School Bus Related Accident Claims in Austin

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Every day, over 22 million children ride a school bus back and forth to campus. According to the NHTSA, “On average, over the past 11 years, school buses have been involved in over 26,000 crashes, resulting in less than 1,000 incapacitating injuries and slightly more than 7,000 non-incapacitating injuries and possible injuries to passengers.” According to a doctor at the American Academy of Pediatrics, however, approximately 17,000 children are treated in emergency rooms annually, having been injured in school buses, with 42 percent of those injuries involving crashes.

Determining Liability

If you or your child was involved in an accident while riding a school bus, if the bus driver was at fault, then a claim can be brought against the bus company. If however you or your child was involved in a school bus crash that was the result of another driver’s error, you can hold that driver responsible. Or if you were the driver that was hit by a school bus operator, you can hold the school bus driver and owner of the bus responsible. Because a bus company is a “common carrier,” it has a duty of care towards passengers. Other bus accidents can include:

  • Wrongful death- if a loved one was run over by a school bus
  • Pedestrian accident- if you or a loved one were hit by a school bus
  • Assault- if you or a loved one was attacked on a school bus

Safety Recommendations

Safety experts recommend that children follow the following rules, in order to stay out of harm’s way:

  • Stay at least 10 feet away from a bus, until you get on
  • Before stepping off a bus, check to see if any cars are coming
  • Don’t play or linger near a bus
  • Take 5 “giant” steps out in front of a bus before crossing the street- be sure the driver sees you
  • Before crossing the street, make sure all the cars on the road have stopped
  • Make sure your child is wearing clothes that don’t have drawstrings- these can get stuck on a handrail
  • Make sure your child’s backpack or book bag does not have dangling items or straps- these can get stuck on a handrail
  • Get your child to the bus a couple of minutes early to avoid rushing
  • Remind your child about the danger zone and about good riding behavior

According to statistics, “Eighteen to 24 fatalities a year are called ‘school bus-related fatalities.’ This is when kids are hit by their own bus or by another vehicle.” Good rules to follow can include: wait to board the bus until the driver says its OK, don’t try to retrieve an item dropped near a bus, be sure you can see the bus driver, walk in front of a bus not behind, wear reflective clothing when need be, obey the bus driver, stay in your seat facing forward, don’t distract the driver, don’t throw anything and keep yourself and your belongings inside of the bus.

Between 1990 and 2000, only six children died as school bus passengers, however, 29 children were killed in school bus-related pedestrian accidents. While school buses remain one of the safest modes of transportation, accidents can still happen and when another’s negligence put you or your child in harm’s way, you can fight for damages!

When a school bus company, owner, driver or another driver completely are careless and jeopardize your life or a family member’s life, you should file a personal injury claim immediately. If you need help determining who was at fault in your accident and collecting confirmatory evidence, contact a Personal Injury Attorney at Zinda Law Group to get the aggressive legal advocates you deserve on your side!