The American School Bus Council (ASBC) states that school buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles and are 50 times safer than riding in a car driven by a teen. They are better at avoiding dangerous motor vehicle accidents and are designed to prevent injuries to passengers from collisions. Safety features including flashing red lights, well-trained drivers, reinforced sides and stop sign arms contribute to the increased safety of school buses over passenger vehicles.
Despite these safety measures, school buses can still cause injury and even death to passengers, other motorists and pedestrians. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a total of 1,236 people were killed in traffic accidents involving school buses between 2001 and 2010. That is an average of around 124 fatalities each year. The NHTSA points out that these deadly accidents only account for less than half of a percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents, however hundreds of fatalities from school bus accidents is troubling.
Who Is Injured in School Bus Accidents?
Statistics from the NHTSA shows that 72 percent of fatalities from school bus-related accidents were actually the occupants of another vehicle that was involved in the crash as opposed to occupants on the school bus. Statistics show that between 2001 and 2010, those most at risk for being killed in a school bus accident were pedestrians. Statistics show that in this time period an estimated 238 pedestrians were killed in a school-bus related accident. Of those, 115 were over the age of 18 years.
Can I Sue for Damages If I Am Hit By a School Bus?
If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by a school bus, you may have grounds to seek compensation. However, it is important to remember that school buses are usually operated through government agencies and school districts. This will make your personal injury case quite complicated and very difficult for someone without proper legal training and experience. If you are facing a lawsuit involving a school bus, be sure to speak with an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney. Your attorney will help you determine who was at fault in your accident as well as the type of damages you should seek by:
- Investigating the accident
- Gathering evidence including medical bills, photographs, police reports, witness statements and more
- Making a demand for compensation
- Negotiating a settlement
- Filing a lawsuit and representing you in court, if necessary
It is important to note that many government agencies enjoy “sovereign immunity.” This means that a civilian cannot sue them for damages except in very specific situations. For example, if the driver of the school bus acted in a negligent manner, such as running a red light, you would have grounds for a lawsuit. Because personal injury cases involving the school district or government can be extremely complex, always speak with a personal injury attorney before pursuing your case.