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What You Need to Know About Bus Accidents in Texas


Bus passengers injured in connection with an accident may be entitled to compensation if negligence – either on the part of the bus company or its driver – caused or contributed to the crash.

In Texas, however, the laws that govern bus accident liability vary greatly from those that apply to typical car accidents, or even 18-wheeler crashes.

As such, everything from the size of the bus to its ownership impact how and when a claim must be filed, as well as the amount of compensation an injured passenger might be able to collect.

Texas Law Recognizes Two Broad Categories of Buses

Basically, Texas law divides buses into two broad categories: commercial buses and government-owned buses.

Commercially-owned buses include any vehicle that belongs to a private company or other entity, such as:

  • Commercial bus lines (Greyhound, etc.)
  • Casino buses
  • Charter buses
  • Church buses
  • Nursing home buses
  • Shuttle buses (airport shuttles, hotel shuttles, etc.)

Government-owned buses include:

  • City buses
  • School buses
  • Public transportation for the disabled

Texas Law Makes it Difficult to Sue Government-Owned Bus Lines

Texas law provides government-owned bus lines with an abnormal degree of protection from lawsuits, even when a crash is entirely the fault of the driver.

Notice Requirements:

The statute of limitations governing all Texas bus accident cases, including those that involve government-owned buses, requires any injured passengers to file a lawsuit within 2 years of a crash.

However, Texas law also requires that injured passengers file notice of their intent to sue within 6 months of an accident in cases involving government-owned buses.

What’s more, cities are allowed to impose their own notice deadlines within their city charter, ranging from 45 days to 6 months.

Bus accident victims who fail to provide notice within the specific time frame forfeit all rights to sue.

Damage Caps and Punitive Damages

Texas has imposed damage caps of $250,000 per individual and $500,000 per incident in accident cases involving government-owned buses.

What’s more, crash victims may only pursue compensatory damages (medical bills, rehab expenses, lost wages, etc.) against government entities and are precluded from seeking punitive damages.

Commercial Bus Lines Owe Their Passengers a High Duty of Care

Under Texas law, commercially-owned buses are considered “common carriers.” As such, they are expected to exercise a higher duty of care to their passengers and other people on the road than do typical drivers.

This duty goes well beyond adherence to normal traffic laws, and includes, among other things:

  • Maintaining a safe distance between the bus and other vehicles on the road.
  • Remaining alert and focused while driving.
  • Not falling asleep at the wheel.
  • Ensuring that bus drivers are physically and mentally fit for the job.
  • Ensuring proper maintenance.

Commercial bus companies are considered negligent when they – or their drivers – fail in this duty.

Passengers who suffer harm in connection with a negligent bus accident are entitled to compensation for their injury-related damages. They may also be able to pursue punitive damages if a commercial bus company’s negligent behavior was particularly heinous.

Minimum Liability Insurance Limits for Buses

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) imposes minimum insurance limits on buses, whether they are government-owned or commercial carriers:

  • Any bus that carries more than 15 passengers must carry at least $5 million in liability insurance coverage.
  • Buses that carry fewer than 15 passengers must carry at least $1.5 million in liability insurance coverage.

Those limits are considered “per incident,” not “per passenger”. In the event of a crash, any insurance proceeds would be split among the number of injured passengers.

Of course, that’s assuming the bus company’s insurer agrees to settle or a jury finds that negligence on the part of the company or its driver contributed to a passenger’s injuries. Unfortunately, it’s rare for bus accident cases to settle without a fight, and they frequently go to trial.

Not surprisingly, accident victims who obtain competent legal counsel are far more likely to receive a fair settlement or verdict compared to those who try to “work things out” with the bus company’s insurance adjuster on their own.

Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here For a Free Consultation with Our Undefeated Bus Accident Lawyers.

Having won over $1 billion for our clients, including some of the biggest bus accident verdicts and settlements in history, our Undefeated Bus Accident Lawyers have the resources, skills, and experience to take on the largest commercial bus companies in the world – as well as their adjusters — to ensure that you and your family are fully compensated for all of your injuries and losses.

Call 1-888-603-3636 or  Click Here to send us a confidential email through our “Contact Form” on our website.

All consultations are free and, because we only work on a contingency-fee basis, you’ll pay nothing unless we win your case.