Who Can You Sue for a School Bus Accident?

crashed bus - who can you sue for a school bus accident

Did you or someone close to you get hurt in a school bus accident in New York? These incidents are rare, but they can have devastating consequences when they happen. Many school bus accident victims grapple with severe injuries, mounting medical bills, and other losses that turn their lives upside down. 

If the accident that hurt you resulted from someone else’s wrongdoing, you could be entitled to significant compensation for your losses. At Finz & Finz, P.C., our New York school bus accident lawyers provide exceptional legal representation and demand meaningful case results for each one of our clients. When you come to us for help, we’ll identify every potential avenue for compensation and aggressively pursue the maximum recovery you deserve.

Who Could Be Liable for a School Bus Accident in New York?

From the bus driver to government entities, several parties could share responsibility for a school bus accident. Understanding who the following parties are and how they could be held liable is essential for families seeking justice and compensation for their losses:

  • Bus Companies: An external, private company could also be liable if it was responsible for operating the school bus. Some bus companies are liable for issues like poor bus maintenance of the bus, inadequate training of their drivers, or other operational shortcomings.
  • Bus Drivers: In some cases, liability rests with the driver who was operating the school bus at the time of the accident. For example, they could be liable if they behaved negligently or recklessly while driving, such as by speeding, driving under the influence, or failing to obey traffic signals.
  • Government Entities: You could hold a city, county, or state entity liable if it failed to ensure safe road infrastructure and maintenance. For example, a government employee or agency could be liable if a lack of road maintenance or missing traffic signals contributed to the accident.
  • Maintenance Companies: The maintenance company is responsible for the upkeep and safety checks on the bus. They could be liable if they negligently maintain the bus, for example, by failing to replace worn-out brakes or not conducting safety inspections.
  • Manufacturers: Companies that make school buses or any of their constituent parts could share fault if a mechanical defect or design flaw contributes to the accident. 
  • Other Motorists: Drivers of other vehicles on the road at the time of the accident could also be liable if they contributed to the collision. For instance, another motorist could be responsible if they cut too closely in front of the bus in traffic or crashed into the bus while driving distracted.
  • Parents and Guardians: In rare cases, parents or guardians of the children riding the bus could be at fault. This could occur if a child’s behavior directly contributes to the accident, such as if the child distracts the driver or causes damage that leads to a crash.
  • School Districts: The school district is the educational authority that oversees public schools and school transportation in a particular area. A district could be liable if it failed in its duties, such as by not properly vetting bus drivers, maintaining buses, or enforcing safety procedures.

Common School Bus Accident Injuries

School buses are generally a safe means of transportation, but accidents do happen, and the resulting injuries can be diverse and severe. Common examples include:

  • Abdominal injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Concussions
  • Contusions (bruises)
  • Crush injuries
  • Dental injuries
  • Dislocations
  • Eye injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Hearing loss
  • Internal bleeding
  • Lacerations
  • Nerve damage
  • Psychological trauma
  • Road rash
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Sprains and strains
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Whiplash

How Do You Prove Liability in a School Bus Accident Case?

Establishing fault in a school bus accident injury case is a meticulous process that demands a comprehensive investigation to gather compelling evidence. A skilled lawyer can unearth the following types of evidence to identify who is responsible and fortify your claim for compensation:

  • Driver’s Logs and Records: Records of the bus driver’s employment history, training, and past infractions or complaints can indicate whether they were qualified to operate the bus.
  • Expert Testimony: In some cases, your lawyer might enlist experts like accident reconstruction specialists or master mechanics to provide in-depth analyses that support your claim.
  • Photographic Evidence: Photos of the accident scene, the damage to the vehicles, and any visible injuries can offer visual proof that complements other types of evidence.
  • Police Reports: A police crash report provides an official account of the accident, including initial assessments of who might be at fault. This is an essential document in many accident cases.
  • Road Condition and Traffic Reports: Gathering information on the state of the road, weather conditions, and traffic at the time of the crash can support a case against negligent parties.
  • Vehicle Inspection Reports: A thorough examination of the bus, including maintenance logs, can reveal mechanical issues or lack of proper upkeep that might have contributed to the accident.
  • Video Footage: Cameras from traffic intersections, onboard bus cameras, or even bystanders’ cell phones can offer a real-time view of the accident and establish who was at fault.
  • Witness Statements: Eyewitness accounts can provide key details about the accident, such as the other driver’s behavior, the road conditions, and other potential contributing factors.

How a Top-Rated School Bus Accident Lawyer Can Maximize Your Recovery

Dealing with the repercussions of a school bus accident can be a daunting task that demands both immediate attention and long-term planning. A school bus accident injury lawyer in New York can simplify this complex process by:

  • Thoroughly and independently investigating the circumstances of the school bus accident
  • Reviewing internal documents from the school or bus company to identify potential liability
  • Obtaining and analyzing police reports related to the accident
  • Interviewing eyewitnesses and working with credible experts to build a stronger case
  • Evaluating medical records to establish the correlation between the accident and your injuries
  • Negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf to secure fair compensation
  • Initiating legal action if out-of-court settlements are unsuccessful
  • Preparing and filing all necessary legal documents, including complaints, motions, and briefs

Talk to a New York School Bus Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a family member has been affected by a school bus accident, you’re not alone. Reach out to Finz & Finz, P.C. now for a free case review. Let’s explore your legal options and pursue the compensation you deserve together.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.