Many churches and religious organizations in Texas use buses to transport members of their congregations, whether to and from services or to special events, such as conferences, retreats, or other church-sponsored events. Unfortunately, church bus accidents sometimes occur. Texas church bus accidents can result in catastrophic damage and losses to the passengers involved. As a passenger of a church bus accident, you are likely not at fault for the injuries you have sustained, and you may be entitled to financial compensation from the parties responsible.
Risk of Accident for Passengers of Texas Church Buses
Church organizations in Texas often arrange group transportation via buses or vans. These large vehicles can present unique dangers to passengers based on their design. Church buses require skilled drivers with special training. In Texas, church bus drivers must obtain a commercial driver’s license.
While bus accidents are less common than accidents involving other passenger vehicles in Texas, one bus and van accident can be more devastating, give the size of the bus and the numerous passengers, as opposed to a vehicular accident with smaller vehicles and fewer passengers. The maximum capacity for standard passenger vans can be up to 15 individuals while buses can range anywhere from 30 to 60 occupants at once.
The most common causes of Texas church bus accidents include:
- Negligence of bus driver
- Negligence of the driver of another vehicle
- An inexperienced or improperly trained bus driver
- Failure to inspect or maintain bus
- Defects in overall bus design, manufacturing, or equipment
Types of Texas Church Bus Accidents
Due to their larger and taller frames, church buses are more susceptible to certain types of vehicular accidents. Buses are similar to large trucks in that they are much heavier than passenger vehicles and higher off the ground, both of which make it harder to control the vehicle and maintain balance.
Common Texas church bus accident scenarios include:
What Injuries Do Texas Church Bus Accidents Cause?
Texas church bus accident injuries can vary depending on the type of accident as well as the safety features available to passengers. Commercial passenger buses and vans do not have the same safety standards or requirements as regular passenger vehicles, which can put a bus passenger in an accident at heightened risk of severe, or even fatal, injuries. Most commercial passenger vans and buses do not come equipped with airbags, and seatbelts are not always available on buses.
In Texas church bus accidents with multiple vehicles, the injuries you sustain may also depend on whether you are a passenger of the bus or a passenger of another vehicle into which the bus crashes. The injuries that you suffer in a church bus crash can be drastically different depending on the size of the bus, the safety elements available to you, and a given victim’s positioning at the time of the accident.
Common Texas church bus accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Severe lacerations
- Head and neck injuries such as a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)
- Internal trauma
- Spinal cord damage
Who Is Liable for Your Injuries After a Texas Church Bus Crash?
When you are a passenger of a church bus in Texas, you trust the operator of the vehicle and the company in charge of arranging the transportation to prioritize your safety. The company and driver also owe other drivers on the road a duty to operate safely and legally. Unfortunately, they don’t always live up to their duty of care, and accidents happen.
Texas church bus accidents can create complicated liability scenarios involving passengers in different vehicles injured due to potentially more than one actor’s negligence. The relationship of each of the parties to one another and the actions of everyone involved can determine who you can recover compensation from for your injuries and impacts. More than one party may be liable for the damages you have suffered.
Common liability scenarios in Texas church bus accidents include:
- Negligent bus driver – If the accident was the result of any negligence or error on the part of the bus driver, the driver can be held liable for the losses you have incurred.
- Negligent bus company – An accident that occurs due to the improper maintenance of the bus, negligent hiring practices, lack of routine inspections, or failure to make timely repairs can create liability for the bus company.
- Negligence by the church – In some cases, a church will not hire out the bus transportation services, but may instead own the bus or van themselves and assign a driver for church-sponsored activities and trips. In these cases, you may hold the church liable if it failed to maintain the vehicle or it hired an unqualified bus driver.
- Negligence of another driver – Not all bus accidents occur because of negligence related to the bus itself. If another driver is at fault for the accident, the other driver may be held responsible for the injuries and damages sustained by the bus accident victims.
- Negligent manufacturer – If a bus accident is determined to have been caused due to the defective design or manufacturing of the bus itself or components necessary to operate the vehicle safely, the manufacturer of the bus of the defective part could be held liable for the accident and your injuries.
What Damages Can You Seek Recovery for in a Texas Church Bus Accident?
A church bus accident can have many impacts on your life financially, physically, and emotionally. If you or a loved one is injured in a church bus accident, you could be entitled to compensation for the losses you incurred and anticipate incurring.
Damages in Texas church bus crash cases may include:
- Medical bills and expenses, including possible future impacts
- Lost wages and income
- Impacts to your income potential, currently and in the future
- Pain and suffering from your injuries
- The wrongful death of a loved one
Church bus accidents in Texas can give rise to various complicated legal liability issues and determine your compensable damages. A lawyer with experience in bus accident cases can be a valuable resource of knowledge, information, and guidance to help you protect your rights and fight for the monetary compensation you deserve.