School Bus Accident Attorneys
School Bus Crash Attorneys
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More than 23 million school-aged children ride to and from classes on school buses every day in America. Fortunately, school buses are among the safest methods of transportation for our youngsters. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that riding a school bus is 13 times safer than riding to school in a passenger car, and a whopping 10 times safer than walking. However, even though a child is more likely to be injured riding in a passenger vehicle versus a school bus, there are still incidences when school bus drivers or other motorists are negligent in their duty to provide safe transportation for their precious cargo. The result can be devastating: A school bus crash.
School bus drivers, bus manufacturers, and other motorists are responsible for ensuring the safety of school children when riding to and from school or other extracurricular activities. When any person, company, or agency fails to protect kids aboard a bus, that entity becomes responsible if a school bus accident happens.
Seeking assistance during the aftermath of a devastating bus accident can be extremely difficult, especially if you’re not sure of the steps you need to take. The relationship between passenger, bus driver, bus company, and other associated parties can make the resolution process incredibly messy and confusing. Consulting a school bus accident lawyer is heavily recommended if you do not know where to start.
Who is Responsible for a School Bus Accident?
After a school bus accident, an individual, company, or agency can be held liable for failure to fulfill a legal obligation to keep kids safe. Bus drivers must obey all rules of the road; other motorists must obey safety rules and stop for school buses, and bus companies must ensure they are carefully hiring and training the right workers. Bus manufacturers and maintenance companies also have a role to play in keeping kids safe.
A school bus accident lawyer can help you determine who failed to live up to their legal obligations if your children were hurt on a school bus. The school bus accident attorneys at The Carlson Law Firm can help you make a claim against:
- The driver
- The bus company
- The school district
- The bus manufacturer or the manufacturer of bus parts
- The bus mechanic
- Other motorists
Common Causes of School Bus Accidents
Just like any other type of wreck, a school bus accident is preventable. However, these crashes are still common and often occur due to the negligence of a third party, or even the bus driver. Causes include:
- Lack or improper training of drivers
- Poor maintenance
- Road conditions
- Weather conditions
- Driver’s disposition
Loading and Unloading
One of the biggest threats to children when riding the school bus isn’t the actual ride itself, but rather getting safely on and off the bus. According to data collected by NHTSA between 2000-2009, most children injured by a school bus were either on foot or a bicycle.
- 73% of children killed were struck by the school bus
- 34% of those fatally injured were hit by a bus going straight
- 22% were killed when the bus was leaving a parking space or in a lane of traffic
- 15% of children were killed when the bus made a turn
The Danger Zone
The risk of serious injury or death is particularly acute during the pickup and drop-off of children. There is a danger zone around the outside of every school bus where children are at the most risk of being hit, either by the bus itself or another vehicle. This danger zone extends as far as 30 feet from the front bumper, 10 feet from the left and right sides, and 10 feet behind the rear bumper.
Steps to Take After a School Bus Accident
After a school bus accident, you should consider the following steps to ensure the safety of your child and other parties involved:
- Seek medical attention: Seeking immediate medical attention is important, even if it seems that only minor injuries have been suffered. Serious injuries don’t always surface immediatly following a crash.
- Keep records: Keep and maintain all paperwork you receive from the hospital, doctors and police officers on scene. Take pictures of any injuries and damage to vehicles.
- Contact an experienced school bus crash lawyer: Contact an experienced school bus accident lawyer as soon as possible. In doing so, your only focus will be on healing or helping your child to heal.
A Need for Seat Belts On School Buses
Recently, a school bus crash in killed 1 bus driver and injured the 7 children on board. 5 were reported to have serious injuries and 1 was had to be airlifted to a trauma center. The bus drove off the road and ran head-on into a patch of trees. Had the children been wearing seat belts, it is very likely that their injuries would have been minor.
Seat belts are not required to be installed in school buses in the state of Texas. This is due to a lack of funding from the Texas Legislature. According to the Texas Education Agency, 122,212 students were injured in school bus accidents statewide in the past 5 years. Studies have proven time and time again that wearing a seat belt can significantly decrease your chances of sustaining a critical injury during a crash.
School Bus Crash Injury Risk Factors
Determining who is at fault for a school bus-related accident can be difficult. Accidents can be caused by driver errors, mechanical malfunction, improper bus stop design, dangerous roadways, or bad weather conditions.
School bus safety tips to review with your children:
- Have a safe place to wait for your bus, away from traffic and the street.
- Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver signals you to enter.
- When you exit the bus, walk at least ten steps away from the bus. This makes it a lot easier for the bus driver to see you.
- Use handrails to enter and exit the bus.
- Be aware of the traffic around you. Although drivers are required to obey traffic laws, they sometimes fail to do so. Protect yourself and be alert.
How A School Bus Accident Lawyer From The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
School bus accidents are devastating, often leaving victims scared, injured or even worse. Those who are unfamiliar with the legal process around bus-related accidents may be left feeling confused or overwhelmed. You need someone with experience on your side, a team who has the knowledge and skills to stand up and fight for you. A school bus accident lawyer can help.
If your child has been injured by a school bus, claims can often be complicated to prove and pursue. Contact The Carlson Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss your case. We will go over the circumstances of the accident and explain your legal options. We have a team of attorneys, legal assistants, nurses and private investigators who are ready to assist.