In recent years, we have seen more and more children harmed due to bus incidents ranging from wrecks to fires to mechanical failures. Families throughout South Carolina, and even outside of our state, have shared with me their concerns and frustrations in the wake of accidents and injuries that could have been prevented had someone simply put safety first. I became a lawyer to protect our community and give justice to the innocent - especially children. That is why I am so passionate when it comes to school bus accidents. The children I have represented did nothing more than show up for the bus. Their parents trusted the district, the school, the driver, and other people on the road to allow their sons or daughters safe passage. That trust gets violated far too often, and it is my job to hold the negligent parties responsible.
Why Are So Many South Carolina Children Injured on School Buses?
The root causes of these dangerous school bus incidents are many, but some of the more common include the following:
- Negligent Hiring of the Bus Driver
- Negligent Training To Operate A Bus
- Distracted Drivers of Other Vehicles
- Defective Design By School Bus Manufacturers
- Improper Maintenance or Repair
I will start with the first bulletpoint and work my way down. A school district must ensure that the person they put behind the wheel is properly qualified. The bus driver should have a CDL and all training necessary to operate a vehicle of this size. The driver has children's lives in his/her hands, and just like a surgeon, airline pilot, or anyone else with that level of responsibility, must be well trained.
School bus accidents are not always the operator's fault. Many times, it is a distracted, impatient, or otherwise reckless driver of another vehicle who causes the wreck. In my years as an attorney, I have seen a rise in collisions caused by texting and social media use. People crash into the back of buses, run stoplights, and endanger children because they are looking down at a phone. It is completely unacceptable, and those who cause harm by doing it should be held accountable.
Additionally, South Carolina's aging buses are prone to mechanical issues, which have resulted in fires, among other dangers. Even when maintained, there are inherent design flaws in some of our state's buses, including radiator hoses that run on the inside of vehicles - right under children's legs. Simply put, this is a negligent design that places children at undue risk, and has already resulted in at least one known burn injury.
What Legal Options Do Families Have After A School Bus Accident?
In some instances, children escape harm after a collision or fire. Other times they are not so fortunate. I never want to hear about a child getting hurt, yet it is a reality, and my job as a lawyer is to seek full justice under the law. Whoever contributed to the accident will be legally responsible for your son or daughter's injuries. That may mean a school district and its driver, a bus manufacturer, a negligent repair company, or the driver of a separate vehicle. It is important that a claim is properly established with all potential defendants and their insurance carriers. Their obligation to pay will be based on the damage it caused your child and family, as well as how egregious their conduct was.
You may not have to hire an attorney, but I would at least speak with one before going too far down the road with any insurance companies. Once a settlement is signed, it is unlikely that either you or your child will ever be able to recover any additional funds - no matter how significant the future problems may be. That is why it is critical that all past, present, and future damages are taken into account, and that all potential defendants are identified.
My law firm, which represents children in just about every corner of South Carolina and beyond, will treat your family like our own while also working to secure full justice. There is no cost involved in reaching out to me and getting guidance. You can contact us through our live chat feature, by way of our contact form, or by calling our office number right here on the website.
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