There are many types of motor vehicles. School buses are one type. A bus is a common carrier as it carries more than 3 passengers at once. School buses are therefore also known as common carriers of 11 students and above. However, because they carry children, they have lots of strict government regulations. Children transported to school by bus are statistically safer than if they were to be driven by car. Having said that, there are still dangers in riding in a school bus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides that 4 in 6 children die in school bus accidents every year.
Important Special School Bus Features
What makes school buses special is their safety features. 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. These buses are carefully designed to prevent crashes and injuries resulting from bus accidents. They are designed to be highly visible as well. 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 school 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.
The Statistics Pertaining to School Bus Accidents
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 accident occurring on school buses . In a 10 year span, 1,282 individuals were killed in school bus accidents. That is an average of 128 fatalities each year. Bus occupants account for 9% of school bus accidents. And non-occupants, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. account for 20%. Therefore, the majority of school bus accidents’ fatalities are non bus occupants. Rather, occupants of other motor vehicles.
Types Of School Bus Accidents
There are many types of school bus accidents that can occur to anyone. Most people think school bus accidents are motor vehicle crashes that occur due to driver negligence. This type of school bus accident can certainly occur. However, there are many other variations of school bus 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 School 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.
Determining Liability in a School Bus Accident
Liability in these 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 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 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.
Legal Advice on Bus Accidents
Given the complexity of school bus claims, consulting with a legal professional is recommended. At the Napolin Injury Accident Lawyers, we look at your case from different perspectives to provide the optimal legal advice. One must always way the upsides and downsides before pursing a legal matter, especially one of personal injury on a Bus or other motor vehicle.