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. If you child was hurt in a similar incident, a Fort Lauderdale school bus accident lawyer could help you seek the justice your family deserves. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys can protect your legal rights at all stages of your case.
Unique Aspects of School Bus Accidents
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 one that 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 around 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 bus safety are pushing for a redesign of yellow school buses which include seat belts.
In the unfortunate event that a school bus accident does occur, it is important to find an injury attorney 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.
Injuries Seen in School Bus Crashes
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 our lawyers 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.
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 can seek primary recovery through your own insurance company due to the states 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.
Call a Fort Lauderdale School Bus Accident Attorney Today
After your child was involved in a crash with a school bus, you deserve the best legal representation. Attorney David I. Fuchs has the experience and skill necessary to pursue compensation and hold a negligent driver accountable. When you reach out to a Fort Lauderdale school bus accident lawyer, you maximize your chances of a positive case outcome. Reach out today to learn more.