Chicago School Bus Accident Lawyer
School buses transport an estimated 26 million children back and forth to their classrooms every day, proving to be one of--if not the safest option for many young students.
Even though a child is more likely to be injured riding in a passenger car versus a school bus, there are still incidences when bus drivers are negligent in providing safe transportation for their precious cargo.
The Chicago personal injury 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 firms at (888) 424-5757 for a free legal consultation.
Our Chicago bus accident lawyers can also provide legal advice on handling your medical bills through a free case evaluation.
Bus Driver Negligence Resulting in Injuries to Students
Most people would agree that school bus drivers have a tough job. They must ensure that their young riders get on and off the bus safely.
Every bus driver owes a duty of care to each passenger, including employing safe driving practices. When they breach this duty, and an accident occurs, they may be held liable for the injuries and fatalities they have caused.
Though the bus companies owe it to the public to ensure safety, many bus drivers in the United States receive inadequate training regarding safety procedures and the intricacies of operating a bus.
The National Transportation Safety Board 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
Causes of School Bus Accidents
School bus accidents can result from the negligence of another motorist or the driver. Below are the most common factors that lead to school bus accidents:
Bus drivers are not always to blame for accidents involving school buses. In some cases, it is the fault of another motorist who fails to exercise extreme caution when driving near a school bus.
Traffic laws make it illegal to pass a school bus while dropping off or picking up passengers, regardless of the direction of the approach.
Anyone driving near a school bus must stop until the bus finishes loading or unloading students. In some accidents, irresponsible drivers ignore this law and effectively put children in harm’s way.
Collisions can be catastrophic, especially because most school buses don’t have seat belts. Children are often in danger when getting safely on and off the bus.
Many cases stem from a child getting injured on or off a bus. Such an accident typically occurs because of inattentive school bus drivers.
Lack of Training and Experience
An inexperienced driver may lack the expertise to handle a school bus safely and react to hazardous situations appropriately. Bus drivers who lack training put passengers at risk when driving, requiring utmost mitigation from school bus companies.
Some accidents result from conditions out of a driver’s control. Examples include inclement weather, poor-quality roads, and unexpected hazards such as large potholes and loose construction equipment.
Nevertheless, bus drivers must follow school bus safety standards, wear seat belts, and exercise extreme caution to mitigate the risk while driving in unfavorable conditions.
Fatal School Bus Accident Case Statistics
Of the children fatally injured in a school bus crash between 2014-2020, most were either on foot or on a bicycle:
- 73% of the children killed were struck by the bus
- 34% of those fatally injured victims 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
- More than half of the school-bus-related pedestrian fatalities involve children between 5 and 7 years old
- In addition to the fatalities, many bus accidents occur when a young victim falls when loading and unloading onto the bus.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 8,500 and 12,000 children suffer injuries in bus collisions when riding to and from home each year.
This statistic is significantly high compared to car accident victims severely injured on other modes of transportation, including charter buses, CTA buses, tour buses, or other public transportation systems.
Common School Bus Accident Injuries
Victims endure almost all kinds of injuries in a school bus accident, ranging from mild sprains to full-blown fractures and sometimes even injuries that result in life-long disabilities.Common accident injuries include:
Sprains are common in incidents where a child falls while getting off or on the bus. This injury can also occur if a bus starts moving before a child reaches their seat.
Children can also sustain fractures while getting on and off a bus, but collisions are more common (either with another motor vehicle or a stationary object). Fractures can range from mild to severe, with more severe cases leading to life-long consequences.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury is one of the worst injuries a child can sustain in a school bus crash. Injuring the spine can lead to debilitating effects, such as loss of function, mobility, and even permanent disability.
Severe trauma to the head can be life-threatening and significantly debilitating. When a child suffers a severe injury to the head, it can result in chronic pain, dizziness, sleeping problems, and headaches.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Any party injured by the school bus driver's negligence can file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation. The school bus driver is responsible for ensuring everyone’s safety on the bus and sharing the roadway and sidewalks.
If your child has been a victim of a negligent bus driver or bus operator, here are the documents needed to prove negligence for your Chicago school bus accident claim or personal injury lawsuit:
- Medical records: Ensure that your child undergoes a thorough medical examination at the hospital. Aside from detecting injuries early on, getting a check-up immediately after an accident secures medical records that can help your personal injury case.
- Police reports: Parents typically don’t reach the accident scene before their children are rushed to the hospital. Thus, you must rely on statements made by the police officers on the scene to build your school bus accident case.
- Proof of physical pain and suffering: To recover compensation for your child’s pain and suffering, your personal injury lawyer can use documents, including psychiatric evaluations and pictures of injuries.
The consequences of a bus accident go beyond physical pain and mental trauma.The legal process in filing lawsuits typically involves multiple claimable damages, including:
- Medical bills: The responsible party at fault for your child’s personal injuries, including the driver and bus company, may be held accountable for paying for your child’s medical treatment, including surgeries, therapy, medication, and anticipated costs for future treatments.
- Lost wages: If you missed work while taking care of your child, you might also be able to recover financial compensation for lost income, including wages, commissions, and bonuses.
- Pain and suffering: You also have the right to recover compensation for your child’s pain and suffering, whether physical, emotional, or mental.
- Wrongful death: If your child suffered fatal injuries in the accident, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit against every party held responsible. You may also sue for your child's pain and suffering they experienced before passing away.
Has your child suffered a severe injury, or did they die in a school bus accident?Avoid the following that could negatively affect our school bus accident injury claim or lawsuit:
- Do not sign any settlement form with the insurance company without consulting your Chicago school bus accident lawyer.
- Our school bus accident lawyers are well-versed in dealing with these cases, determining liability to hold multiple parties accountable, including the driver, school bus company, bus manufacturer, and other liable parties.
- Document your child’s injury thoroughly.
- Take your child to the doctor, even if they show no signs of serious injury. Serious injuries like whiplash and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can take days or even weeks to appear.
No child should ever be harmed through negligence from a bus company or driver.
What Happens When School Buses 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 the driver liable and the school accountable for compensation.
However, obtaining compensation from any government entity, including the educational district, might be challenging, requiring the skills of competent Chicago personal injury attorneys specializing in complicated personal injury cases.
How Many People Have Died in School Bus Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about two hundred people die yearly in school bus accidents.
However, only a small number of these fatalities involved passengers riding on the bus. Many school bus accidents involve victims injured or killed while outside the bus.
Hiring Chicago School Bus Accident Lawyers
Was your child injured in a school bus accident? Contact our Chicago bus accident attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC. We handle sensitive cases that involve child injuries involving large vehicles and common carriers.
Your Chicago bus accident lawyer will work with you to gather evidence for the best possible monetary outcome against all liable parties on a contingency fee basis.
Meet with our law firm to discuss your child's injuries or preventable death.
Call our Chicago bus accident attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) today or through the contact form for a free consultation. All discussions with your Chicago school bus accident lawyer remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.