School Bus Accidents in California
School Bus Accidents: Who Can Be Found Liable?
According to 2019 data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), school bus accidents have resulted in 109 deaths in the United States. Between 2010 to 2019, nearly 69 percent of those who were killed in a school bus accident were occupants of vehicles other than the school bus. The remaining others were pedestrians (17 percent), school bus passengers (6 percent), school bus drivers (5 percent), and bicyclists (3 percent).
For injuries, the most common victims were occupants of other vehicles (53 percent), school bus passengers (34 percent), and school bus drivers (8 percent). Injuries from a school bus accident can vary depending on the impact the person sustained with objects nearby, such as a window or seat. The most common types of injuries that have been reported in a bus accident are head injuries, brain injuries, neck injuries, fractured bones, and spinal cord injuries.
Victims of a bus accident may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party at-fault for damages. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our expert bus accident attorneys are readily available to offer legal assistance. We will assess your case to determine what necessary courses of action to take in order to get you the compensation you deserve.
Who Can Be Found Liable in a Bus Accident?
More than one party can be found at-fault for a bus accident. This includes the following:
- Bus driver. A bus driver is required to keep passengers safe the moment they step foot onto the vehicle. Unfortunately, there have been cases reported where a bus driver was committing negligent acts that resulted in an accident, such as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on the road. Bus drivers have also been exhausted or fatigued while behind the wheel. Lack of rest could affect the bus driver’s driving skills.
Lastly, a bus driver must be aware of the maximum passenger limit on the bus.
Exceeding the passenger limit will make it difficult for them to safely operate the vehicle.
- Other drivers. Many drivers can become impatient when driving behind a slow-moving vehicle. This is primarily why drivers tend to speed by a school bus to avoid driving at a slow pace. However, this is considered as a reckless action that could contribute to an accident, especially if the driver did not properly check their surroundings prior to cutting the bus driver off. Furthermore, a driver is expected to keep a 10 feet distance from the bus. By not creating a large gap between the bus, the driver will not be given enough time to react to what the bus is doing.
- Bus owner. They are in charge of making sure that the bus goes through inspection and maintenance before being used. By not properly taking care of the bus, the owner will create a dangerous environment for the bus driver and passengers on board.
- Bus manufacturer. They are expected to create good quality buses. Defective or faulty buses will increase the likelihood of an accident from happening.
Preventing School Bus Accidents
To prevent a school bus accident, both the driver and students must cooperate with one another.
- Driver. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), it is required for the driver to make sure that they are operating the bus safely. A bus driver is required to have knowledge and experience on how to operate a bus. They must also acquire a Class B CDL before they are qualified to offer their services to others.
- Students. Students should follow these tips in order to keep themselves safe from harm.
- Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before entering.
- Wait for the bus in a safe area that is away from traffic.
- Hold on to the handrail when entering the bus.
- Stay seated until the bus arrives at the final destination.
- Avoid placing personal belongings in the walkthrough area.
- Avoid creating distractions that will make the bus driver not pay attention to the road.
- Walk nearly 10 feet away from the bus and proceed to cross the street.
- Do not cross the street from behind the bus.
Victim of a School Bus Injury
If your child was involved in a school bus accident, it is recommended for you to follow these tips to ensure you acquire justice and fair compensation for your losses.
- Gather evidence of the incident. This includes taking pictures of your child’s injuries and obtaining the bus driver’s contact and insurance information.
- If there are any witnesses around, it is highly urged to ask for their consent to obtain their contact information. Witness testimonies can help support your claims against the party at-fault.
- The child should be seen by a medical professional regardless of how minor, moderate, or severe their injuries are. The doctor will have the office visit saved on file, which can be used as a piece of evidence for your case.
- Contact an experienced bus accident attorney. An attorney can help you strengthen your claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and acquire the maximum compensation you deserve for your losses.
If you or a loved one were a victim of a bus accident, our expert team of bus accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for damages you have suffered. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
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