Five or six children are killed and approximately 5,500 are injured in school bus accidents each year, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics. That doesn’t sound too bad, when you consider that 450,000 public school buses cover about 4.3 billion miles a year to deliver 23.5 million children to school and home again, in addition to transporting them to other school-related activities. However, that figure is disputed by Alan Ross, president of the National Coalition for School Bus Safety, who quoted a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics that stated more than 20,000 children are treated at hospitals annually with injuries from school bus accidents.
Reported injuries include concussions, contusions, lacerations, abrasions, fractures, abdominal injuries; neck and back injuries, head injuries, and amputations. Personal injuries were mostly caused by students being thrown against the roof, windows, seats, and other students. California now requires lap-shoulder belts on new school buses.
More dangerous than riding a school bus is getting on or off at the bus stop. Children are more likely to be killed or injured while the bus is loading or unloading when a car fails to stop as the law requires for a stopped school bus displaying its stop signs and flashers.
Who Can Be Injured?
Not only are the children who are passengers on a school bus potential accident victims, but pedestrians, bicyclists, and people riding in cars that are hit by buses may be injured or killed.
Liability in School Bus Accidents
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the bus driver, another driver, the school district, or the manufacturer of the bus or one of its parts could be held liable.
School Bus Accident Attorneys in Sacramento
If your child has been injured in a California school bus accident, the personal injury lawyers at Shepard & Haven can help. We are deeply committed to all of our clients, but are especially saddened when a child has been hurt.
The Minor’s Compromise
An injury case involving a child is different than when the injured person is an adult, and you should make sure your attorney is familiar with the differences. At Shepard & Haven, we handle these cases regularly.
First, a minor lacks the legal capacity to bring a lawsuit; a parent or guardian must bring the action on the child’s behalf. Additionally, the settlement in a minor’s case requires approval by the court. The award offered to compensate a child for injuries is called a minor’s compromise. We will commit the details of the settlement offer to writing and submit it to the court for approval. The minor’s compromise specifies the amount to be paid, the location where funds will be held in trust, and the name of the trustee who will oversee the child’s trust account. We will itemizes the expenses to be paid, specifying how much will go to pay medical bills, to parents for out-of-pocket expenses they have paid from their own funds, and to the attorney. The balance is held in trust, usually until the child’s 18th birthday. Having an attorney accustomed to handling minors’ accident cases can ensure that your child’s interests are being protected.
Get Experienced Legal Help
Call the Sacramento law firm of Shepard & Haven to get experienced legal representation for your child in the aftermath of a school bus accident. Call today and set an appointment to come in and talk to us. We’ll give you honest answers to all your questions and advise you on the course of action that will be the best for your child.
Not only is the consultation free, but you will never have to pay anything unless your child wins money.