Statistically, school buses are the safest way for children to travel to and from school, but about 12,000 children are injured and 26 still die each year in school bus accidents. That is too many. Most children injured and killed in school bus accidents are harmed while getting on and off of the bus, not while riding. Bus design has remained the same since 1977, and while it is mandatory to wear seatbelts in cars and trucks, most school buses do not even have seatbelts, much less require their use.
School bus passengers are not the only ones at risk. Roughly 70% of people killed in fatal school bus crashes are occupants of other vehicles. Factors contributing to school bus accidents include:
- Driver negligence
- Faulty vehicles
- Weather conditions
- Defective roadways
School bus accidents are rare, but can be devastating to families. When you entrust your child’s safety to the school district and their drivers, not only do you expect a certain level of care, the law requires it. School bus accident lawsuits involve government entities and can involve multiple responsible parties. Therefore, they are more complicated than regular auto accidents. Responsible parties can include:
- School districts
- School bus drivers
- City, county, and state agencies responsible for maintaining roads
- Other drivers
When a child is injured or killed, the last thing a family wants to think about is a lengthy court battle. However, time is of the essence after a school bus accident. Because you will probably be suing a government entity, you may have far less than the normal amount of time to pursue your case. It is important to take action in these cases, even though it is painful. If your child is injured, the compensation you receive will help you provide the care that he or she needs, and may pay for special equipment, therapy and special educational needs.
Even if you do not feel that you need compensation, those who caused the accident, especially if it was the school or the driver, must be held responsible in order to prevent harm to more children in the future. Only by pursuing these cases do we encourage improvements in school bus safety.
Many school districts choose not to upgrade their buses based on cost. They weigh the cost of the upgrade against the potential losses they will incur if there is an accident. When schools are forced to pay for the harm they cause, it does not take money away from improving safety. It actually encourages them to spend money on safety improvements in order to avoid future losses. It affects more than just the school district involved. It increases the potential losses that other schools use in their calculations, also. Injuries and death should not be allowed simply because they are viewed as being cheaper than safety.
If your child has been injured or killed in a school bus accident, waste no time. Contact an experienced school bus accident attorney today.