Since the recent Chattanooga school bus tragedy, the safety of our children has become a hot topic of conversation across the country. Every day, parents entrust their children’s health and well-being to virtual strangers. Because these strangers are school teachers, day care workers and bus drivers employed by the entities like school districts, there is a certain amount of inherent trust.
People holding these types of jobs have theoretically gone through extensive background checks, criminal records checks and checks on their driving history. While this all might be true, this is no guarantee that these individuals are trustworthy and capable of caring for our children.
In addition, there are no assurances that genuine accidents are not going to occur when your children are away from home. That is especially true out on the roads, where any number of factors can play a part in jeopardizing our children’s safety.
It is a parent’s worst nightmare that something could happen to their children while the parent is not around to protect them.
So what do you do when just such a thing happens? Your child is injured, or worse is killed, as a result of a motor vehicle accident while traveling on the school bus.
Though money is the furthest thing from a parent’s mind when their child is injured or worse, often it becomes necessary to file suit against the responsible parties to pay for medical bills, follow-up care, long term rehab costs and counseling. If the child is killed as a result of the accident, there are funeral costs to consider and a monetary penalty against the guilty party is sometimes the only way to punish the offender.
It is your right under the law to seek and receive compensation for injuries and suffering that occur as the result of any accident.
FREQUENCY OF SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENTS IN MINNEAPOLIS
Though school bus accidents do happen, fatal accidents involving school buses are very rare. In Minneapolis, there were only two fatalities of individuals who were passengers or drivers of a school bus between 2005 and 2014. One was in Washington County and the other in Lyon County. And just this past October, there was a fatal accident involving a school bus in Kanabec County, where the driver of a van was killed when his vehicle struck the school bus. Several children were injured as a result of the accident.
Traveling on a school bus is still one of the safest ways for your child to get to and from school, but accidents can and will happen.
TYPES OF SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENTS
There are several scenarios in which your child can be injured that specifically involve the school bus. There are typical motor vehicle accidents and, depending on the circumstances, either the school bus driver or another driver can be at fault.
Your child can trip or fall getting on and off the school bus. They can even be struck by a passing vehicle that is not paying attention to the lights and signs on a school bus when it stops to pick up or drop off the child.
WHO GETS SUED AS A RESULT OF SCHOOL BUS INJURIES?
There are a number of people and entities that can be party to a lawsuit involving a school bus accident. Your choice of an attorney becomes very important in these cases because suits of this nature can get complicated. They are often bound by a different set of rules than typical lawsuits. Retaining the services of a lawyer who has experience in dealing with school related injuries is critical to your case.
- School bus driver
- School district, if the driver is their employee
- Driver or drivers of other vehicles involved in the accident
- Mechanics that have repaired or maintained vehicle
- Manufacturer of school bus
Prior to a 2007 Minnesota Supreme court ruling, schools were often able to hide behind the “sovereign entity” law that protects them from being sued. Minneapolis was the lone district in the entire state of Minnesota that clung to a law that is not well-known, even other school districts. It allowed school districts to remain immune from lawsuits if they could not purchase insurance coverage at a specified rate.
The Supreme Court of Minnesota ruled that the Minneapolis school district could no longer use the 1969 law as a means to escape financial responsibility in cases where students are injured on school grounds or school related activities. It was insinuated that the Minneapolis school district actively sought to keep its existence under wraps to prevent drawing attention to it. They were concerned it would lead to changes being made which would no longer benefit them.
TYPES OF COMPENSATION TO EXPECT
There are several things that you can request compensation for in your suit. Pain, suffering and medical bills are obvious, but a Minneapolis attorney experienced in school bus accidents knows there are many more things that you will require. These things are based on the extent and types of injuries sustained as a result of the accident and may include:
- Long term rehab care
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disability
- Loss of wages, current and future
- Mental anguish
- Home health care services
- Cost of special equipment due to medical condition
- Expenses incurred by home modifications required to accommodate disabilities
If you have a family member involved in a school bus accident, please contact us to discuss your options. We have been handling Minnesota personal injury cases since 1981 and have worked tirelessly to get our clients the maximum compensation and awards due them by law.