ClickCease School Bus Accident Procedures | How Schools Handle Bus Accidents

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California School Bus Accident Procedures

What School Bus Drivers Should Do in the Case of an Accident

If a school bus gets into an accident, there is a set of procedures that need to be followed. There is more than one individual involved in this process.
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Bus Driver

  • Must secure the bus and have warning signs displayed.
  • Check to see if any individuals involved suffered injuries from the accident.
  • Contact the central dispatch. You will need to inform them about:
    • The location of where the accident took place,
    • The school name that the students are attending,
    • Your bus and route number,
    • Injuries, and
    • Requesting an ambulance, if needed.
  • Have the students remain in the bus, unless it is an unsafe environment for them to stay in. If there happens to be a fire in or near the bus, it is best to move the students to a safer location. They should be taken to an area that is nearly 100 feet from the road.
  • Perform first aid on an injured student, if needed.
  • Do not operate the bus after an accident unless you are given the approval to do so.
  • Gather information on how many students were affected by the accident and sustained injuries because of it.
  • Give your information out to the drivers involved in the accident. Make sure to get important details about them, too. This includes their name, phone number, and insurance.
  • Obtain witness information. If there are any witnesses around, you should get their consent to acquire their contact information. Witness testimonies will back up your statements towards the party at-fault.
  • Do not make any comments or statements to the media.
  • Contact the bus depot.

Bus Depot

  • Document all of the information being provided by the bus driver regarding the accident.
  • Call 911.
  • Alert the central administrator about the incident.

Central Administrator

  • Contact the principal about the collision and give them updates on current or new information that is being released.
  • Get the names of the students involved in the bus accident by accessing the bus route files.
  • Have a list of students who suffered injuries from the accident.
  • Reach out to the insurance carrier to authorize treatment at a nearby hospital for the injured students.
  • If necessary, send out another bus and bus driver.


  • Get in touch with the superintendent. They will alert the administrators about the collision.
  • Gather the student’s health information from their enrollment cards.
  • Send a staff member over to where the accident took place. They will notify the paramedics about any special health accommodations that need to be administered to the students that need it.
  • If there are severe or fatal injuries, then you must go to the scene of the accident and the hospital.
  • Tell the staff members to contact the student’s parents about the incident. The staff will notify them about:
    • Their child being injured or uninjured and the level of pain they suffered.
    • The hospital where the children were transported to.
    • Contact information on the hospital the children are getting treated in.

Safety Investigator

  • Head over to the scene of the incident immediately.
  • Make sure to have forms ready at hand.
  • Get your camera or phone. You will be using these items to document evidence of the collision.
  • If the paramedics have not arrived yet, perform first aid on students that need it.
  • Write a list of the students that were involved in the accident. Additionally, you should include the students that have minor, moderate, or severe injuries. You must inform the central administration about any new updates regarding the situation.
  • Go to the hospital with the students that were transported there. Remain in the hospital until each of the students have been seen by a doctor.
  • Finish writing an accident report and send it over to the District Safety Department. Make a copy of the report and send that over to the Transportation Department.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Limitations for Damages in California 
For the most part, there is no real cap on compensatory damages following a personal injury claim. This means that courts are able to award any amount they feel is appropriate and reasonable.

However, the only exception is regarding medical malpractice cases. In these cases, the limit for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses is $250,000.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

If your child was involved in a bus accident due to the reckless behavior of a bus driver or from a negligent driver nearby, West Coast Trial Lawyers has bus accident attorneys that have extensive experience with handling personal injury cases. Our attorneys will help you recover financial and emotional damages. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, property damage, and pain and suffering.

There are no financial risks when you use our services. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation with the attorneys at our firm. No fees are charged until your case has been settled. Reach out to our friendly legal team 24/7 by calling (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected].


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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