Knowing what happens if a school bus crashes is important, especially if you or your child suffered an injury. There are several different parties who could be liable for your losses. School bus drivers, the employer of the bus driver, or a manufacturer of a defective part could be liable for any losses suffered as a result of the school bus accident.
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Medical Attention After a School Bus Accident
School bus crashes are rare, and 25 million children ride on school buses each day. However, if you or your child suffered injuries in a school bus crash, the first immediate step is to seek medical attention. The police will arrive at the scene of the accident, likely with an ambulance. Allow a medical professional to assess your injuries or your child’s injuries, and then take them to a hospital if necessary. Follow up as necessary with your doctor, and make sure to keep detailed notes and keep all bills regarding any medical visits, diagnostic tests, or other medical procedures you have related to you or your child’s injuries.
Determining Liability in a School Bus Wreck
After you receive medical attention, a determination of liability happens if a school bus crashes as there are several parties that can be responsible for any losses suffered.
Bus Driver Negligence
In many cases, the bus driver was probably negligent and, therefore, would be responsible for any losses suffered due to the school bus accident. If this is the case, there is a chance you may be able to sue the bus driver and file a claim with his or her insurance. However, it will be largely dependent on the facts and circumstances regarding the accident.
In most cases, the specific school district will own and operate all of the school buses for their district. Even if the driver was negligent, as an employee of the school district, the school district would, in most cases, be held responsible. However, school districts are government entities, and, therefore, the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity protects and insulates them from any civil litigation under most circumstances. However, that immunity is often waived with respect to school bus accidents. The process to file a claim against a government entity, such as a school district, can be a legally complex and challenging endeavor.
If another driver was negligent and caused the accident involving the school bus, it will be a much easier legal process to attempt to receive compensation for your losses. If another driver is responsible for the accident, you would need to file a claim with their insurance company and build a strong personal injury case.
If investigators determine that a defective part or component of the school bus was the cause of the accident, then the manufacturer of that part or component will likely be liable for all the victim’s losses. Your claim will fall under product liability law, which involves significantly different legal issues and can be legally complex to develop. Often, expert witnesses are needed to determine that a specific part or component was defective, and that defect actually caused the accident.
Contact an Accident Attorney Today
Most people will never be involved in an accident with a school bus. However, if you, or your child, was involved in an accident involving a school bus, determining liability is a complex legal process. Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1-800-747-3733 to help you determine your next steps, and help you determine which parties are responsible for your losses.