What Happens If My Child is Injured in a School Bus Accident?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that it is much safer for children to travel to school by school bus than it is by car. But, accidents still happen even though traveling by school bus is safer than other modes of transportation. In fact, the NHTSA estimates that between four to six children are killed in school bus accidents every year, and countless others sustain serious, non-fatal injuries.
Although school bus accidents are not as common as car accidents, it’s still important for parents to prepare for the worst. What happens if your child is involved in a school bus accident? Here’s what you should know:
Who is Liable For Bus Accident Injuries?
Bus accident cases are complex for a number of reasons, including the fact that there are several parties that could be held liable for the victims’ injuries. The majority of bus accidents occur as a result of the bus driver’s negligence. Examples of negligent behavior include speeding, ignoring traffic signs or lights, using a cell phone while driving, or driving while intoxicated. If an accident occurs as a result of the bus driver’s negligence, the bus driver could be held liable. The bus driver’s employer can also be held liable in this situation due to the “respondeat superior” legal doctrine.
Defective parts can also cause school bus accidents. For example, if the brakes start to malfunction while the bus is in motion, the driver may lose control of the bus and collide with another vehicle. This is not the driver’s fault, but rather the fault of the defective product’s manufacturer.
Finally, other drivers on the road can also be held liable in school bus accident cases. For instance, if another driver drives through a stop sign and collides with a school bus, the other driver would be completely liable since they failed to obey the traffic sign.
The party that is held liable is responsible for compensating the victim for their injuries. This means compensating the victim for current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
How to File A Personal Injury Claim Against A Negligent School District
School buses are usually owned and operated by school districts, which means the school district could be liable in the event of a school bus accident. But, school districts are government entities that are protected by sovereign immunity laws. Despite these laws, the school district can still be held liable for school bus accident injuries. However, the process of filing a claim against a school district is very different from the standard personal injury claim process.
Instead of filing a claim with an insurance company, the victim will need to file a claim directly with the school district. This claim will need to be filed within six months from the date of the accident, so it’s important to move quickly. If a victim misses this deadline, they could lose the opportunity to recover compensation for their injuries.
Your claim will need to include your contact information, specific information about the accident, a summary of the events that happened, and the estimated value of the claim.
It’s strongly recommended that victims allow an attorney to prepare this claim instead of handling it on their own. The claim must mention all of the possible liability theories that you plan on pursuing in the case. If a theory is not mentioned in the claim, the court will not allow you to use this theory to prove liability in your case. For this reason, it is best to let an attorney handle this part of the case.
How to File A Personal Injury Claim Against A Negligent Driver
It’s common for another driver to be held liable for injuries sustained in a school bus accident. School bus accident cases like these are much easier to handle than cases involving school districts or manufacturers. Typically, the driver’s insurance company is responsible for compensating the victims for their injuries. But first, the victim must prove to the insurance company that their policyholder is truly to blame. A personal injury attorney can conduct an investigation to gather evidence that proves the driver is to blame. Examples of evidence include witness testimony, police reports, and photographs from the scene of the accident.
Your attorney can also handle the negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Most school bus accident cases are settled through negotiations that take place outside of the courtroom. But, if the insurance company is not willing to make an offer, an attorney can take your case to court and allow a jury to decide whether or not you should be compensated.
How to File A Personal Injury Claim Against A Negligent Manufacturer
Manufacturers are held liable for school bus accident injuries that occur as a result of defective parts. Personal injury cases involving defective products are known as product liability claims. This type of claim is known for its complexity, which is why it’s so important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney will need to conduct a thorough investigation and work with experts to prove that part of the school bus was defective. Furthermore, an attorney will need to present evidence that shows that the defective part caused the accident and the victims’ injuries. If this evidence is presented, the manufacturer must compensate the victims for their injuries.
Has your child been injured in a school bus accident? If so, contact Carpenter & Zuckerman as soon as possible to discuss your case. Our team of personal injury attorneys will fight tirelessly to recover the compensation that you deserve. Let us handle the legal aspect of your child’s case so you can focus solely on helping your child recover from their devastating injuries.
Ready to Discuss Your Case?
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Team.
We’re available 24/7 to assist you with your personal injury matter.
Remember, you don’t pay any fees unless we successfully resolve your case!