The holidays are over, and now children all over New York State are returning to their classes. Many of them ride in school buses, which are designed and intended to take them to and from school without incident. Bus drivers are supposed to drive carefully, and the vehicles themselves should be maintained and equipped for maximum safety during each trip.

Unfortunately, accidents can—and do—happen, and for several reasons. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 2003 and 2012, an average of 135 people were killed each year in crashes involving school buses. Many more were injured. The resulting injuries ran the gamut from minor bruising to catastrophic and even fatal. Examples include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Severe burns
  • Whiplash
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries

Common causes of school bus accidents include:

  • Reckless and/or negligent driving
  • The bus driver or other motorists driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failure to properly supervise the children during trips
  • Positioning the bus in an unsafe location for loading or unloading the children
  • Poorly maintained vehicles, resulting in faulty brakes and unsafe warning systems
  • Collisions with other vehicles, attributable to the recklessness of the bus driver and/or other motorists

Regardless of the reason why an accident took place, when a child is hurt or even killed due to someone else’s actions or negligence, the parties responsible must be held accountable, so that the child and their family are compensated for all injuries and losses, and the message goes out that putting schoolchildren at risk will not be tolerated.

Who is liable?

There are usually several parties at fault in a school bus accident. The bus driver can be held liable if they were driving negligently or recklessly. The school district may also be held accountable if the driver had a history of drug abuse, alcoholism, or driving infractions and they failed to uncover that information through negligent hiring practices. Municipalities may also be liable if their traffic lights were malfunctioning and caused the collision.

If your child has been injured in a school bus accident, then it is important that you contact a New York personal injury attorney immediately. You may be able to seek compensation for both economic and noneconomic damages such as:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation fees and assistive devices
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Reduced enjoyment of life

An experienced personal injury lawyer will investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident, help you gather evidence such as medical bills, accident reports, and witness statements, and negotiate a settlement. If necessary, they will also file a lawsuit to get you the compensation you and your child deserve. Jayson Lutzky is a personal injury and accident attorney with more than 33 years of legal experience. If you were injured, then call his office right away to set up a free in-person initial consultation. Mr. Lutzky has helped recover millions for his previous clients. Call (718) 514-6619 or visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com.