Who Can Be Liable When a Child is Hurt on a School Bus?

damaged school busAfter placing a child on the school bus, no parent expects to receive a call later in the day saying that their child has been injured in a school bus accident. However, these type of collisions happen more often than they should.

At Roden Law, we are dedicated to helping parents pursue the compensation they need for medical expenses and other damages. We offer a free, no-obligation legal consultation to discuss the specifics of your potential claim and answer your questions.

If we find that you may have a case, you can hire our services with no output of money. We do not collect our fees unless we recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf.

Possible Liable Parties

School bus accidents may involve multiple liable parties, although in many incidents, the driver is likely at fault. Other parties who could share liability could include:

  • Other drivers who may have caused the crash
  • The school district
  • The bus company
  • The bus manufacturer
  • The company responsible for repairing and maintaining the bus

Can I Sue the School?

If your child was injured in a Georgia school bus accident, you may wonder whether you can sue the school. However, Georgia law provides sovereign immunity to government entities to help prevent frivolous lawsuits. Since school districts are considered a branch of the government, you may not sue them or their employees without first obtaining the state’s permission.

However, there are certain exceptions to this law in which the government may decide to waive sovereign immunity and permit a plaintiff to pursue a lawsuit. Typically, this is only in circumstances involving extreme, or gross, negligence, such as if:

  • School personnel purposely harmed a child
  • Any school employee committed acts of sexual misconduct or discrimination against a child
  • School staff permitted bullying of a child 
  • Your child was injured on a school bus (in Georgia, government vehicles, including school buses, are not protected by sovereign immunity).

If you are considering a lawsuit, we strongly recommend seeking legal help from one of our qualified Savannah car accident attorneys without delay.

Claims Against Private Schools

The laws are different for schools that operate as a not-for-profit or denominational (religious) school.

If your child is a student at a private school and was injured as a passenger on a school bus provided by the school, then you will likely be able to sue. However, if the private school receives federal funding of any kind, whether or not you can sue will depend on the circumstances and whether sovereign immunity applies in that situation.

If your child has been injured in a school bus accident and he or she attends a private school, you have the following options:

  • File a claim for personal injury with the private school’s insurance company
  • File a lawsuit claiming negligence
  • Sue the school for breach of contract
  • Pursue a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance

It is important to remember that whether you intend on pursuing a lawsuit against a public or private school for the injuries your child sustained, certain deadlines apply. These deadlines, or statute of limitations, require you to file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident, or one year, if you are attempting to file against a government agency.

What Causes School Bus Accidents?

School bus accidents are most often caused by the following:

  • An impaired or distracted bus driver
  • A bus with defective parts
  • Improper maintenance or repair of the bus
  • A driver who fails to yield right-of-way to a bus
  • A bus driver who violates traffic laws, such as speeding
  • Inadequate school bus driver credentials or insufficient training

The majority of causes of school bus accidents are directly related to negligence either on the part of the school bus driver, another driver, or the bus maintenance company. When buses are not maintained or equipped with the latest safety technology it can easily lead to accidents that can cause severe injuries and even death.

Contact Our Law Firm Today

School bus accident lawsuits are complicated in Georgia, and it can strongly benefit your claim to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side.

At Roden Law, we have extensive knowledge of the state laws that may apply to your school bus accident claim, and we are dedicated to helping our clients seek maximum compensation for their child’s injuries and other damages.

We offer a free initial car accident consultation to determine whether you may be able to file a claim for your child’s injuries. Since we accept car accident lawsuits on contingency, there are no upfront costs for you. We do not collect our fees unless we are successful in obtaining compensation on your behalf.