What To Do If Your Child is Injured in a School Bus Accident
Every school year, school buses help about 25 million children get to and from school. If your child is one of them, the good news is that school buses are the safest way to make sure kids get to and from school safely each day. Because of the strict regulations that apply to school buses and the design differences between school buses and passenger vehicles, the NHTSA states that students are 70 times more likely to arrive safely at school by taking the school bus rather than a regular car.
As safe as school buses are, they aren’t perfect. According to data from the NHTSA, between 2004 and 2013, there were 340,039 fatal motor vehicle accidents and of those, 1,214 (or 0.4%) involved school transportation vehicles. Even though school bus accidents are rare, during that time frame, 1,344 people were killed in accidents with school buses and the majority of those were people who weren’t occupants of the bus, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and occupants of other vehicles.
If you or your child has been injured in a school bus accident, it’s definitely important to contact a motor vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Accidents involving school buses aren’t quite the same as standard car accidents. When a person is involved in a car accident with another regular car, in most cases, you’re only dealing with the other driver and/or their insurance company. But liability for school bus accidents can get much more complicated depending on the exact circumstances of the accident. For example, a driver might be legally liable if they were negligent, but since bus drivers are employed by a school district, the district might be fully or partially liable. If an accident was caused by poor maintenance or a defective product, liability could fall on the school district or the manufacturer of the product.
Another way school bus accidents can be more complicated than standard car accidents is because of the fact they can involve school districts. Since public schools are considered government entities, they are protected by a concept known as “sovereign immunity,” which protects them from lawsuits unless the case falls under certain circumstances, negligence generally being one of them. If you are able to file a lawsuit against a school district, there are strict procedures that need to be followed. Contacting an attorney will help make sure your case is handled correctly.