Most people have a general understanding of the best steps to take after a car accident with another individual, but what happens when you suffer injuries and damages in an accident with a bus? It can be difficult to know what to do or where to turn.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a bus accident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, it’s important to know your rights, especially if the government operates the carrier. The personal injury attorney at David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. has over a three decades of experience handling a diverse array of legal disputes, and we have the resources and experience to help navigate our clients through any lawsuit, even those against government entities.

Commercial Bus Accidents in Fort Lauderdale

Commercial busses fall under common carrier law because they provide transportation to the public for a fee. Common carriers may be public entities or privately owned and operated companies. It’s crucial for anyone who has been in an accident with a bus to understand their options for legal recourse.

Fort Lauderdale School Bus Accident Lawyer

Common injuries in school bus accidents include broken bones, head and brain injuries, burns, cuts, and spinal cord injuries. These injuries can result in a lifetime of medical costs, significant pain and suffering, and even wrongful death. If your child recently suffered injuries of any kind in a school bus crash in Fort Lauderdale, contact us for a free case evaluation. The chances are high that your family could receive an insurance settlement or judgment award to cover your economic and non-economic damages. With our assistance, you can fight to maximize your recovery.

Children are society’s future and getting them safely to and from their institutions of learning is a primary concern for parents and guardians across the country. Over 400,000 yellow school buses are responsible for transporting over 20 million students to and from school, field trips, and school-related activities.

School buses are proven to be the safest vehicles to transport children when factoring in a great many trips that are taken to and from school per year. Unfortunately, however, accidents may occur. Accidents involving school buses have an average death rate of 26 children yearly. Compared to other statistics, this may seem small. However, over 800 students are killed each year walking, riding, or driving to or from school.

School Buses: A Safer Option

School bus drivers are typically much more prudent drivers. They take caution rather than risks and travel at slower speeds than a typical passenger vehicle. School buses are also bigger and well made. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a school bus crash is a crash which involves, either directly or indirectly, a school bus body vehicle, or a non-school bus functioning as a school bus, transporting children to or from school or school-related activities.

Although it is unlikely that a school bus accident will occur, they can still be devastating when they do. Because children are often moving about and not wearing seat belts, there have been issues in the past with children being injured en route to school or their home. For this reason, advocates for school safety are pushing for a redesign of yellow school buses which include seat belts.

In certain states, safety precautions are instituted requiring a motor to prevent pedestrians and non-bus occupants from being injured in a school bus accident, states have instituted safety precautions that must be taken by drivers in the vicinity of school buses.

In the unfortunate event that a school bus accident in Fort Lauderdale occurs, it is important to find an injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale who specializes with this type of case. Fault and injury are difficult factors to ascertain and negligent parties may never be brought to justice if the damage is not properly assessed.

If needed, South Florida accident attorney David I. Fuchs will represent you for injuries to your child that include, but are not limited to:

Who Is Liable for Your School Bus Crash in Fort Lauderdale?

If you were a third-party driver that collided with a school bus, you will seek primary recovery through your own insurance company due to Florida’s no-fault laws. However, you may be able to bring a claim against the owner of the bus if your injuries are serious enough. As a pedestrian, school bus passenger, or the parent of a child on the bus, the first question you should ask after a harmful school bus accident is whether the bus was from a private or public school.

The seemingly minor detail of public vs. private will make all the difference in the defendant, timeline, and filing requirements of your claim. If the school bus involved in the accident is from a private school, the owner of the school may be legally responsible for victims’ damages. You will have four years from the date of the crash to bring your claim against the private company. A public-school bus, on the other hand, falls under government liability.

Things To Keep In Mind When Filing A Claim

To file a claim against a government agency after a bus accident, you will face stricter deadlines and more complicated filing processes. You have six months from the date of the crash to file your official Notice of Intent with the district that owns the public-school bus. Missing this deadline could mean losing your right to seek compensation. Always speak to a lawyer after a public bus crash, as these types of claims are notoriously difficult for plaintiffs.

If the school bus driver caused the accident, you will seek recovery through the employer. If a third party such as another driver or a product manufacturer (e.g. for a defective bus part) caused the wreck, you will file a claim with that party’s insurance company. Again, Florida’s no-fault rules may restrict your ability to file a claim outside of your own vehicle insurer. As an injured person or parent of an injured child, the best thing you can do for your case is to consult with a lawyer.

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Proving Negligence In Bus Accident Claims

Personal injury lawsuits hinge on the concept of negligence. A plaintiff must prove that a defendant had a duty to act with reasonable care, breached this duty in some way, and this breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s losses. This may seem straightforward in most cases, but common carriers are beholden to a higher duty of care since they provide transportation to the public as part of their business model. Failing to adhere to the highest standards of safety constitutes negligence.

Driver errors like speeding, mechanical failures, and poor driver training place liability on the shoulders of the carrier company. If the common carrier is a public entity, special rules for filing a complaint apply, and it’s very important to act quickly or you could miss the window for filing suit.

Types of Lawsuits from Bus Accidents

Depending on the type of bus that caused the accident, your resulting lawsuit could take many forms. For example, if another driver caused the bus you were riding to crash, you may need to file a lawsuit against that driver. If the bus driver is at fault, you will need to file a claim against the carrier company. However, if the carrier is government-operated, the claim process is much more complex.

Filing a claim against the government requires meeting specific procedural rules, and these rules can vary greatly from state to state. Failing to meet the deadlines or making any errors on your claim could cause you to lose your right to file a lawsuit. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to file a claim against a government-operated carrier, meet with an attorney as soon as possible. Attorneys are familiar with the procedural rules for filing claims against government agencies and working with one will greatly improve your chances of success in your claim.

Damages in Bus Accident Lawsuits

If you are filing a claim against a government entity, remember that most states place limits on how much compensation you can win from such a case. However, if your lawsuit is against a privately owned and operated common carrier or an individual driver, you have a bit more flexibility. Compensation in personal injury lawsuits for bus accidents can include:

  • Lost income. If your injuries prevent you from returning to work for an extended time you can sue for the wages you would have earned during that time. If your injuries prohibit you from resuming your job, you may be able to sue for the income you would have reasonably expected to earn in the future.
  • Medical expenses. You can sue for your hospital bills, prescription costs, rehabilitation costs, fees for any necessary surgeries or procedures, medical devices, and any other expenses resulting from your injuries.
  • Pain and suffering. If your injuries were particularly painful, your attorney can call on expert witnesses to testify in court on your behalf. Medical experts can explain how painful a plaintiff’s injuries were so a judge can award an appropriate amount.
  • Property damage. You can also sue for the cost of repairing or replacing any personal property damaged or destroyed in the accident.

Contact Us for Help with a Commercial or School Bus Accident

David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. has over three decades of experience representing clients in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding area, so let us know how we can help. Bus accident cases can be complicated, especially when a government entity is involved. Reach out to our team to schedule your free consultation so we can let you know how we can help.

$1.8 Million Brain Injury Settlement

Case Type: Traumatic Brain Injury