Comparatively few children live within walking distance of their school, making it necessary for them to take the bus. While the majority of trips take place without incident, it is, regrettably, not uncommon for parents to receive a call that their son or daughter has been hurt while riding to or from school. One of the most recent incidents took place last May, when 17 children were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries after their school bus crashed into a truck in Jamaica, Queens.
Let’s take a closer look at common causes of school bus injuries and who may be to blame.
Bus driver misconduct
When school bus drivers fail to operate their vehicles with safety in mind, they put the children in their charge at risk. Poor training, fatigue, driving under the influence, aggressive driving, speeding and failure to yield have all contributed to tragedy.
All of the bus driver missteps referenced above apply equally to other motorists on the road. When they drive in dangerous and irresponsible ways, they present a serious risk to school buses and the children on them.
School buses are supposed to be maintained regularly to ensure that they are safe, but lax and negligent inspection and maintenance procedures can result in mechanical errors on the road. Blown-out tires and faulty brakes are only two examples of equipment breakdown that could result in serious injury to your child. While certain incidents can be traced to substandard maintenance, they may also be attributed to defective parts, which assign liability to the manufacturer.
Schools have a duty of care that requires personnel to intervene before or during a fight, whether on the bus or school property. They are also legally required to take action the moment they know, or should know, that a student is prone to assaulting other children, so that acts of violence can be prevented. Should your child be attacked on the school bus and the driver fails to act, the school may be held liable for physical and psychological injuries that result.
What to do if your child is injured
No matter what caused your son or daughter to be injured while riding the bus, ensure that they get medical attention immediately. Then, as soon as possible, talk to them about the incident and get as many details from them as possible, including where they were sitting, what they were able to see and, in the case of an assault, when the confrontation started.
Although photographing the injuries is not a task any parent would relish, it is important to have visual evidence of how badly your child was hurt. By the time attorneys get involved, many of these cuts and bruises may have healed, so pictures will strengthen a future personal injury claim.
If the injury was caused by a crash or collision, then contact your auto insurance company immediately to file a claim for no-fault benefits. Many parents fail to do this because the child was not hurt in their vehicle, but you can claim medical expenses and even attendant care if your son or daughter requires direct and personal recovery support.
School bus accidents are a complicated crisis that can potentially involve more than one defendant. To increase your chances to getting the award or settlement that your child deserves, contact a New York personal injury attorney with the expertise to determine what parties are liable and the tenacity to fight for what your son or daughter needs to recover. Jayson Lutzky is a practicing New York State personal injury lawyer who handles motor vehicle accident cases. If your child was injured in a school bus accident, then contact Mr. Lutzky’s office immediately. He offers free in-person consultation and his office is bilingual in English and Spanish. Call 718-329-9500 or visit MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com today.