School Buses are Back in Action
With summer almost officially over, this not only means a change in foliage and arrival of cooler temperatures, but it also signals the return of kids back to school. The roads become more congested and more accidents occur. We do not usually think about school buses when it comes to car accidents. After all, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has labeled them the safest vehicles on the road.
However, last year some 148 accidents involving school buses were reported in Arizona. Those accidents resulted in nearly 40 serious injuries and four deaths. The cost of a school bus injury can be staggering, especially when it comes to children suffering injuries. It can also be difficult to prove who is at fault for the accident.
School District Negligence
Not all, but many school buses are owned and operated by the school district. This means that the district is legally obligated to ensure that their buses are safe for transportation, are operated only by qualified drivers, and receive routine maintenance based on state guidelines and standards. When an accident involving a school bus occurs, the blame is often directed at the school district first. Even if the bus driver acted negligently or their poor driving resulted in the accident, the district may be the party responsible for the accident. This is because, in some situations, employers are responsible for the actions of their employees.
Negligence of a Private Bus Company
In some situations, the school district may hire a private bus company to bus the kids to and from school. This may mean that the district is not responsible for accidents that occur. Instead, it could be the private company based on the level of involvement the school has with the company. For example, if the school is required to audit or monitor the private company, the school district may still assume part of the liability.
Some accidents may be due to technical defects of the bus. If a mechanical malfunction that was outside of the driver or school district’s control caused the accident, the blame may be placed on the bus manufacturer due to product liability laws. These laws hold manufacturers liable for releasing products that are defective into the market.
Negligence of Other Drivers
In many situations, it is neither the fault of the bus driver, school district, or manufacturer. Instead, the injuries and damages are due to another driver’s negligence. Whether the other driver was speeding, tailgating, texting, and driving, or disobeying traffic laws, if they caused the accident, they may be held responsible for the injuries and damages that they caused.
Contact an Experienced Arizona Car Accident Attorney Today
If you or your child has been injured in a school bus accident, it is important that you seek legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected and you get the compensation for your injuries that you deserve. Contact Wattel & York, Attorneys at Law today to schedule a consultation.