of lawyer do I need? She is 14 and was getting on the bus with my best friend's son, 9 (who has ADHD and OCD) He dropped some erasers on the ground and was picking them up outside NEXT TO THE BUS. My daughter stood on the bus with her right leg planted on the pavement outside the bus. The bus driver closed the door on her leg and proceeded to move the bus. He moved the bus about 2 feet and stopped it again, opened the door, the boy got on, and then my daughter got on the rest of the way. I was the video tape and he has received a traffic ticket because the kids that got on the bus b4 he moved it were not seated yet. The case has been given to the DA but nothing has happened other than the bus driver being suspended from work.
Criminal Defense Attorney
If the Bus Driver closed the door and began to drive away, without realizing the position your daughter was in, your Daughter may have a Negligence claim for the recovery of money from the Bus Driver and/or the Bus Driver's Employer (and/or any liability insurers either may have), to compensate her for any damages she suffered. I would suspect that having the doors closed on her leg and the bus start moving unexpectedly while she still had the other leg outside the bus caused your Daughter some degree of physical pain, as well as a terrifying moment or two thinking about the imminent prospect of the bus accelerating to driving speed and dragging her along the pavement to the next stop! If so, these are elements of damage for which she may have a viable claim for compensation, regardless whether she later sought any medical treatment. (If she did, the claim for compensation for the cost of treatment would, technically under Wisconsin law, belong to you as the parent of the Minor who received the treatment.)
If the Bus Driver closed the door on your Daughter's leg and began to move the bus, knowing the position your Daughter was in and intending to injure or her scare her, she may have a civil claim for Battery and/or Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. In that case, in addition to compensation for injury related damages, she may have a claim for punitive damages against the Bus Driver. (Unfortunately, however, liability insurance policies usually exclude coverage for all damages, both compensatory and punitive, associated with injuries a wrongdoer purposefully inflicted on the victim.)
I suggest you immediately make an appointment to meet with an experienced private personal injury attorney, in order that a more informed and detailed factual inquiry can be organized and undertaken. Such an attorney would likely request that you bring your daughter and the videotape you mentioned to the first meeting. After learning more of the details, such an attorney should give you his or her opinon regarding whether you or your Daughter have potentially collectible claims likely worth the time and expense of pursuing in a lawsuit. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis and, therefore, do not charge any fee for their time to meet with a prospective client before deciding whether to accept a potential personal injury case.
The District Attorney represents the State of Wisconsin and, on its behalf, may or may not decide to charge the Bus Driver with a criminal violation. Such a charge would be handled in criminal court in a proceeding separate from any civil lawsuit that might be pursued by a private personal injury attorney on behalf of your Daugher or you.
Administrative Law Lawyer
You say "nothing has happened other than the bus driver being suspended from work." But that is what there is to happen in these matters. The bus driver is disciplined. You might disagree with the discipline, and maybe there will be more after an investigation is complete, but essentially a suspension and some degree of employee discipline is what there is to do. And he also got a traffic ticket. How are these events "nothing"?
If your daughter was injured and required medical treatment, you can make a claim against the school. It probably is not worth the effort and cost of a lawyer if there was no med treatment.
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Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
The suspension is certainly a punishment. It may become permanent. You may need to speak with a competent personal injury attorney. Do not delay. In cases involving a municipality there are often a short time period where a Notice of Claim must be filed. In NY it is 90 days.
Mr. Pascale is licensed to practice law in the State of New York. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and time-lines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Pascale strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to insure proper advice is received.