School buses are a type of motor vehicles. They are common carriers of more than 11 students. They are strictly regulated by the government making them the safest vehicles on the road. Therefore, children are safer riding a school bus than travelling by car. However, that does not mean children are less likely to be in accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4 in 6 children die in school transportation every year.
What makes school buses special?
School buses are very special because of their safety. Children (18 years old and younger) are 70 times more likely to arrive to school safely using a school bus. The reason for that is the strict regulation school buses have by the NHTSA. They are carefully designed to prevent crashes and injuries resulting from school bus accidents. They are designed to be highly visible. Each school bus includes many safety features. These include flashing red lights, cross-view mirrors and stop sign arms. These features help alert other vehicles of school buses sharing the road with them. Other safety features include protective seating and rollover protection to prevent occupants from bus accident injuries. While car passengers must wear seat belts at all times, school bus occupants don’t. That is because of compartmentalization that protects school bus passengers. Compartmentalization protects students by strong, closely-spaced seats with energy-absorbing seat backs. Furthermore, the law makes it illegal for other drivers to pass a school bus while dropping off or picking up students.
School Bus Accidents Statistics
School buses are the safest vehicles on the road. They account to less than 1% of total motor vehicle accidents. Out of 320,874 fatal road crashes, 1,147 are school bus accidents. In a 10 year span, 1,282 individuals were killed in these accidents. That is an average of 128 fatalities each year. Non-occupants, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. account for 20%. Therefore, the majority of school bus accidents’ fatalities are non occupants. Rather, occupants of other motor vehicles.
Types of Accidents that occur on School Buses
There are many types of school bus accidents that can occur to anyone. Most people think these accidents are motor vehicle crashes that occur due to driver negligence. However, there are many other variations of accidents. Here are some common school bus accidents:
Motor Vehicle collision
This can occur between the school bus and another motor vehicle (car, motorcycle, truck, or another bus). Fault for this type can fall on either driver.
Trips, slips and fall on-board the bus
This occurs while riding the school bus. These accidents often occur due to negligence in the bus manufacturing or maintenance. For example, a defect in the bus flooring or chairs.
Pedestrians or cyclists struck by school buses
This happens when the bus hits a pedestrian walking or a cyclist riding his/her bicycle in the street.
Liability in School Bus Accidents
Liability in this type of accidents is a little bit complex. Schools are part of large public district educational systems. Municipal or state government run schools. Therefore, schools have legal protection known as sovereign immunity.
In the unfortunate event of an accident, the first thing you should do is make a claim against the school itself. You must file the Notice of Claim filed with the proper government agency. Government agencies include the school itself, the county or the state. This notice serves to alert potential liable parties that a school bus accident took place, which resulted in the sustaining of injuries. The Notice of Claim must comply with the following:
- It must be filed within a short time after the school bus accident.
- Describes in detail the accident
- Includes a description of the government agency role in the accident
- It must include a specific compensation amount you would like
Once the agency receives your claim, the appropriate party will respond. They may accept your claim, deny it or choose to do nothing at all. You must file the Notice of Claim must prior to beginning the process of a lawsuit.
Get the appropriate legal help today
Given the complexity of school bus accident claims, consulting with a legal professional is recommended. At the Napolin Injury Accident Lawyers, we look at your case from different perspectives to provide you with the most optimal outcome. Call today to get your free consultation.