While relatively uncommon, school bus wrecks do happen. If you have a child who goes to school by bus, it can be helpful to know the basic facts about school bus accidents, who is liable, and what to do in the event of one. This can help put your mind at ease if your child is involved in a school bus crash.
If your child is injured in a bus crash in Upstate New York, Central New York, or the Southern Tier, contact the Syracuse child injury lawyers at Catalano Law immediately. Our attorneys can help determine what legal steps you can take to obtain compensation for your child’s injuries during this difficult time.
Leading Causes of School Bus Wrecks
According to the National Safety Council, 109 people were killed across the United States in school bus-related crashes in 2019. From 2010 to 2019, 6% of school bus-related deaths were school bus passengers, while 69% of deaths were occupants of other vehicles. However, of those injured in school bus crashes in the same period, 34% were passengers. The following are some of the common causes of school bus wrecks:
- Driver Error: Driver error is the most common cause of a school bus wreck. School bus drivers who fail to take necessary safety precautions and drivers who have not acquired all the skills to drive large buses are typically at fault. Other drivers navigating around a big bus may fail to speed down, leading to a collision.
- Blind Spots: Blind spots on buses are larger than on cars. Other drivers may be unaware of the blind spots on a bus, leading to an accident.
- Left Turns: A large school bus making a left turn may cross into a lane with oncoming traffic, leading to a head-on collision.
- Weather Conditions: Turns and quick stops can be hard for a big bus on wet or icy roads or windy conditions.
- Bus Company Negligence: Inexperienced drivers who have not acquired the driving skills or qualifications to operate large buses and inadequate bus maintenance are factors that can make the bus company liable for an accident.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a School Bus Wreck?
- The Bus Driver: With responsibility for everyone on board, a bus driver is held to a higher standard than the driver of an average vehicle. If the bus driver is found to be negligent in any aspect of a bus crash that led to an injury, they can be held liable.
- Another Driver: Another driver may have acted negligently, such as speeding, texting while driving, or failing to signal a turn or merge, resulting in the bus crash. This driver can be held liable if negligence is determined.
- The School Board: In New York, the school board or district is responsible for hiring experienced drivers with good records and removing drivers who exhibit potentially negligent behavior. Failure to do so can result in the school board or district being held liable for negligence.
- The Bus Manufacturer: If the bus or its parts are found to be defective, and this was the reason for a crash resulting in injuries, the bus or bus part manufacturer can be held liable.
- The Bus Maintenance Company: A company hired to maintain buses for a school district is also responsible for ensuring all bus parts are in good working order. If the company fails to do its job and it results in an accident, the bus maintenance company can be held liable.
Talking With Your Children
Talking calmly with your child beforehand about what to do if they are ever involved in a bus crash can go a long way to alleviate any fears and keep them calm in the event of a collision.
The first thing they should do is remain calm until they can be helped out of the bus by first responders. Then, make sure they know how to contact you at home or work any time through an emergency number where you’re always available. Tell them to call you immediately after a crash, so they know you’re on your way.
No Payments Unless We Win
Catalano Law has assisted victims of motor vehicle accidents for many years, and we know just how taxing the after-effects of such accidents can be, especially an accident involving your child. In a school bus wreck involving your child, the personal emotional toll is indescribable. Nobody should be made to cope with this while handling a legal case.
This is the reason we only work on a contingency fee. You should not face even more burdens during such a time of suffering and ensuring medical care for your child. We try to ease your circumstances by demanding no fee or requiring any expenses on your behalf unless we obtain the settlement you deserve. In other words, we only charge if we win a full financial recovery for you.
Contact Us Today for a Free Case Evaluation
The experienced motor vehicle accident attorneys at Catalano Law can evaluate the circumstances of the accident and build the best case for you to make a claim commensurate with you and your child’s suffering.
Get in touch with Catalano Law to evaluate your legal options. The no-obligation consultation comes at no cost, and it can help put your mind more at ease during a difficult time.