What Happens When Your Child Is Injured On The School Bus?

If you are like most parents, you go out of your way to ensure that you keep your child, or children safe. Unfortunately, their safety is often out of your control. Unless you homeschool, they spend more awake hours under the care and control of others then they do with you. Most of these hours are while they are at school. What happens if your child is injured while they are on their way to and from school? Who is liable for their injuries if they happen on the bus? This will often depend on where, and how the injuries occurred. A personal injury lawyer will be able to help you work out the issues of liability.

From The Bus Stop And Beyond

School buses are physically designed to get your children safely to and from school. This can be seen by the following:

  • The size, weight, and height of the bus is designed not only to make them easy to see, but to hold up better if they are involved in an accident.
  • Their bright colors, flashing lights, and other signage, is designed to ensure that drivers are aware of where the bus is, as well as when the bus is stopping to pick up, or discharge your children.
  • The extensive screening, and training of the bus drivers is designed to make sure that the safest people are behind the wheel. Drivers who possess commercial driver's licenses, or CDLs, are held to a much higher standard than other drivers, and run the risk of losing their CDLs for offenses that take place in their personal vehicles. 
  • Most states even have significant driving penalties in place for drivers who pass a stopped school bus.

Statistics show that even when your children are ready to drive themselves, your child is 50 times more likely to safely arrive at school when they are riding on the bus, than when they are behind the wheel. If you think this difference is due to their inexperience, you are only partially right. They are even 20 times safer riding the bus than they are if they ride with you. 

Even with all the safety precautions that have been taken accidents can still happen on the school bus. Common causes of these accidents include:

  • Driver distraction and errors
  • Accidents with other vehicles
  • Slip and falls that occur when your child in getting on or off the bus
  • Your child being struck by another vehicle when getting on or off the bus
  • Failure of the driver to properly supervise the students on the bus

If your child is injured in any of these ways, there may be multiple people who are liable for the accident. Depending on the type of accident, and injury, the driver, the school system, other drivers, as well as the manufacturer of the bus may all have a part in the liability of the accident.  It is very important that an investigation be conducted not only into the accident, but also into the injuries that resulted from the accident in order to figure out where to lay the blame.

The Importance Of Your Personal Injury Attorney

Unfortunately, most school systems are not going to be willing to readily assume responsibility, or liability. Although they carry insurance to cover any accidents that happen on their school buses, they know they are looking at an increase in their insurance premiums if their insurance company has to pay claims. This increase in premiums is often additional monies that their already strained budgets cannot stand. The school system may even offer to attempt to settle with you in lieu of filing with their insurance company. Do not accept this type of offer without consulting your attorney.

It is important that you retain a personal injury attorney as soon as the accident happens. Not only will they help you deal with the school system, insurance companies, and their attorneys. They will take the steps which will help to protect you against the statute of limitations that exists in the case of school bus accidents. In many states the limitation for any type of injury is two years

Your attorney will also be instrumental in ensuring that you have all the records that you need to prove your case. Not only will they be able to get the accident records from the professionals who have conducted the initial investigations, but will be able to launch an investigation of their own if they think that one is needed. This could make the difference in you winning, or losing any claim that you have.