February 18, 2018

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The Complexities of Bus Accident Lawsuits

Bus Accident

Early on Halloween morning, a bus carrying nearly 40 children collided with a truck, causing several students and the bus driver to be injured and taken to the local hospital. Other children were treated at the site of the crash. According to reports, a pickup truck rammed into the bus, which was on its way to Byron Nelson High School. This type of accident is relatively uncommon when compared to the hundreds of thousands of vehicular accidents that occur on a yearly basis. Out of nearly 340,000 fatal collisions that occurred between 2004 and 2013, only .4 percent (1,214) were related to school transportation. However, when looking solely at deadly bus collisions, school transport vehicles make up 41 percent of “buses involved in fatal crashes.” Yearly, there are less than 300 fatal bus accidents. Non-fatal crashes are more common: in 2010, nearly 54,000 buses ended up in collisions and 12,000 caused injuries.

Injuries

All of this is to say: bus accidents are not extraordinarily common, but they do happen. And when they occur, they can be deadly or cause severe injuries. According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, bus collisions often result in roll overs, meaning the vehicle literally rolls like a barrel. This type of crash “mechanism” can in turn cause severe injuries. The study found that the most common types of injury are related to the spine, head and neck.

The report highlighted four of the twelve children involved. One child suffered a fatal head injury after hitting her cranium against the metal lining of the window.  Another child sustained major spinal injuries, requiring intense surgery. That same child’s hands were lacerated, as he attempted to break his fall during the crash.

Pursuing Compensation

It can be very complex to pursue compensation in the wake of a bus accident. There are a number of reasons for this. For one, if the bus was owned by the public school system, you would likely have to sue the government, which implies a particular set of rules. Specifically, you would have a much shorter window for filing claims.

But the public-school system is not the only potential defendant. You may also want to file claims against: the driver, the manufacturer (of the bus or a defective part on the bus), a private company contracted by the school, or any number of other related parties. The key is to seek compensation from the entity directly responsible for the injury. For instance, if the driver was intoxicated or drowsy at the time of the accident – and you can prove this – you might want to list this person as a defendant.

Regulations and Damages

Buses are different than your average passenger vehicle. The car you use to drive to work has seat belts. It’s the law. Most vehicles require restraints of some kind. School buses, however, do not require seat belts. Broadly speaking, buses are regulated differently than other vehicles. For this reason, seeking compensation after a bus-related collision can be extremely complex. That’s why it’s a good idea to retain a lawyer with experience in bus accidents. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the labyrinth of bus-specific laws and regulations.

And once you have an attorney, you can discuss the amount and types of compensation you are seeking. As described above, the injuries that result from bus crashes can be extremely severe. Your compensation should reflect the exorbitant medical costs associated with those injuries. You might also deserve remuneration for lost income (present and future), disability, future medical expenses, diminished earning capacity and any noneconomic damages, such as extreme emotional turmoil and ruined relationships.

Once again, it’s advisable to retain a skilled attorney who can help maximize your compensation. This person can also reduce your stress level, so you can focus on what’s important: getting better, or helping your loved one convalesce.

About Sean Lally

Sean Lally holds a BA in Philosophy from Temple University where he also studied theatre for several years. Between 2007 and 2017, he worked as a professional actor for several regional theater companies in Philadelphia, including the Arden Theatre Co., EgoPo Productions, Lantern Theater and the Bearded Ladies. In 2010, Sean co-founded Found Theater Company, an avant-garde artist collective with whom he first started to cultivate an identity as a writer.

Over the past few years, Sean has been working as a content writer, focusing primarily on the ways in which unequal power distribution can negatively affect consumers, workers and “everyday people,” more broadly. He writes for a number of websites including AccidentAttorneys.org, PersonalInjury.com, AmericanLegalNews.com and others.