As a parent, you trust the school bus driver to safely transport your child to and from school. But negligent actions by the bus driver and other parties can result in serious injury. If your child was hurt in a school bus accident, winning compensation will require proving that the at-fault party or parties were legally liable. That means knowing some of the most common causes of school bus accidents. The attorneys of Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. examine a few of them here.
Who may be held liable for a school bus accident?
Part of a lawyer’s job is to determine who can be held accountable for causing an accident. In some cases, only one party is responsible for the wreck. In others, multiple parties can be named as defendants in a civil lawsuit. Some examples of potentially liable parties in school bus accidents include:
- The school bus driver
- The school district
- The manufacturer of the school bus or its parts and components
- Other drivers
- Third parties, such as construction contractors, who create dangerous road conditions
The exact nature of your child’s accident will determine who is responsible. Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate the wreck to make sure all potential defendants are identified.
Why do school bus accidents happen?
Filing a negligence lawsuit will be necessary to win the maximum damages available to cover your child’s medical bills and other losses. However, your lawyer will need to explain, and prove, not only who was responsible for the accident but how it happened. These are some possible reasons the wreck took place:
Violating traffic laws. A bus driver or the driver of another vehicle (or possibly both) may have triggered the accident by speeding or violating other traffic rules. For instance, drivers who fail to stop while children are getting on or off the bus could seriously injure one.
Distracted driving. A specific traffic law violation that has continued to worsen in recent years is distracted driving. Cell phone use, for example, is a major contributor to school bus accidents. All motorists are required by law to keep their focus on the road.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Any form of intoxicated driving is illegal and dangerous. Even if the intoxication was caused by prescription medication, it is the driver’s duty to not operate the school bus or other vehicle unless he or she can safely drive.
Failure to minimize distractions. The bus driver should make sure that any unruly children on the bus are brought under control. Allowing children to serve as distractions to the driver can cause a fatal accident.
Failure to adjust driving to adverse conditions. Bad weather, heavy traffic, and other dangerous conditions should cause all drivers to slow down and act with abundant caution. Failure to do so could trigger a major crash.
Hazardous road conditions. These could be the result of negligent third parties such as construction companies and governmental entities. Note that there are different rules for holding a governmental unit liable versus a private party.
Poor training. The school district that hired the bus driver may be responsible if the driver was poorly trained. The district can be held liable if it failed to check the driver’s background or experience to ensure that person is qualified to drive the school bus.
Defective parts and poor maintenance. If a defect with the school bus caused the accident, several parties may be liable. These include the bus manufacturer, the company that made the part or component on the bus that failed, or a repair shop or mechanic.
Demanding Justice for Injured School Children
A school bus accident can leave a child with significant medical bills and other damages. No matter who was responsible for causing injury to your child, our attorneys are ready to fight for them and for you. Call Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. today to get started.