employ teams of lawyers to represent them and defend against claims like these. They know that the Texas Tort Claims Act was designed to help you and your family, but they will do everything within their power to fight your claim. If a local municipality is responsible for your injuries due to a negligent bus driver, we can help you fight their claims of sovereign immunity. The Dallas bus accident lawyers at Grossman Law Offices are very knowledgeable about the Texas Tort Claims Act and we understand how to best use this unique law to help you recover what you deserve.
A company may also be found liable if they negligently hired a bus driver who then caused you harm. Despite having numerous ways to research an individual's past and look up any criminal or even questionable history, many employers will carelessly fail to to proper research and consequently hire a person who is not fit for the job. This might mean that the bus company hired a bus driver who has a history of driving recklessly or is a known alcoholic. For example, let's say there is a bus company based out of Dallas which specializes in bus charters. The company regularly rents "party buses" to clients specifically as a safe way to drink and travel responsibly. But what if the bus driver was driving drunk and hit your car as a result?
In this situation the bus company who hired the driver will be liable for his negligent actions, but they may also be considered grossly negligent if the driver had a history of alcohol abuse. We can prove that the driver had a history of alcoholism through witness testimony, medical records, and bank account information. For example, the driver's bank records might show that he regularly used his ATM card at a local liquor store on a daily basis and we could subpoena the store clerk to testify as to how often the driver shopped at his store and specifically tell the jury what type of alcohol he purchased so frequently. This type of evidence would greatly strengthen your personal injury claim and could potentially increase the amount of damages you may be awarded in court. If we can prove that the employer either should have known about the driver's alcohol abuse problem, or worse, they had actual knowledge of his addiction and hired him anyway, then we can effectively establish that the employer was negligent in hiring the driver and, therefore, responsible for your injuries.
Manufacturer Liable Under Product Liability
Finally, there is a chance that the driver was not actually negligent and did not directly cause the bus accident. Sometimes a bus accident will be caused due to a defective automobile part. This might mean that the brakes on the bus malfunctioned and caused the accident. Or it is possible that your child was on the bus when it was involved in an accident and a certain protective feature on the bus malfunctioned causing your child to be injured. Although these are two very different features, one prevents an accident, while the other auto part is designed to prevent injury in the event of an accident, if either one is the proximate cause of your injury, then the manufacturer will be liable if the feature was defective in some way. We will need to thoroughly inspect the defective product and uncover various types of evidence proving that the feature was constructed improperly. This might involve expert scientists and engineers evaluating the product and testifying on your behalf in court. There are various ways in which to prove a products liability claim, but if this has happened to you or your family we can help hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
If you have been injured in a bus accident your damages are probably the result of another person's negligence. Whether it was directly caused by the negligent actions of the driver or if it is the result of a defective component on the bus, you may have a valid personal injury claim against the liable party.
Our experienced Dallas personal injury attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have handled thousands of cases and have helped countless victims in Dallas and the surrounding area. If you have been injured in a bus accident and would like to learn more about your potential claim, call Grossman Law Offices at 1-855-326-0000.
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