Children and School Bus Accidents: Prevention & Liability for Accidents

From 2003 to 2012 there were 174 school-age child fatalities related to school transportation crashes across the nation, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The majority of these children, 119, were pedestrians. The remaining 55 were occupants of school transportation vehicles.

Nearly all of these accidents occurred with school busses, the most common vehicle for school transportation. Children in Atlanta can be at risk of school bus accidents, even if they do not ride the bus themselves.

Child Pedestrian Accidents Involving School Busses

The bus stop is one site where school bus injuries may occur. When children are waiting for the bus, horseplay may result in a child stepping into the path of the oncoming vehicle. Children may also suffer injuries while running to their bus, falling underneath the bus, or being struck by another vehicle while waiting at the bus stop.

Reducing these types of accidents starts at home. Parents should instruct their children to wait a safe distance from the roadside. They should approach the bus only when it has come to a complete stop, displays the stop signs, and the driver has opened the door. Children should avoid horseplay near the bus stop or while boarding the bus at all times.

Children riding bicycles, skateboards, or walking to or from school are also at risk, especially near bus stops or the bus loading area at the school. Even if a child does not ride the school bus, she should still exercise the same level of caution at bus stops and loading areas.

Child Injuries While Riding a School Bus

Believe it or not, child injuries while riding school busses are less frequent than child pedestrian injuries involving school busses. The most common type of accident that resulted in a fatality according to the NHTSA was a front impact to the school bus (49 percent of crashes).

During the data collection period of 2003 to 2012, 89 crashes resulted in a fatality of a school transportation occupant. More than half of those crashes involved another vehicle. There were also 37 single-vehicle crashes involving school transportation vehicles in which a passenger died. Most of these crashes were due to striking a fixed object, but several others involved overturned vehicles or a victim falling from the vehicle.

School Bus Accident Liability

When a child is injured or killed while on a school but there are several parties that could be liable for her injuries. The bus driver could be liable if he was not obeying traffic laws or acting in a reckless manner. In this case, the school board or another company that operates the bus could be vicariously liable for its driver's negligence. If another driver caused a crash with a school bus, that driver could be liable for negligent driving behavior.

There are also less common circumstances where a city could be liable for not removing road hazards if one such hazard caused the bus to crash. Bus manufacturers may also be liable for damages if a flaw in the bus's design or manufacturing caused a crash.

In order to determine who is liable for your child's injury or death, you will need to gather evidence to determine how the accident occurred and who was involved. Doing so can be difficult, especially for a parent trying to tend to his injured child or grieving family. Therefore, parents should consult an Atlanta accident attorney for assistance with the legal proceedings.

If Your Child Was Hurt on an Atlanta School Bus, Jason Schultz Can Help

The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. is here to help Atlanta parents seek compensation for injuries sustained by their children due to the negligence of another. If your child was severely injured or killed while riding on or while near a school bus, contact our office today to schedule an appointment for a FREE consultation regarding your legal options: 404-474-0804.