You will agree that the worst thing about school bus accidents is that little children are often involved. And these children can suffer severe injuries. Indeed, no one would send their kids into accident situations, knowing the degrees of injury they can sustain from it. But then, the truth is that we often can not control our chances of getting into such situations. Who is liable in a school bus accident?
However, one good news is that you can file a damages claim after a school bus accident. This claim will help you get an adequate settlement for your losses, damages, or children’s injuries. But then, you need to know enough information about school bus accidents and what to do after it. One essential piece of information you should know includes who is liable for school bus accidents.
Expert organizations, like the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, also advise that having a school bus accident lawyer’s contact on your speed dial would be a good idea. This is so that they can guide you on the correct things to do after a school bus accident.
Luckily, this article will discuss some things you should know about school bus accident liabilities. We will also suggest an experienced law group that can help handle your accident claims for better success. So, read until the end if you want to learn all these things.
What are the Top Causes of School Bus Accidents?
Several factors can lead to school bus accidents, and it would help if you knew about some of them. They are listed below:
- Driver negligence. One of the leading causes of school bus accidents on our roads today includes negligence on the driver’s part. The bus driver is supposed to be primarily responsible for the safety of your children once they get on board. But then, some of these drivers can be careless and engage in unsafe traffic practices like over-speeding, sudden and unsafe lane changes, checking out something on their phone, or getting distracted by other people while on the road.
When this is the case, their vehicle control gets limited, increasing their chances of getting into an accident. This is why professionals often warn that school bus drivers should always maintain complete focus and obey all traffic laws while on the road.
- Blind spots. This entails the sides of the vehicle that a driver can not view clearly from his side mirrors. School bus drivers are supposed to view the actions of the vehicles around them from their side mirrors. But when a vehicle is driving in the bus’s blind spot, it becomes difficult for the driver to monitor them.
Unfortunately, this could lead to accidents when the bus driver changes lanes, brakes, or backs up without knowing there is a car following closely behind or beside it. Even sadder is that it is considered one of the leading causes of school bus accidents today.
Bus drivers are often advised to adjust their side mirrors constantly to get better views of their blind spots. This way, they can effectively monitor the activities of vehicles around them.
- Drowsy driving. This is another common cause of bus accidents on our roads today. School bus drivers are often on the road for long hours, and many have other jobs to make ends meet. When this is the case, they are bound to get exhausted and tired, even during their shift.
You should know that drowsy driving can lead to an inability to concentrate on the road completely. It can also cause impaired judgment and an inability to respond quickly enough by braking or swerving in emergencies. Ultimately, all these things can lead to accidents. So, experts often advise that school bus drivers should take enough rest before their shift to avoid such occurrences.
- School district negligence. This factor is often from the part of the school district. Plus, it is another dangerous thing that can lead to school bus accidents. You should know that school districts are supposed to run routine inspections on school buses in their region. This is so they can easily detect and stop faulty or poorly maintained buses from working in their district.
Unfortunately, some districts should take this inspection more seriously. When this is the case, drivers can put poorly maintained buses on the road, which, in turn, can result in tire failure, brake failure, or other defective parts, all likely to lead to nasty accidents.
- Bad weather. Bad weather is another leading factor that causes school bus accidents today. This is because the weather can affect a driver’s efficiency on the road, either improving it or decreasing it. For instance, bus drivers might find it more difficult to maneuver their vehicles in heavy rainy conditions.
Other weather conditions affecting a driver’s vehicle control include snow, fog, or sleet. And if the driver keeps up and adjusts their driving to suit the condition, they might be heading into a school bus accident.
- Other drivers and road users. Other vehicle drivers and road users can also contribute to causing school bus accidents, which have recently caused quite a few. When the other road user or driver does not regard and respect traffic laws or the bus driver’s right of way, they can take rash actions that might lead to accidents.
For instance, if the driver in a bus’s front brakes suddenly without indicating their break lights, it will most likely cause the bus to run into it from the rear end.
Who is Liable in a School Bus Accident
One unique thing about school bus accidents is that determining liability in such cases is often trickier than what is obtainable in other accident types. However, authorities often investigate such accidents to find out who is liable.
These people often vary between the school district, the bus driver, manufacturers, and other road users depending on the nature of the accident. Here is some more information about the people that can be liable in a school bus accident.
The School District
As mentioned earlier, the school district is supposed to ensure that all the buses in their district are serviced and maintained regularly and that they are in good condition before allowing them on the road.
They are also supposed to help ensure their student’s safety by adhering to all safety guidelines and providing adequate training for the drivers who will be in charge of the bus. Plus, they should always ensure to hire only qualified and experienced drivers for their buses.
If a school bus accident occurs because the school district did not handle this responsibility appropriately, then they can be held liable for the accident. However, suing a school district can be tricky because they enjoy some levels of immunity. Therefore, you should contact your school bus accident lawyer to help you decide the best approach to the case.
The School Bus Driver
The bus driver can also be held liable for a school bus accident. However, this is only sometimes the case because the school district is liable for most of the driver’s actions. But then, the authorities can conduct some investigations and decide that the driver is fully liable for the accident.
In such cases, filing a lawsuit against the driver is much easier, especially if you have sufficient evidence to back your claim.
The Bus manufacturer
The manufacturer can also be held liable in a school bus accident if you can prove negligence on their part. Of course, these manufacturers are supposed to play their part in ensuring that all the vehicle parts are built to be solid and durable. If they fail in this responsibility, there are bound to be equipment failures that can lead to accidents.
You can file a case against the manufacturers in such situations.
Other people, such as transport companies, vehicle repair and maintenance companies, and other road users, can also be liable for an accident.
Getting in touch with a personal injury lawyer to help you assess the situation and decide your next best line of action would be best.
You may be considering the right school bus accident lawyers to help win your claim. In that case, you should contact us at Coleman Law Group now. Rest assured that our team of attorneys is highly knowledgeable and experienced in your situation.