When young children are riding a schoolbus, their parents tend to place full trust in the hands of their child’s bus driver. The bus driver takes them to and from school, on different field trips, to athletic games or even on sightseeing tours. Many parents may have perfectly reasonable fears about their child’s safety. In just a matter of seconds, an accident can occur and can impact the rest of a child’s life. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (also known as NHTSA) reported that every year, about 450,000 school buses transported over 23.5 million students. They also reported that six elementary aged students were killed and 23 hospitalized as a result of a school bus crash in Chattanooga in 2016. The driver was believed to have been traveling 50 mph in an area that had a 30 mph speed limit. It was later discovered that the bus driver was taking back roads and not the designated bus route, and the bus company was sued because they had hired an unsafe driver.
Who is Held Liable?
A number of people can be held liable for injuries or even deaths sustained from a school bus accident. The school bus company who hired the driver is usually held liable. If this is not the case, the school district could district will be put under fire. If the bus driver was not at fault, the motorist who caused or contributed to the crash will be contacted. Whoever was at fault for the accident is then held responsible for compensating the victims of the crash.
Common School Bus Accident Injuries
Most school buses do not have seatbelts and this makes children far more vulnerable to severe injuries in a car crash. Brain and head injuries, broken nose and facial fractures, severe dental injuries, permanent disfigurement and neck and spinal injuries are common among school bus accidents. As horrifying as this is, many accidents have occurred because bus drivers were not being diligent or professional.
Notice of Intent
In many school bus accident cases, a percentage of liability might be attributable to a school district or other governmental entity. In these cases, a notice of intent to sue or a claim must be filed within a short time after the accident. Failure to file them in a timely manner can be cause for dismissal of a lawsuit, it is advised that a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer trusts, is contacted shortly after the crash.