Texas Law and Casino Bus Liability
In north and east Texas, there exist several casino bus businesses whose job it is is to transport Texans across state lines so they can play in casinos in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
Services such as these are meant to entice casino-goers who would like to gamble and drink, but don't want to worry about getting a safe ride home at the end of the day. Some companies offering these services are very good at what they do. Others aren't. If you've been injured in an accident with a casino bus, or know someone who has, we'll tell you a little about how it works.
Questions answered in this section:
- What are the responsibilities of casino bus drivers?
- When is a casino bus responsible for an accident, and when is another vehicle?
- Is a bus driver always liable in single-vehicle accidents?
The Responsibilities of Casino Bus Drivers
All drivers have a duty of be responsible. What does this mean? Well, it means they have a responsibility to do all of the things you would associate with safe driving. They have a responsibility to make sure their vehicle is in good repair, and doesn't pose a danger to others on the road. They have a responsibility to obey posted speed limits, and other rules of the road. They have a responsibility to be aware of their environment, so that they can avoid potential hazards that could cause an accident.
By law, however, bus drivers are held to a higher duty. Instead of being held to the standard of a reasonable person who's expected to exercise reasonable or ordinary care in any given situation, bus drivers are held to the standards of a professional driver. This was established as far back as the 1920s in the seminal Bragg case. Ever since, Texas law has imposed on them a duty to make all reasonable efforts to protect the safety of passengers. When they fail to do this, the law judges them more harshly. This is because bus drivers are responsible for so many lives, so the potential for damage is much greater whenever they make a mistake.[iparticle id="1"]
Casino Bus Companies Operating in Texas
Here is a list of some of the best known casino bus companies operating in Texas today.
First Class Tours
First Class was founded in 1998. It operates a fleet of 44 vehicles and employs 80 drivers. In 2014 and 2015, First Class vehicles were involved in four crashes. While none of those were fatal, one of those was classified as an Injury Crash. Three required that a vehicle be towed from the scene. According to the Department of Transportation, 163 driver inspections required that none of their drivers be taken out of service, while 204 vehicle inspections required that only three drivers be taken out of service. First Class Tours offers transportation to four Louisiana casinos: Coushatta Casino, L'Auberge Casino Resort, Paragon, and Delta Downs.
OK offers transportation to casinos in Eagle Pass, Texas, and Kinder, Louisiana. The company boasts 18 vehicles and employs 19 drivers. In the past two years they were only involved in two accidents, which resulted in neither fatalities or injuries. OK's inspection results aren't as good as First Class, however. After 47 inspections, 8.7% of their fleet was taken out of service. After 44 driver inspections, 2.3% of their drivers were taken out as well.
GreatLand Tours is owned by Western Motorcoach, Inc., which has been serving the Houston, Texas, area since 2005. In addition to casino trips, Western Motorcoach offers a wide array of charter services. They operate 19 vehicles and employ 32 drivers. In the past two years, the company was involved in one Injury Crash. After 32 driver inspections, 3.1% of the company's drivers were taken out of service. That's compared with 6.1% of the company's vehicles after 33 inspections.
Common Accidents Involving Casino Buses
While the types of accidents a casino bus could potentially be involved in is limited only by one's imagination, fault for those accidents won't necessarily fall back on the bus itself. To better illustrate this point, lets look at a few examples.
- A bus is driving along the road, when an oncoming vehicle drifts over the center line and crashes into it. Accidents such as this are incredibly common. However, because it was the other vehicle -- and not the bus that failed to maintain its lane, liability for the accident wouldn't lie with the bus.
- An accident on the road causes traffic to back up. The driver of a casino bus is texting, and fails to notice that vehicles have come to a stop on the road ahead of him. He crashes into a stopped vehicle, causing an accident. This accident can be directly attributed to the driver's actions, and company operating the bus would be held liable.
Not all accidents are as cut and dry as the two examples outlined above. Let's say that a passenger is injured while inside the bus. Who's at fault? That depends. If the passenger injured himself as the result of doing somersaults up the center aisle, that wouldn't be the fault of the bus driver. However, there are several other instances in which a bus driver could be held partially liable. It just depends on the specifics of the accident.
You need an experienced attorney to handle your casino bus accident.
While the safety records of many casino bus companies is relatively good, that doesn't mean that they'll be caught off-guard when a lawsuit is eventually brought against them. Companies like these are staffed with lawyers who have plenty of experience rejecting insurance claims and denying victims the compensation they deserve. The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have been handling cases like this for over 25 years, and know what to do to help you win. If you've been injured in an accident involving a casino bus, give us a call today at 1-855-326-0000.
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