Every day, millions of children ride buses to and from school. Parents and guardians trust these buses with their children’s safety. Sadly, 3,000 Florida school bus accidents occurred in 2022 alone.
James Horne Law can help you if your child was injured in a school bus accident. Our firm can identify the liable parties, assess damages, and pursue fair compensation for your child.
Who Is Liable After a School Bus Accident?
Multiple parties may be held responsible after an accident. These can include:
- Bus drivers. Bus operators have a duty to ensure the safety of students during transportation. They may be liable for an accident due to their negligence.
- Bus companies. Companies working on behalf of schools must follow protocol and keep students safe. These bus companies could be liable if their drivers’ actions led to the crash.
- School districts. School districts are trusted to keep their students safe at school-related activities. Schools can be liable for accidents due to insufficient safety standards, training, and supervision.
- Bus manufacturers. Manufacturers are required to provide safe buses that function as expected. They can be liable if poor construction and latent defects cause an accident.
- Other drivers. Drivers owe a duty to one another on the road. Negligent and reckless drivers can be liable for causing an accident.
School bus accidents are often complex and confusing. Understanding which party is liable for a child’s injury can be difficult. In some cases, several parties can share responsibility.
Types of Injuries in School Bus Accidents
Most school buses lack seatbelts, making injuries more likely and severe. Common injuries include:
- Cuts and bruises, and
- Soft tissue injuries.
Children can also experience non-physical injuries like anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Both physical and non-physical conditions can affect a student’s health, quality of life, and academic performance.
Steps to Take After a School Bus Accident
You can file a personal injury claim to get compensation for your child. However, you need to take a fast and measured approach to maximize the strength and value of your case.
Get Medical Care
Take your child to the doctor as soon as you can after the accident. Some injuries may go unnoticed; only a doctor can catch them before they worsen. Also, keep any medical records from these visits. This documentation serves as evidence in potential legal proceedings.
A case is as strong as the evidence you present. If possible, take photographs of the scene, the damaged bus, and any visible injuries. Collect contact information from witnesses and obtain a copy of the accident report filed by law enforcement.
Follow School Procedures
Work with the school during this process. Attend any meetings or briefings organized by the school to discuss the accident. Also, be ready to complete paperwork about the accident and speak with representatives investigating the incident.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Working with a lawyer is best, even if it seems like everything is going well. They can protect your child’s rights after the accident. This can include working with the school, negotiating with insurance companies, and filing a lawsuit if necessary.
What Compensation Can You Recover?
The law allows you to seek compensation for your child’s injuries and other damages. Victims often request compensation to cover the following:
- Medical expenses. Covering the costs of hospitalization, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and any ongoing medical treatments related to the injuries sustained in the accident.
- Property damage. Reimbursement for any personal property, such as school supplies or electronic devices, damaged during the accident.
- Future medical costs. Anticipated medical expenses for ongoing treatments, therapies, or surgeries that your child may require in the future due to injuries sustained.
- Pain and suffering. Compensation for the physical and emotional distress experienced by your child. This may include pain, anxiety, trauma, and any lasting psychological effects.
There’s no limit on the amount of compensation you can recover. Each case is unique, so it’s impossible to give you the value of the average settlement for a school bus accident. Your attorney can help calculate a number that properly represents the value of your child’s claim.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
The standard statute of limitations for personal injuries is two years. A court could dismiss a claim if you file after this deadline. However, Florida law has an exception for children. Minors can file a personal injury claim up to seven years from the date of the injury.
Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney
James Horne understands the challenges children and families face after a school bus crash. These incidents often have many physical, emotional, and financial costs. Our firm has recovered millions for injured Floridians, and we never charge a dime unless we win. Call James Horne Law to schedule a consultation.