School Bus Accident Attorneys Mercer and Middlesex County NJ
Serving affected clients in Trenton office, Princeton, Lawrence, Hamilton, New Brunswick and across Mercer County
School buses are responsible for safely transporting our children to and from many locations. Whether it’s taking our children to and from school every day, driving to sporting events, or attending class trips, we expect a certain level of care to be undertaken by the bus drivers and the companies that employ them. We trust that school bus companies and drivers are adequately trained and accidents abide by all traffic rules and motor vehicle regulations. Sometimes, regardless of the training and knowledge, accidents happen to result in injury or death to children. If the bus driver’s negligence caused the accident, he or she could be liable through their employer.
Bus Accident Injuries
Bus accidents can cause a multitude of injuries to passengers. Some injuries can be physical, while others stem from the emotional trauma of the accident itself. For example, if a 10-year-old riding the bus witnesses his friend or classmates suffering during or after the accident, he may be traumatized. There is nothing that would have prepared the child for such a horrible event. Additionally, the full impact of witnessing such an event may not become evident for some time, as children process things differently than adults. Conversely, physical injuries are usually known relatively quickly after the accident. Physical injuries sustained during a bus accident can include:
- Broken bones: broken arm, leg, ankle, etc. and damage to growth plates can hinder overall health and growth in a child.
- Traumatic brain injuries: brain injuries can cause memory loss, cognitive issues, and delay in growth and development thereby impeding education.
- Concussions: such injuries can result in life-long impacts, headaches, vision loss, and discomfort.
- Whiplash: pain to the neck and back;
- Soft tissue damage;
- Neck injuries: broken neck, discs, and vertebrae damage
- Injuries to the spinal cord and back: paralysis, chord compression, ruptured discs.
Children lead active lives and any injury will likely disrupt their quality of life. For example, most children are involved in activities outside of school that they will be unable to attend if they are injured. A broken bone will prevent a child from playing sports, attending gym class, and taking part in active play with friends. As a result, a child can start to feel isolated and upset.
Liability for Bus Accidents in NJ
Unfortunately, while the above injuries may have a detrimental impact on your child’s life, they will not automatically be entitled to financial recovery simply because they are injured. There are certain things you should do if your child is involved in a bus accident. First, seek medical attention for any injuries. Even if your child does not appear to be injured, you should seek the assistance of a physician to ensure the child’s physical safety.
Next, it is important to identify all parties involved in the accident. There are likely other cars, trucks, and drivers that were involved in the accident and a police report will include a list of witnesses, their contact information, and an accident report. The report will incorporate the events as described by those involved in the accident and will make a conclusion as to who is at fault.
Police Report: Information you need after a school bus accident
The police report will also identify the school bus driver and company that he or she is associated with. A school bus driver is likely employed by an independent bus company or the school for which he drives. The bus company would likely be named in a lawsuit. The school may also own the bus and employ the drivers and, if not, they would have hired the bus company and may be named in a lawsuit as well.
Additionally, if another party involved in the collision (not the bus) was an individual or commercial company, they may be named as well. The issue will be whether the injured party can prove that the bus company was negligent and that this negligence caused the accident and resulting injuries. It may be concluded that the other driver (not the bus) negligently caused the accident, in which case all parties would need to be included in the lawsuit to assist in recovery. Many factors go into proving negligence and an experienced attorney will know and understand the law, the facts necessary to prove negligence, and who must be included in the lawsuit.
Tort Claims Act and Public Entities
As noted above, knowing who can be responsible for your injuries can require careful analysis by an attorney. More importantly, the attorney must be well-versed in the Tort Claims Act. This acts guides attorneys and courts as to how and when a public entity can be sued. Public entities include public schools and government agencies that may be immune from liability if not given the proper notice. The tort claims act places certain burdens and requirements on the plaintiff (injured party) when seeking legal recovery. There are rules and requirements that must be strictly adhered to, and if ignored, a lawsuit can be barred. This area of law can impact the statute of limitations and it is imperative that you seek legal advice so that you do not waive any legal requirements in filing suit.
Contact Our Trenton, Hamilton and Princeton NJ Accident and Injury Attorneys Today
If you have been injured or a loved one has been injured or killed in a school bus accident caused by a bus driver or bus company’s negligence, you are entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact CR today to discuss your case with an experienced bus accident attorney.
To speak with our team of attorneys today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your potential claim and how we can help you, please contact us online, or through our Hamilton, NJ office at (609) 528-2596.