When you send your kid on the bus to go to school, you are trusting the driver and anyone involved with the vehicle your child goes on to deliver your loved one to school safely. While school buses tend to be safer and more affordable than cars, it can still be worrying to leave your child’s life in the hands of a stranger.
In a state like New York, bus accidents can be very common and are often the result of negligence. If your child receives major injuries because of these incidents, you should be aware of who can be potentially liable in different scenarios.
The school district
The school should have bus owners that can properly maintain the bus and have the vehicle pass inspection before usage. If an accident occurs that was a result of a malfunction, then a parent could hold the school liable for not keeping the bus in top shape.
New York is different than most states in that it does have a school bus seat belt law to install seat belts on any bus made after 1987. However, the decision to equip them or not comes from the school district. Given how a large portion of school bus injuries are from a child hitting their head or experiencing whiplash as a result of lacking a seat belt, there is a high chance that you could hold them responsible for your child’s injury if there were no seat belts in the bus.
The bus driver
The bus driver should be properly trained and have enough experience to handle driving dozens of children to school every day. If they lack the proper requirements or have multiple vehicle violations in their past, that is the school’s fault.
However, bus drivers are not completely off the hook. The crash could be the result of the driver’s negligence even if they did have the necessary requirements schools look for. They can still engage in careless motorist behavior such as driving under the influence, using their phone behind the wheel, or operating the vehicle in a drowsy state.
The most common culprit in these accidents tends to be one the other motorists on the road. Many drivers do not know how to navigate around or react to an incoming school bus. If a car crashes into the bus, the impact could tilt the bus over and put dozens of lives in danger.
However, numerous accidents occur even when the bus is not moving. New York requires drivers from both directions to stop at least 20 feet away from the buses as it either unloads or gathers more children. Careless drivers who do not give buses and kids the room they deserve cause trouble for all parties.
If your child was injured in a school bus accident, you should seek legal assistance to help you determine who is at fault and get you the compensation you deserve to financially recover from the medical bills.