You may trust the school bus as a dependable means of travel for your child – millions of families do. But when a school bus accident occurs, who is responsible? Whether you or your child were injured in a slip and fall, or you or your child suffered injuries as a result of a collision, school bus claims processes are notoriously difficult to maneuver.
The statute of limitations on school bus claims are very short due to government regulations. It is imperative that you contact an accident attorney as soon as possible to determine if you may meet the deadline to file a claim.
If you or your child have been injured by a school bus, you will need an attorney to guide you through the complexities of filing school bus related claims – contact the attorneys at Oshman & Mirisola. With decades of combined legal experience, we can offer the assistance you need to move on with your life. Call us today at (800) 400-8182 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Steps Taken To Prevent School Bus Accidents
New York is one of only six states to offer some form of a seat belt law in regards to school busses. But is the law actually enforced? As it turns out, it’s not.
While seatbelt devices are available in New York school buses, there’s NO rule that the device is required to be worn.
According to the National Safety Council’s President and CEO Deborah Hersman, on the subject of equipping all school busses with seat belts, and implementing a law to wear them, “ . . . anything that we can do to make [the busses] safer is really our responsibility.”
Following a recent school bus accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in which at least five children were killed, it’s believed that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may make changes to the established law, as “the addition of three-point seat belts could make school busses even safer, reducing the average number of lives lost annually in school bus crashes.”
Statistics on School Bus Accidents
School bus fatalities are one of the most devastating outcomes of all vehicle crashes. Sadly, statistics take from a 2004-2013 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study discovered other alarming facts regarding school bus accidents, such as:
- Among the 106 occupants killed in school transportation vehicles, 45 were drivers, and 61 were passengers.
- There were 1,344 people of all ages killed in school-transportation-related crashes, which averages to 134 fatalities per year.
- More than two-thirds (67%) of the school-age pedestrians fatally injured in crashes were struck by school buses or vehicles functioning as school buses.
- There were 42 (36%) school-age pedestrians killed in school-transportation-related crashes who were 8 to 13 years old.
- More school-age pedestrians were killed from 7 to 8 a.m. and from 3 to 4 p.m. than any other hours of the day.
Common injuries sustained from school bus accidents
- Head injury
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injury
- Cuts and Laceration
The truth about school bus transportation is that when crashes occur, they have a capacity to be devastating. In October 2016, between 40 and 60 students were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, following a double school bus crash on Rockland County Highway. Fortunately, no fatalities were reported in this accident, but this incident highlights the fact that minor accidents endanger many lives. It is unknown whether seatbelts were used by any of the student passengers.
Important Steps After a School Bus Accident
Just like with any type of automobile crash, there are certain procedures to follow after a school bus accident takes place, including:
- Make sure your child receives medical attention.
- Document all injuries obtained during crash, no matter how small.
- Keep all records, including all paperwork from responding officers, paramedics, hospitals and doctors.
- Gather as much information as possible, such as phone numbers and addresses from all involved parties (i.e. victims, other drivers and witnesses).
- Contact an experienced school bus attorney to assist you with the legal process that may follow.
The severity of the wreck will determine how you act. Remember, your safety is the most important factor.
Common School Bus Accident Causes
If you or your child was involved in a school bus accident and plan on filing a claim, it is important to procure evidence on how the injuries were caused.
Injuries may result from a school bus accident for reasons not listed in this article, but common school bus accident causes may include any of the following:
- Lack or Improper Bus Driver Training
- Overloading the School Bus
- Poor Maintenance of the School Bus
- Road Conditions
- Weather Conditions
- Driver’s Disposition (Tired, Distracted)
While some of the examples on this list cannot be avoid (i.e. road and weather conditions), the majority of them are controllable, and therefore, can be prevented.
Determining Responsibility in a School Bus Accident
Deciding who is at fault for a school bus accident isn’t “cut and dry.” For starters, it may seem that whomever is behind the wheel of the vehicle is responsible, and claims typically begin against the school bus insurance policy. The complexity of the claim may be driven by how the accident occurred and who owns and is associated with the insurance policy. Entities who may be involved in holding responsibilities for the injuries may include:
- School bus driver
- Bus operator (corporation)
- School or the organization responsible for transportation (public or private)
- School district
- Another driver
Insurance companies who specialize in bus transportation may offer a lowball settlements. It is important to seek professional case evaluation to ensure that you and your family get the maximum settlement you deserve.
Preventing School Bus Accidents
Preventing an accident is as important as knowing what to do after an accident.
And while it’s true that school bus drivers must do their part to avoid accidents, a passenger’s responsibility is equally significant for preventing school bus accidents. Parents of children should ensure that children are doing their part, too. Kids need to be conscious of how they enter, exit and behave on the bus.
Tips To Preventing School Bus Accidents and Injuries
- Enter and exit the bus in an orderly manner.
- Do not enter the bus unless it is at a full and complete stop.
- Wait for the bus in a safe location away from traffic.
- Always use the handrail when entering the bus.
- Stay seated throughout the duration of the trip.
- Keep all objects (and body parts) inside the bus at all times.
- Keep aisle free and clear throughout the ride.
- Do not distract the bus driver.
- All passengers should walk at least 10 feet from the front of the bus before crossing the street.
- The driver should give a signal before anyone crosses the street.
- Do not cross from behind the bus.
Speak to an Experienced Accident Attorney
Has your child recently been involved in a school bus accident? If so, then contact the attorneys at Oshman & Mirisola today by calling (800) 400-8182.
We have the knowledge and skills to assess your case, and determine whether or not you’re entitled to compensation. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation. From phone calls to paper work, we will handle all aspect of the legal process, giving you and your family the opportunity to recover. Moving forward, we guarantee a smooth, convenient procedure. Let us help you.