Can I Sue If My Child Was Hurt In A School Bus Accident In Fort Lauderdale?

Every day, parents all across the country trust school buses to get their child safely to and from school or school-related trips. While most children make it to their destinations safely, school bus accidents can and do happen. And when they do, the accidents are often severe. The attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman know how difficult it must be for you to see your child in physical and emotional pain.

Our team of legal experts can help if your child was hurt in a school bus accident in Fort Lauderdale. We will help you hold the responsible parties liable and recover compensation for your child’s medical bills and pain and suffering. Call us to see how we can help you: 954-524-2820.

What types of injuries occur in school bus accidents?

School buses are mostly safe; however, a lack of seat belts can exacerbate injuries that occur in school bus accidents. Some of the most common injuries are:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord damage resulting in paralysis
  • Broken bones
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Back and neck injuries

Physical injuries are not the only injuries that occur. Children injured in bus accidents can also develop depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental illnesses.

These injuries can require months and even years of surgeries, physical therapy, psychological treatment, and at-home care. The victim’s family may feel overwhelmed by medical expenses and other costs. Filing suit against the at-fault party(s) may be the best way to relieve some of that financial stress.

Why do school bus accidents happen?

Fort Lauderdale school buses are generally a safe way for children to travel. However, there are certain characteristics that can make buses more dangerous than other vehicles. First, school buses are larger than passenger vehicles and can be more difficult for drivers to control.

Another issue is that many school buses do not have the safety features that other vehicles have. The lack of airbags, seat belts, and other safety restraints can cause more serious injuries than passenger vehicle accidents.

However, a lack of safety features is not the cause of an accident. School bus accidents usually result from the negligence of one or more parties. Poor maintenance, untrained, negligent, or reckless drivers, and poor road conditions can all play a role in an accident.

Who can I file suit against if my child suffered injuries in a school bus accident?

If your child suffered injuries in a school bus accident in Fort Lauderdale, our lawyers can help you sue any party that was partially or fully responsible for his/her injuries. Under Florida law, you have four years from the date of the accident to file suit. Possible defendants to name in the suit include:

The School Bus Driver/School District

The school district will likely be liable for any injuries the bus driver causes. This is because, under the doctrine of vicarious liability, employers are liable for their employees’ actions, so long as those actions occur in the scope of employment.

The school district might be vicariously liable if the driver was:

  • Reckless
  • Intoxicated
  • Fatigued
  • Distracted, or
  • Otherwise negligent

The school district can be directly liable for the following:

  • Failing to complete a background check/negligent hiring (e.g., hiring a driver with a history of drunk or reckless driving)
  • Failing to train drivers
  • Failing to maintain buses/failing to repair known hazards (e.g., failing to replace a burnt out tail light, failure to maintain brakes, etc.)

To have a valid claim against the bus driver/school district, we will need to show that the bus driver or school district’s negligence caused the accident. The police report, eyewitness testimony, photographs of the scene, surveillance video, maintenance records, complaints, and personnel files can be instrumental in your case.

The Other Driver

In cases where a passenger vehicle caused the accident, parents of an injured child on the bus may file suit against that driver. Proving that the other driver was negligent or reckless behind the wheel and that his/her negligence caused your child’s injuries will be essential to your case.

Children can also suffer injuries as they step off the bus. If another driver hit your child as s/he was getting off the bus, you can hold that driver liable.

Eyewitness testimony, surveillance video, and photographs of the scene can all help prove negligence.

Agencies Responsible For Road Maintenance

If a poorly maintained road caused the accident, parents can file suit against the agencies responsible for maintenance. The responsible agency depends on the road on which the accident happened. For example, I-595 and the Sawgrass Expressway are under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Certain parts of larger roads like Broward Blvd and Sunrise Blvd are under the jurisdiction of Broward County; other sections are under FDOT.

Our team can help you determine who was responsible for the road on which your child’s accident occurred.

Should I sue the school district or government?

If the accident involved the public school district or government, your case will likely be difficult. In most cases, you will need to file a tort claim and wait for a response before filing suit. In some cases, you will be unable to hold the party liable at all. Our team will examine your case to determine the best course of action. If you decide to sue the school district, government, or any other parties, we will represent you through the entire process.

What damages can I recover?

If your child was injured in a school bus accident, your family may be struggling to get back on its feet after paying thousands of dollars in medical bills. Fortunately, an injury claim will allow you to recover these costs and more. An injury settlement can include compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages (you might be able to recover compensation for your own lost wages if you needed to take time off work to care for your child)
  • Emotional trauma

School bus accidents are rare, but when they do occur, they can be devastating. These accidents can impact every aspect of an injured child’s life and cause turmoil within the family.

The school bus accident attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman can help you manage all the details of your case. From contacting witnesses and qualified experts to testify on your behalf to analyzing the facts and determining fault, the attorneys on staff will help you every step of the way.

To discuss your case for free, please call 954-524-2820.