The month of September means many things: the end of summer, the much-welcomed cooler weather, and of course, back-to-school season. Back to school doesn't just mean busier schedules for the majority of families, nights filled with homework, and transportation between after-school activities and home, but also more children and traffic on the road. Indeed, five days a week, students are traveling to and from school, often via bus.
While riding the bus is certainly one of the safest ways for kids to get to and from school (statistics show that riding the bus is safer than riding in the family vehicle or walking to school), school bus accidents do happen. If your child is injured in a school bus accident, here's a look into what you need to know about liability:
Causes of School Bus Accidents
When a school bus accident occurs, it is almost always because of the negligence of one of the parties involved; it is rare for accidents to occur as a result of unforeseen circumstances, such as poor weather. Instead, top causes of accidents include:
- School bus driver errors. Bus accidents are often caused by the errors of school bus drivers. Dangerous behaviors that school bus drivers may engage in include driving while intoxicated or fatigued, speeding, taking a turn too quickly, or driving aggressively.
- Bus malfunction. Sometimes, the driver of a bus is not to blame in a bus accident, and instead the bus crash is caused by a vehicle defect or bus malfunction, such as defective brakes or a tire blowout. These defects may be the result of a manufacturing or design error, or because the bus wasn't properly maintained and serviced.
- Errors committed by another driver. Finally, other drivers who operate their vehicles carelessly when buses are on the roads are also to blame for bus crashes. Dangerous behaviors, like tailgating or cutting in front of a bus, are top causes of collisions.
Negligence and Liability
In order to determine who might be liable for the injuries suffered by your child following a bus accident, you must first determine which party was negligent, or failed to act with a reasonable duty of care.
If the bus driver was negligent, and their negligence was the cause of the bus collision, the school district for which the driver is employed may be held liable under the theory of vicarious liability. Essentially, this theory holds that employers are liable for the actions of their employees when the employees are acting within the scope of their employment.
The school district may also be held liable if the school district's failure to properly train a driver, conduct thorough driver background checks, or inspect and service a school bus was the cause of the accident.
If the driver of the other vehicle involved, or another third party (such as a vehicle manufacturer) was to blame for the crash, a claim for damages can be filed directly against either of these parties.
Our Denver School Bus Accident Attorneys Can Help
At the law offices of Anderson Hemmat, our Colorado school bus accident attorneys know that there is nothing more terrible than getting a call telling you that your child has been injured in a school bus accident. Following a crash, our lawyers are available to advocate for you. Call us today for a free case consultation at (303) 782-9999 or send us a message today.