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Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

School Bus and NJ Transit Bus Collide, Sending Several to the Hospital

Who is liable for school bus accidents?

Two buses recently collided on Route 18, injuring several children and adults.  A New Jersey Transit bus was stopped in the southbound right lane, when a school bus changing lanes suddenly rear-ended it.  The accident happened shortly after 9 a.m.  Police report that 15 children were transported to the hospital for evaluation, including one four-year-old with a broken leg.  Several adults riding the NJ Transit bus also required emergency care.  The school has yet to comment on the accident.

School Bus Accident Liability

Every day, we place our children on school buses expecting them to be safely transported to school.  School bus accidents are rare, but when they do occur, the results can be catastrophic.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over a 10 year period, nearly 1,400 people were killed in school bus related accidents, including 327 school-age children.  

After an accident happens with a school bus, it can be difficult to determine who is liable.  School districts that elect to transport students to and from school must accept the risks that come with it.  However, liability is complex when transportation is contracted out to a private bus company.  

Following any school bus accident, it is first critical that the accident be evaluated for findings of fault.  There are numerous potential causes of school bus accidents, including bus driver negligence and inadequate maintenance.  If it is determined that the school or bus driver negligently caused the accident, issues of liability will then turn to municipal liability questions and bus company contracts.  

In some cases, lawsuits against a school district may be barred by sovereign or government immunity.  Your personal injury lawyer will need to closely review the facts of the case and the parties involved to assess any potential immunity problems.  Further, it must be determined whether the school district or their agent is liable for the crash.  When a school district contracts with a private bus company, their specific contract will become important to review.  Due to the complexities involved in any school bus accident, injured accident victims or the parents of a child injured on a bus should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.  

 


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