The National Coalition for School Bus Safety reports that there are 25 million children riding on school buses every single school day. They are primarily riding back and forth to school or involved in extracurricular activities like bands, sports, field trips and more. While a study by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Science and Engineering determined that the school bus was the safest means of transportation for students, an estimated 17,000 children are injured every year in school bus accidents.
How School Bus Accidents Happen?
Many injuries sustained by children on school buses are minor and the result of a child falling inside the bus from an abrupt stop or swerve initiated by the driver. However, many school bus injuries are severe and even fatal. The most common is a child that is struck while exiting or attempting to enter the bus. Despite laws preventing the passing of a school bus while loading or unloading, drivers often ignore the lights and extended stop sign on the vehicle. Driver distraction has increased the number of these accidents. In other cases the driver fails to see that a child is in close proximity of the bus as it pulls out, especially if several children departed at once.
Many people must remember the death of Rebecca McKinney, and the subsequent $1.1 million settlement against the North Pinellas School District in 2008, after she was struck and killed in Clearwater after being dropped off on the opposite side of a busy multi-lane road. The district had ignored a directive to eliminate those types of stops. Her death resulted in changes being made in drop off procedures and the installation of pedestrian bridges.
School bus accidents can be divided into four categories:
- Single Vehicle – This type of accident involves only the school bus. There may have been another vehicle that caused the bus driver to employ an evasive maneuver, but the bus was the only vehicle that sustained damage. These types of accidents often involve multiple injuries and even fatalities, especially in a rollover. Florida is one of six states that require seatbelts on school buses, which has reduced injuries in all types of school bus accidents.
- Multi-Vehicle – These are any accident involving a school bus and any number of additional vehicles. These accidents range from minor bumps to catastrophic collisions.
- Child Crossing – A child approaching or departing the school bus is at risk of drivers disregarding warning lights and signs. Also being in front of the bus and below the driver’s line of sight as it pulls out, or unseen near the side of the bus. Two out of three children killed outside of school were struck by the school bus and not by another vehicle.
- Falls Within the Bus – These accidents are common and generally not too serious ranging from bumps and bruises to possibly a concussion of broken bone. They are caused by a sudden jolt, stop or sharp turn when the child is not secured in their seat. Children standing in the aisle or on their seat are particularly vulnerable.
What Are My Options?
If you child was injured or killed while riding, boarding or exiting a school bus it is imperative that you seek the legal representation of an experienced bus accident attorney. The bus accident attorney will have the investigative resources to find and hold to negligent parties accountable. It may require the aid of a skilled accident reconstruction expert, but the facts will be determined.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA attorneys have the skill and knowledge to successfully represent victims of bus accidents. Settlement for less than the true case value is not an option. You may receive compensation for your child’s medical bills both present and future, cost of rehabilitation, pain and suffering, punitive damages, loss of future income and more. The attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are prepared to vehemently go the distance to achieve the maximum award possible in your case. Call today for a free consultation.
Any injury to a child is a tragedy, but when it is caused by the negligence of an individual or entity it is inexcusable.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765