School buses are certainly the safest way to get children back and forth to school, day in and day out. Even so, each year in the United States, more than 17,000 children end up in emergency rooms due to school bus-related injuries. Nearly a quarter of these injuries occur as the child is getting on or off the bus. On average, six school-age children die annually in a school bus crash, while another seventeen die in a pedestrian accident—either from being hit by the school bus itself, or from a motorist illegally passing a stopped school bus.
Typical Factors Involved in School Bus Accidents
School bus accidents can be the result of inclement weather, disrepair to the bus, defective roadways, driver negligence, driver distraction, or driver error. Like any driver on the road, a school bus driver can become distracted. There may be an even greater likelihood of distraction for school bus drivers since they are carrying a busload of sometimes noisy or unruly passengers. Even when the children on the bus are behaving, the bus driver may be texting, talking on a cell phone, eating or drinking, talking to passengers, or may simply not have their full attention where it should be—on the road.
Poor Maintenance or Lack of Training
Some school bus drivers may also drive their route while overly tired, or may not have received adequate training prior to getting behind the wheel of the school bus. While bus maintenance is not generally an issue, if maintenance has grown lax, a tire could blow or improperly maintained brakes could malfunction. If the cause of the bus crash is related to maintenance, then the school may be having funding issues. Maintenance and upgrades may simply be deemed too expensive, leaving your most precious cargo at risk. In most instances, school bus crashes are due to a combination of driver error/negligence/distraction, inclement weather, and a poorly maintained bus.
Holding Schools Responsible
If a negligent school district or school bus driver is held responsible for a bus accident, then the way the schools calculate their financial risks can change dramatically. When a school is forced to pay for such negligence, they are “encouraged” to engage in safer practices as well as to ensure the buses undergo regular maintenance. Victims of school bus accidents are encouraged to choose highly experienced legal representation. This means that you should choose a personal injury attorney with a solid background in school bus accidents. As your legal advocate, your attorney will always put your child’s rights and future first, and will advocate for the injuries sustained by your child.
Litigating School Bus Accidents Requires Experienced Legal Assistance
Litigating a school bus accident can be complex as there can be multiple parties responsible for your child’s injuries. Some of these entities are most likely governmental, which brings an entirely different set of rules as far as filing a lawsuit. The school district, the school bus driver, the governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadways, or a private driver may be responsible for the accident. In some cases, more than one person or entity may be deemed negligent. When a school bus case is filed against a school board or other governmental entity, claimants must carefully adhere to statutory notice requirements and notice deadlines.
A highly knowledgeable school bus accident attorney will prepare your case thoroughly, as though it will absolutely go to trial. At the same time, your Washington DC child injury attorney will skillfully negotiate an equitable settlement which will fully cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and punitive damages when applicable. You trust your child’s school and bus driver to keep the safety of your child at the forefront at all times. When this duty is breached, it may be time to speak to a Washington DC child injury attorney who can ensure you receive the answers you deserve, as well as a fair and equitable compensation.
Contact Our Washington DC Child Injury Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our child injury lawyers have extensive experience representing injured children and families in Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and throughout the State of Maryland. If your child has been injured in a school bus accident, we can help. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The child injury attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Maryland, and throughout Virginia.