Liability for a School Bus Accident in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported 365 school bus crashes in 2014. Of these crashes, 209 resulted in injuries with 3 fatalities. If your child is injured or killed on a school bus you will need to determine who was liable for the damages.
Potentially Liable Parties in a School Bus CrashThe first party that most parents hold liable for a school bus crash is the bus driver. A negligent bus driver who texts and drives, drives while intoxicated, or drives recklessly can increase the risk of causing a serious school bus accident. However, other drivers can also be liable for causing an accident if they perform any of the same actions, including tailgating the bus, failure to follow the bus safety signals, and speeding near buses. The school district could also be liable for a school bus accident if they fail to perform proper employment checks and licensing of their drivers. If a mechanical error caused the bus to crash then the district's maintenance company or division could be held liable for failure to maintain and repair defective or broken bus equipment.
Evidence Necessary to Prove School Bus Accident LiabilityWhen a school bus has any type of incident in Pennsylvania the bus driver or their superior must file a School Bus Accident Report. This report will contain all the essential details of the incident that can be helpful when determining liability. The report will let you know why the bus was traveling, who was on the bus, what type of accident occurred, and the nature of any injuries. Along with this report, a police report will likely be created to document the incident. This report can provide evidence of the events leading up to and potentially causing the accident and acts as an official account of the situation. Witness reports from bystanders, other drivers, and bus passengers can also be helpful if it is unclear as to what caused the bus to crash. In many cases, student horseplay can distract the bus driver and cause accidents. Some busses also have camera systems installed to track the activity within the bus.
Filing a Claim Against a School Bus Driver or School DistrictWhen you are notified that your child was injured while on or near a school bus you should immediately contact a Pennsylvania school bus accident attorney. An attorney can help you determine your rights to recovery if the accident was serious enough to warrant compensation. Attorneys can also help gather the evidence necessary to build a claim against the correct party and hold them liable for your damages. Do not sign any waivers or agreements with the school district until you have had a chance to speak to your attorney. Doing so could waive your right to file an injury claim on behalf of your child.