In the United States of America, there are more than 400,000 public school buses, which travel around 4.5 billion miles every year to take about 24 million kids to and from their schools, and related activity places. While this is one of the country’s safest transportation forms, it comes with its own set of dangers. As per the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), school buses average around 26,000 crashes annually, resulting in ten demises over the past eleven years. Among the accident victims, seventy-five percent were passengers and twenty-five percent were drivers, with frontal collisions accounting for a couple of passenger deaths every year.
Getting the news that your kids were injured in a school bus accident could be terrifying. Of course, it is of utmost importance to get the injured ones the required medical help. However, it is also important to seek the help of a school bus accident lawyer to represent the case on your behalf and sue the guilty party for the damages. The more these accidents get to the limelight, the more they get discussed in the public, and the better it becomes for the generations to come, as they know someone has set the example in the past by taking the right call. Below are some factors that you need to consider when hiring a bus accident attorney in California.
Check whether the school bus driver was liable for the accident. Several things can cause bus accidents, including driver’s fatigue, negligence, and intoxication. At times, the driver is fully liable for them, whereas at other times, it is shared with other vehicles’ drivers or even pedestrians who could have made the driver brake quickly as he or she stepped out to the roadway. Identifying all liable parties properly is essential before setting out to file a school bus injury lawsuit.
The bus company owner may also be held liable, in addition to its driver, for the accident. There are several considerations for you to look at, like unsafe hiring practices, poor vehicle maintenance, or inadequate driver training. Essentially, if the responsibility of the bus company is questioned, then you have to think about naming them in your injury lawsuit. Keep in mind that oftentimes, the school may be using a third-party contractor for its bus service. So the bus contractors are usually the ones who are targeted in a suit.
You could sue not just the bus system’s operator but also the school district. For example, when there is enough evidence it was clearly negligent in signing the contract with an operator who has serious vehicle safety and driver issues that mar their record, then a competent and experienced school bus accident lawyer might be able to establish that this negligence caused the accident. It is seen that some people involve the schools in their cases. However, if you go down this route, it may invite undue complications into the case.
The Time Limit within Which you Have to File the Lawsuit
In the California state, two years is the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit. Generally, it has to be filed within two years after the date of the injury. You have to ensure you take the legal action against the defendant party within that timeframe; some situations from a legal standpoint still demand you should act quickly. If, for instance, you are filing a claim involving a big public entity like the LA Unified School District, then you just have between six months to a year to file the lawsuit.
In any event, do not let the two-year deadline pass because that could mean you drop your right to sue, except as otherwise provided by statute. The US state has identified some exceptional situations where the stipulated 24-month time limit to file the lawsuit might be extended. So understand your options fully, as that will help you determine whether you require a school bus accident lawyer to represent you in the court.
Such kind of an accident oftentimes involves a corporate insurance company’s attorney who will try their best to make sure you settle for an amount that is less than what you deserve. That is why you have to do some research to make sure your lawyer is proficient to go toe to toe with such ruthless insurance firms. So research the portfolio of various attorneys, and ensure you consider only accident attorneys who have skillfully dealt with such types of cases in the past.
The laws concerning school bus accident tend to change from time to time as fresh procedures are put into practice and new cases are decided. Look for a lawyer who represents the accident victims on a regular basis, since you can rest assured that they would have up-to-date knowledge about the laws.