Is the School District Liable for a Child’s School Bus Accident Injuries?
According to information provided by the National Safety Council, around 13,000 people are injured in school bus accidents each year, with more than a quarter of these injuries being incurred by school bus passengers. In some circumstances, the school district will be liable for the accident.
Some of these circumstances include:
- Injuries incurred by violent actions from another passenger. Your attorney would look to see what protocols the district has in place for bullying and fighting on the bus, and would want to know if the bus driver responded according to the district’s protocols. The investigation deepens for the consideration of whether the bus driver was adequately trained by the district in how to handle such situations. It will also be considered as to whether the driver had reason to know that one passenger posed a risk of injury for another, which would likely be discovered through witness testimony or previous complaints about the at-fault passenger.
- Injuries incurred due to an overloaded bus or cluttered aisles. Again, your attorney would want to know if the driver was properly trained on the procedures for loading the bus or how to ensure that aisles are kept free of hazards.
- If the bus was not properly maintained or it was not furnished with safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, the district might also face responsibility.
Not all districts own and operate their own buses; some districts provide those services through a contracted third party. Your attorney would review your case to identify all potential sources of liability and all insurance resources that could be accessed to compensate you.
Liability for Shootings on a Bus?
According to a report written after the killing of one person and injuries to five others after a mass shooting on a Greyhound bus in 2020, common carriers in the U.S. are generally lacking in security measures on buses and at bus stations. While metal detectors, including hand-held wands, are available at some Greyhound bus stations, there is not a uniform procedure for preventing individuals from being at the station or getting on a bus with a weapon.
The report revealed that the spending on airline and airport security after 9/11 dwarfed that which was received by transportation authorities providing ground transport by bus, train, subways, or ferry transport by water. This has resulted in a disparity in the security procedures taken, in spite of the fact that more than 30 million Americans use public ground transportation each day, compared to roughly 2 million who fly.
Common carriers who provide transportation to the public are charged with the task of ensuring that there are no dangerous property conditions at the station or on the bus that would cause injury to guests. Part of that charge involves providing security measures to mitigate some of the risks posed by individuals with criminal intent.
While your injury was most certainly caused by the shooter and that individual will likely face criminal proceedings in addition to having civil liability for your injuries, the carrier can also be liable if they were aware of the potential danger or should have been aware and failed to take measures to prevent the crime from taking place.
Seek an Experienced Florida Bus Accident Attorney
If your child was injured or lost their life in a Florida school bus accident, there may be compensatory and punitive damages available. Call Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today for a free evaluation of your case. There is no cost to you to speak with a highly credentialed, personal injury attorney that is experienced in all transportation-related cases. School bus cases are particularly difficult and only an attorney with specific experience is qualified. Call today at (727) 451-6900. Do not wait as time for filing your case is limited.