School Bus Accidents: Assessing Responsibility

School Bus Accidents: Who’s Liable for Damages?

School bus accidents are harrowing, both because there are often multiple victims affected and the damages severe, and because the victims are typically young children. When a school bus accident occurs, the families of those involved in the accident may have numerous questions regarding liability, and how to recover compensation for their losses.


What Caused the Accident?

Determining liability for a school bus accident is dependent upon what or who caused the accident. Causes of bus accidents can vary significantly, ranging from the negligent and dangerous behavior of the bus driver, to the irresponsible actions of another driver, to a defective bus part, such as a defective tire that experiences a blowout and causes the wreck.


Who’s Liable – The School District or the Bus Driver?

When it is determined that the bus driver was to blame for the crash via an act of negligence, i.e. driving too fast for conditions, failing to yield, or driving while impaired, a second question arises: who is liable – the school district or the bus driver? Via the theory of vicarious liability, a school district may be held liable for the actions of its employee when the employee was acting within the scope of employment. Further, the school district could be held liable if it failed to properly train the driver, failed to check their driving background prior to hiring, failed to perform proper maintenance on the bus, etc.


The Complicated Nature of Filing a Claim

In addition to determining who is liable for the crash, if the bus driver (school district) is to blame, filing a claim can be complicated. Not only will you need to prove that the accident would not have occurred but for the negligence of the at-fault party, but you may also need to follow state-specific regulations for filing a claim against a municipality (school districts are often considered to be government entities).


Working with an Experienced Law Firm

At the law offices of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, we are here to help your family after a school bus accident has occurred, injuring or killing your child. In order to improve your family’s chances of recovering the compensation you are entitled to, you will need to understand and prove liability, and file your claim in accordance with regulations. For assistance with all of the above, and to work with a compassionate advocate who understands what you’re going through, contact our law offices today.