No parent wants to receive the news that their child has been injured in a school bus accident. Unfortunately, however, these accidents are not that uncommon. And even though school buses are large vehicles, a crash could result in significant injuries to a child. Parents allow their children to ride the school bus with the understanding that both the school system and the bus driver have taken steps to keep the child safe. When this doesn’t happen, and a child is injured as a result, the parents have the right to take legal action. Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. is ready to stand up for you and your family.
These are the steps you should take if your child has been in a school bus accident:
Step 1: Seek immediate medical attention for your child
Nothing matters more than the health and well-being of your child. Even if emergency services have already been called to the scene of the bus accident, which is likely, make sure your child gets the medical attention he or she needs. Any delays in getting treatment could be detrimental to your child’s recovery. It will also make it more difficult to demand compensation from the liable party.
Make sure you also follow the doctor’s recommended treatments after discharge from the hospital or medical clinic. And take your child to see any follow-up appointments. In other words, follow your child’s doctor’s instructions at all times.
Step 2: Start gathering evidence
To the extent possible, and as long as it does interfere with any official investigations, you need to begin gathering your own evidence about what happened. This is important for at least two reasons:
- You may gather evidence that is overlooked by investigators
- You need to understand how and why the accident happened
On this second point, it should be stressed that the child’s family (through legal counsel) will have the burden of proof when it comes to seeking compensation. Therefore, the family will need to lay out exactly how the wreck happened and who is responsible. All of the following parties, and others, may be liable for school bus accidents:
- The public school district (or private school)
- The bus driver
- The bus owner
- The company that manufactured the bus or any parts that were defective
- Mechanics and repair shops
- Any governmental entities responsible for roadway construction or maintenance
- Any other motorists who may have caused the accident
Evidence that you might gather could include photos and videos of the accident scene and witness statements,
Step 3: Talk to your child about the accident
Don’t discount any information that your own child, no matter the age, may be able to provide about the accident. Although child witness testimony can be challenging to present in a courtroom, you should absolutely find out how the wreck happened by talking to him or her. When your child is able to, ask what occurred. You may learn from your child about the cause of the crash, which could include:
- Driver negligence
- The involvement of another vehicle
- Poor weather or traffic conditions
- Children fighting on the bus
- Problems with the bus itself
- Dangerous conditions inside the bus, like slippery floors or steps
Remember, since it will be your and your attorney’s job to establish liability, gathering all the facts you can now will make the legal process go more smoothly.
The Final Step: Talk to An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Lastly, you need to retain knowledgeable legal counsel that is ready to serve you and your child. Seeking monetary compensation after a school bus is no simple matter. Quick action is best to make sure that medical bills and other expenses are paid by the liable party. Give Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. a call today to learn more.