Roughly half of all school-aged children get ready in the morning and head down to their neighborhood bus stop. This translates to about 26 million kids riding 480,000 school buses, 5 days a week for nearly 9 months a year.
Many parents don’t have the time or resources to drive their kids to school every day, making the school bus a convenient option. They trust the schools, bus drivers, manufacturers, and maintenance staff to keep buses in good working order and get their kids to school safely. But, with any vehicle, there’s always a chance of an accident occurring. School buses are no exception to this rule.
School Bus Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2005 and 2014, 1,332 people were killed in school transportation-related accidents, 304 of which were school-aged children. Around 8% of those killed were occupants of the bus, 21% were non-occupants, and 71% were occupants of another vehicle.
From this, we can see that when a school bus is involved in a traffic accident, it not only puts its passengers at risk, but pedestrians and other vehicles as well. More statistics reveal that 22.4% of bus crashes involve a collision with another vehicle. Stationary and non-motorized objects account for 25.8% of bus accidents and 51.7% were the result of non-collisions, e.g. rollovers.
Who is Liable in a School Bus Accident?
There are several parties that could be considered at fault in a school bus accident. Including:
- Bus driver
- Owner of the bus
- Bus manufacturer
- Parts manufacturer
- Maintenance company
- Driver of another vehicle
- Construction companies or municipal crews responsible for road maintenance
- School district
- Private companies or schools who operate school buses
In a situation where the crash was caused by the driver of another vehicle, you can file a third-party claim with that driver’s insurance company, which typically ends in a settlement.
Where things get complicated is if the bus driver is found liable for the accident. In most cases, school buses are actually operated by either the school district or the local public transportation bureau. This is where having an experienced school bus accident attorney is really necessary, because lawsuits filed against government bodies are far more complicated than your average insurance claim.
Causes of Negligence
A large portion of bus accident injuries are the result of negligence on the part of one of the parties mentioned above. Specific kinds of negligence can include:
- Over 10 hours of driving time
- DWI or DUI
- Improper turning or passing
- Failure to observe right of way
- Distracted driving
- Working while tired or fatigued
- Improper training
- Overloaded buses
- Failure to adequately maintain buses
School Bus Accident Injuries
Adults and children suffer catastrophic injuries in bus accidents every year. Some of the most common bus accident injuries we see as attorneys include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Ligament and tendon damage
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Cuts, lacerations, bruises
- Wrongful Death
Compensation for Bus Accident Injuries
To be compensated for a school bus accident, you’ll need to be able to prove the accident caused harm, was the result of another person’s negligence, and the negligent party is responsible for paying compensation to the victims. How much and what you can be compensated for depends on several things:
- Your involvement in the accident. Were you a passenger, pedestrian, or a driver or passenger of another vehicle?
- How many parties can be held liable
- How serious your injuries are
- Personal factors (your age, your job, family members, etc.)
With the help of an attorney, you could receive financial compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Long-term care
- Medical equipment
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of ability to earn income
- Mental suffering
- Loss of quality of life
How a School Bus Accident Lawyer Can Help
Dealing with the aftermath of a school bus accident can be trying for you and your family. Seeking the help of an experienced attorney can be beneficial, as they can:
- Investigate the accident and the moments leading up to it
- Gather evidence to support your case, such as medical bills, photos, police reports, insurance information, and other important documents
- File a lawsuit
- Negotiate a suitable settlement with the insurance company
Whether the lawsuit is filed against a third party or a government entity, it can get complicated quickly. Don’t risk a successful outcome by trying to handle this kind of case on your own. Contact the attorneys at The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo today to schedule your free consultation at 877-529-1222.