School Bus Accidents
School buses transport more than one million students to and from 9,000 schools every day in Texas. Although school buses are generally very safe, mistakes made by motorists, the bus driver and the school district can result in a serious crash that injures your child.
Fort Worth automobile injury attorney Bill Berenson understands the difficulties your child faces after an accident and can help guide you through the process of recovery. Our firm has substantial experience representing minors in injury claims, a process that is very different than representing injured adults. We also have experience negotiating settlements with school districts, their vendors and their insurance companies which may be necessary in a school bus accident case.Accidents Involving Motorists
Texas law prohibits motorists from passing a school bus whose stop sign is extended and lights are flashing. The no passing law applies to motorists heading in the same direction as the bus or in the opposite direction if separated by only a centerline or a left turn lane. The law does not apply to motorists travelling in the opposite direction in a lane separated by a median strip.
Violating this law can result in a $1,250 ticket, a hefty fine that is imposed for good reason. School buses are big boxes that may block the motorist’s view of the children getting on and off. Commonly, children dart across the street to catch the bus or in their excitement to get home. This creates an extremely dangerous risk of being hit by a passing motorist.
During the school year, motorists should also use heightened caution when driving in residential neighborhoods and past bus stops. Kids may run into the road while trying to catch the bus or waiting at the bus stop.Accidents While Kids are on the Bus
School buses are generally one of the safest means of getting children to and from school. However, accidents do commonly occur and can be serious. Collisions with motorists tend to result in injuries to multiple children. Potential risks to children on school buses include:
- Being hit by a bus while bending down out of view of the driver
- Poorly vetted and undertrained bus drivers
- Bus drivers who text, speed or run red lights
- Colliding with a careless motorist
- Falling when the bus driver brakes suddenly
Most buses do not come equipped with seat belts, which leaves children even more vulnerable if the bus driver loses control or collides with another vehicle. This dangerous situation will slowly change with passage of a seat belt law in September 2017.
Buses purchased by the Texas school districts after 2018 must contain three-point seat belts under the Ashley and Alicia’s Law, named after two Texas students who died when their bus overturned. The Texas legislature passed the law after another tragic accident in which a Texas school bus plunged from an overpass and killed two students. None of the students were wearing seat belts. Must of the school district’s current fleet do not have seat belts and are exempt from the requirement, but as the schools acquire new buses, this danger will be eliminated.Who is Liable for School Bus Accidents?
Multiple people, companies and agencies may be responsible for your child’s school bus accident. For example, our accident lawyer may pursue these potential defendants:
- Motorist. We investigate whether the motorist who ran into your child or hit the bus was speeding, texting or passing illegally at the time.
- Bus driver. The Dallas County School District fired about 10 percent of its bus drivers for running red lights and racking up hundreds of other traffic violations in 2016. These drivers had no business transporting children and would be liable for accidents they caused.
- Driver’s employer. The employer of a driver who causes an accident may be held liable for the driver’s negligence.
- Your child’s school district. It is responsible for hiring, training and supervising its drivers and taking corrective action when problems occur.
An accident can have devastating consequences on your child. Schedule a free consultation to learn how our Dallas school bus crash attorney at Berenson Injury Law can help your child recover.