A review of school bus accidents

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

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Unfortunately, the tragic school bus accident in Tennessee resulted in several fatalities and serious injuries, including children. The bus struck a truck a mailbox, utility pole, fell onto its side and slid into a tree. As of last week, three lawsuits have been filed against the school bus operator. In general, the suits allege that the bus was negligently operated and the injuries were the result of that unsafe operation.

As a preliminary matter, school districts and schools are liable for any damage that occurs due to an accident involving one of its school buses. Schools are accountable because they are responsible for the care and safety of the children while the children remain in the school’s custody or control.

The one exception may be if the accident is caused by another driver. For example, a negligent car driver hits the side of the bus and causes the accident. In this situation, the other driver would be more responsible for the crash and therefore, liable for the harm that results.

Additionally, it is important to note that most statutes of limitations do not start running for minor children until they turn 18. That means, for these kids, many of them can wait years before filing a lawsuit. For example, if a child is ten when she is injured, and the limitation is three years, the child has until she is 21 to file her claim because it does not start running until she is 18, and she has three years from that date.

Conversely, adults must submit their claims when they know or should know about their injuries; specific limitations depend on your particular jurisdiction’s rules.

If you suffered an injury due to a negligent driver, you might want to contact a lawyer to investigate your case. You might have a valid claim for personal injury and possess the right to recover compensation for your medical bills and pain and suffering. A lawyer can go over the accident and the insurance policies to determine the best methods to pursue recovery.

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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