Chicago School Bus Accident Lawyer
School buses transport an estimated 26 million children back and forth to school every day. There are nearly half a million bright yellow or orange buses throughout the U.S. In most cases, the buses provide the safest option for children to travel to school.
However, even though a child is more likely to be injured riding in a passenger vehicle versus a school bus, there are still incidences when bus drivers are negligent in their duty to provide safe transportation for their precious cargo.
The Illinois bus accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC regularly represent families in bus accident cases where children suffered injuries in Chicago school bus crashes.
If you have questions about the legal rights related to your child's severe injuries under Illinois law, our law firm invites you to contact our law office for a free case review. Your personal injury lawyer can provide legal advice on how to handle your medical bills through a free case evaluation.
Our Chicago, IL bus accident lawyers currently represent clients throughout the United States, Illinois, and the Chicago area, including Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Aurora, Chicago, Elgin, LaSalle, Naperville, and Schaumburg. Many of our cases involve Greyhound, charter buses, Mega buses, school buses, and tour buses.
Bus Driver Negligence Resulting in Injuries to Students
Most people would agree that school bus drivers have a tough job. They must be vigilant in ensuring that their young riders get on and off the bus safely. Every motorist is responsible for controlling the passengers while driving the students back and forth from home.
To ensure safety, bus drivers in the United States receive training in student management, safety procedures, and the intricacies of operating a bus.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cites the top four reasons for bus accidents where only one vehicle was involved in a single-vehicle fatality crash as:
- Striking a fixed object
- A person falling from the vehicle
- Vehicle overturning
- Bus hitting a train or other non-fixed object
Loading and Unloading Children from the Bus
Being injured in a bus crash involving other vehicles or stationary objects may be catastrophic. However, one of the more significant dangers to children on the bus is not the ride itself but getting safely on and off the bus.
Many school districts will hire third-party bus companies to transport the children to and from school, on field trips, and in sports activities away from the campus. Each outside bus company must carry additional liability insurance, based on the State's minimum liability requirements.
Sufficient insurance will make sure that victims are covered should they be seriously injured in a bus crash.
Fatal Accident Case Statistics
Of the children fatally injured in a school bus crash between 2010-2016, most were either on foot or a bicycle when struck by the bus or another vehicle.
- 73% of the children killed were struck by the bus,
- 34% of those fatally injured were hit by a bus going straight at the posted speed limit,
- 22% were killed when the bus was leaving a parking space or in a lane of traffic,
- 15% of the young victims were killed when the bus made a turn.
In addition to the fatalities, there are many injuries to young victims who fall or have other accidents when loading and unloading onto the bus.
The NHSTA estimates that between 8,500 and 12,000 children suffer serious injuries each year in bus collisions when riding from and to home.
This statistic is significantly high, compared to victims seriously injured on other modes of transportation including on a charter bus, CTA buses, or other public transit systems.
Riding a School Bus in the Time of Covid-19
Since the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) became a worldwide pandemic, public transportation, including local CTA bus lines, has been in free fall. Ridership has been hit hard on public vehicles, common carrier tour motor coaches, school buses, airplanes, and travel by rail.
Many cities, including those in the Chicago area, have taken a hard look at how the public is exposed to life-threatening infections. The rise in cases involving sickness and death has fallen squarely on the educational system and private bus companies, and regional bus systems, including the Chicago Transit Authority.
Many communities in Cook, DuPage, Will, and Lake Counties, along with Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, and the Chicago area, operate a heavily localized network of motor coaches and rail cars. Most essential workers from low-income areas do not have a motor vehicle for transport to and from work. Even with the threat of sickness from Covid-19 (coronavirus disease), these workers have no other choice than to use mass transit buses, including CTA buses.
Sadly, riding shoulder to shoulder with others on large vehicles places everyone at risk of injuries, including the bus driver. Many communities have chosen not to allow children to return to their classrooms because of their exposure to riding school buses.
Who's Responsible for Injuries to a Child in a Chicago School Bus Accident?
In most negligence cases in a school bus accident, the operator and the school district are both legally liable parties. The school district ensures both the buses and their drivers cover accidents. However, if the cause of the crash is found to be negligence, a school bus accident lawsuit may be necessary to settle a financial compensation claim.
No child should ever be harmed through negligence on the part of a Chicago school bus driver. Parents expect that when they entrust their child’s safety to a school district employee, the operator and their bus company will do everything possible to keep the children safe.
School Bus Accident FAQs
Our Chicago school accident lawyers know that many families have unanswered questions on filing and resolving a personal injury claim for accidents involving injuries and wrongful death. Our legal team has answered some of those questions below.
Call a Chicago school bus accident lawyer at (888) 424-5757 today to schedule a free consultation for additional answers about bus accidents and liability. We are here to help.
What Happens If a School Bus Gets in a Crash?
Typically, the city, county, or educational district owns and operates its busing system, picking up elementary, middle, and senior high school students. These school buses are often used for off-campus activities, transporting students to sporting events and field trip locations.
Individuals suffering harm or property damage by a negligent school bus driver may file a claim against the school district, holding them accountable for compensation.
However, obtaining compensation from any government entity, including the educational district, might be challenging, requiring the skills of a competent personal injury lawyer who specializes in complicated personal injury cases.
Can You Sue for a School Bus Accident?
Any party injured by the school bus driver’s negligence can file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation. The driver is responsible for ensuring everyone’s safety on the bus and sharing the roadway and sidewalks.
Responsibility for causing the accident may extend to the administration or a third-party that hired, trained, and supervised the driver responsible for the crash.
What Are the Most Common Types of School Bus Accidents?
The most common types of bus accidents involve colliding with other vehicles. Nearly all related fatalities involve drivers and passengers’ death and other vehicles not riding on the bus.
A small portion of these accidents involved pedestrians for the negligent driver hit, knocked down, or bumped the pedestrian in the street or parking lot.
How Many People Have Died in School Bus Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about two hundred people die every year in school bus accidents. However, only a small number of these fatalities involved passengers riding on the bus.
What Causes School Bus Accidents?
Why Are There No Seat Belts on a School Bus?
Regulations maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that bus passengers are protected through compartmentalization and do not need to wear a seat belt. The Illinois Department of Transportation also follows this concept.
The school bus’s weight and size can distribute a collision’s impact force, making it safer for passengers than those driving a light truck or car.
Hiring Chicago School Bus Accident Lawyers
Were you injured in a school bus accident or did you lose a loved one from a preventable death? If so, a Chicago bus accident attorney from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is experienced in handling sensitive cases that involve child injuries.
Your Chicago bus accident lawyer will work with you to get the best possible monetary outcome in your case. Meet with our injury attorneys to discuss your child's school bus accident.
Our bus accident attorneys can help you obtain compensation from the government entity's insurance company to cover your medical expenses, time off from work, pain, and suffering. Jonathan Rosenfeld provides an initial free case consultation.
Contact our Chicago bus accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) today or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All discussions with your bus accident lawyer remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Our Chicago personal injury accident attorneys provide legal representation in various practice areas, including medical malpractice, car accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, premises liability, defective products, product liability, and wrongful death. Contact or call us now for a free case review.
- Illinois Department of Transportation – School Bus Inspections
- US Department of Transportation – School Bus Safety