If your child was recently on a bus that was in an accident and suffered injuries as a result of the crash, you need to consider whether or not you have any legal recourse to take. The same is true if you're involved in an accident with a school bus as the driver of a separate vehicle. Before you decide to file a legal claim, here are three questions that will need to be answered:
1. Who Exactly Was At Fault?
After an accident, it can be easy to throw blame around. However, it is important to get the facts straight. The police report is going to state who they deemed at fault for the accident, which is helpful information if you want to pursue a lawsuit. If it turns out that the bus driver was indeed at fault, you will need to prove that his or her actions were negligent and caused the accident in order for a lawsuit to be successful for you.
2. Is There Any Liability for the Employer?
More than likely, the school bus driver was working for an employer at the time of the crash. If the bus had children on it who were being transported to or from school, to or from a field trip or something else entirely, the school may be able to be held vicariously liable for the damages associated with the crash. In order for this to work in your favor, it will have to be proven that the bus driver was indeed acting within the scope of his or her employment contract. If it turns out that the driver was driving the bus on his own time when the collision occurred, you may still be able to sue the bus driver individually.
3. Are There Any Special Procedures That Need To Be Followed?
More often than not, when a school district is involved, there are certain procedures that must be followed. In some cases, you'll need to file a formal claim with the district and wait on an official response from that claim before you can move forward with a personal claim. If you fail to follow the procedures, you may lose your right to any form of remedies from the situation and your lawsuit can be dismissed immediately.
There are a number of other factors that must be considered as well, including your individual state's laws and statute of limitations. Your best bet is going to be to schedule an appointment with a personal injury attorney to sit down to discuss your legal options.