Who Is Liable For School Bus Accidents?


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School bus accidents don’t happen often in Pennsylvania, but when they do, they can devastate entire communities. In the aftermath of such accidents, especially when children are injured or killed, questions of responsibility and fairness frequently arise.

If your child has suffered harm in a school bus accident, we understand that no action can erase the pain. However, the attorneys at Ross Feller Casey will support you and your family in pursuing justice. We can help you hold the responsible parties accountable for the accident, whether it’s the school bus driver or others whose negligence contributed to the tragedy.

Pennsylvania School Bus Accident Statistics

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reports that in 2022, nearly 1.5 million children were transported to and from school by Pennsylvania school buses. That equates to over 30,000 registered school buses driven by over 42,700 licensed drivers. Fortunately, there are relatively few school bus collisions compared with other motor vehicle accidents. However, when they do occur, the injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal for passengers and drivers of the school buses and other vehicles or pedestrians involved.

What Are The Most Common Causes Of School Bus Accidents?

Due to their height and high center of gravity, school buses are particularly prone to rolling over in high-speed accidents, leading to severe injuries and even fatalities. For this reason, it is crucial to have thorough training for bus drivers and to get their commitment to safe driving practices.

Regrettably, some drivers neglect these responsibilities, contributing to school bus accidents through various forms of negligence. Distracted driving, fatigue, speeding, and reckless behavior are common culprits. Failure to adhere to road signs, driving under the influence, and ignoring weather conditions further heightens the risk.

Mechanical issues can also play a role, including brake or steering failures, tire blowouts from inadequate maintenance, or defects in parts or design. Each of these factors underscores the need for vigilant attention to safety protocols to prevent devastating bus accidents.

What Types Of Injuries Result From School Bus Accidents?

When a school bus is involved in an accident, the consequences for passengers can be severe. They may be violently thrown within the bus, colliding with surfaces or each other, resulting in serious injuries. In cities, collisions with bicyclists and pedestrians often prove fatal. The injuries sustained in school bus accidents can be extensive and life-threatening. Some of the most common injuries that occur in school bus accidents include:

  • Facial lacerations
  • Burns, scarring, or disfigurement
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Paralysis
  • Amputation
  • Emotional and psychological trauma

Recovery from these injuries often demands extensive medical care, rehabilitation, and enduring physical and emotional pain. No child should have to go through that, which is why Ross Feller Casey is committed to helping those families affected by serious school bus accident injuries.

Who Can Be Held Responsible For School Bus Accidents?

Many school bus accident cases involve complicated personal injury claims. It may be difficult to determine where responsibility lies because various parties could be fully or partly responsible for a school bus accident. Those parties include:

  • Drivers: School bus drivers who disregard traffic laws, drive recklessly, operate under the influence, drive while distracted, or engage in negligent driving may be liable.
  • School districts: In areas where school districts own their buses, the district itself might be held accountable. This could result from poor hiring or training practices or failure to maintain buses adequately.
  • Bus companies: When a separate bus company owns the buses, they could be at risk for legal liability due to inadequate hiring, training, or maintenance practices or if their employee, the bus driver, is negligent.
  • Bus parts manufacturer: Defective buses or parts might lead to mechanical failures, causing accidents. Parties involved in the bus’s distribution chain could be liable under Pennsylvania law.
  • State of Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania mandates yearly inspections of school buses by the State Police. The state may be liable if an inspector overlooks an issue leading to an accident.
  • Other motorists: Drivers have a duty to obey school bus signs and exercise caution around buses and in school zones. Negligent drivers who disregard traffic laws put everyone around them at risk for severe accidents.

Choose Ross Feller Casey For Pennsylvania School Bus Accident Claims

Ross Feller Casey’s Philadelphia attorneys specialize in school bus accidents, meticulously assessing each case to identify liable parties like school boards or the State of Pennsylvania. If you or your child suffered serious injuries, we manage your case, allowing you to focus on recovery. Our seasoned lawyers handle every aspect, from investigation to negotiation and litigation, ensuring you receive rightful compensation.

The Philadelphia school bus accident attorneys at Ross Feller Casey will review the details surrounding school bus accidents and help determine who is liable. These are often complicated cases that experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers should handle.

If you live in Pennsylvania, contact an attorney at Ross Feller Casey to discuss your case. Your family deserves full and fair compensation for the losses you incurred due to another party’s actions. Your initial consultation is free, and you won’t pay for our services until we win your case.

About the Author

J.P. Faunes joined Ross Feller Casey in 2023 and represents clients who suffered severe injuries due to medical malpractice, defective products, and dangerous construction operations.

J.P. Faunes

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.