A school bus accident can be cause for panic, and rightfully so. When a crash occurs on a school bus, the passengers are often children under 18 years of age. In some states, any passenger under the age of 18 is considered a minor child.
This means that if you’re involved in a school bus accident as an adult, you need to know your rights as well as those of the children on board.
This legal guide will help you make sense of your next steps after a school bus accident and what to expect from the legal process going forward.
First steps to take if you’re involved in a school bus accident
When you’re involved in a school bus accident, it’s important to remember that the first priority is to help the children get medical care.
Most states recognize certain legal protections for school bus passengers and require all injured individuals to be treated by a medical professional. The first thing to do in a school bus accident is to remain calm.
If you are injured, you may be asked by the school district to submit a written statement and show proof of your injury to the school district so that they can help cover the costs of any medical treatment.
You should also immediately contact an experienced law firm, such as Schultz Myers personal injury lawyers, so that they may begin filing the necessary insurance paperwork on your behalf, and craft your legal defense if it comes down to it.
The Legal Process of a School Bus Accident:
The legal process of a school bus accident is complex. There are many different pieces to the process and, without the help of a lawyer, it can be very confusing.
The school district’s legal team will usually get involved after you’ve reported the accident. The team will then send out a letter and call the parents or guardians to notify them of the accident. You’re often required to give a statement to the legal team.
This interview process will allow the district legal team to interview you, ask you about the accident, and gather evidence. After the legal team has investigated the accident, they will send a claim form to the parents or guardians of the children who were injured.
This claim form will include a statement from the school district that outlines the accident and possible damages you will be seeking.
The form is a document that your attorney will file with the court that details the terms of the settlement agreement. The same form will then be sent to the school district so they can fill out a summary of the settlement. This document will be filed with the court.
The legal process for the car driver involved
The process varies depending on whether you were at fault or not, but it becomes complex based on the fact a school bus contains many passengers, and there may be a wide variety of injuries. There are two different parties at play, namely the driver of the other vehicle and the bus driver.
In many ways the proceedings will resemble any other road accident, with vehicle and injury insurance claims to settle – but with the average school bus being capable of seating 66 to 90 passengers, this can lead to large damages and lengthy legal fights for many different parties.
The best thing you can do for yourself, whether you’re at fault or not, is to seek out the advice of an experienced lawyer who can help you understand all the possible scenarios moving forward.
The legal process for the child bus passengers
During the legal process, the school district’s legal team will subpoena records from all three parties involved in the accident. Most parents and guardians will provide a statement of physical and/or emotional harm to their child after the accident, so the school district legal team will be able to gather this information through this process.
Finally, who is responsible for the damages?
The school district legal team will attempt to recover damages for their costs associated with the investigation and filing of a lawsuit. These costs can include attorneys, medical bills, damages to your vehicle, and repair work for the school buses.
The school district legal team will attempt to get any money that was spent for damages to your vehicle covered by your insurance policy. If the vehicle driver’s insurance company does not cover your damages, then the school district legal team can file a claim with their insurance company as well.