Can You Sue a School Bus Driver for an Accident in New York?
During the morning and afternoon, when children are going to and from school, school buses are everywhere. School buses are extremely large and heavy, and an accident with one can be disastrous.
After an accident with a school bus, injured drivers or children on the bus can sue the school bus driver if they negligently caused the accident. It might be possible to sue other defendants, like the school bus company, the school district, or other drivers who contributed to the crash. Proving the school bus driver is liable for the crash requires evidence, such as photos, videos, and witness testimony. Your damages might be extensive and include expensive medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and more.
After a school bus accident, the driver and any other responsible parties should be held liable and made to cover your damages. Our New York bus accident lawyers can help you do this. Call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 and ask about a free case review with our MTA bus accident attorney in NYC.
Who Can You Sue After a School Bus Accident in New York?
The school bus driver is the first person most injured plaintiffs look at when filing a lawsuit. In many cases, you can also sue the school bus company that employs the driver. If the school district’s negligence caused the accident, you can sue them too. Our New York personal injury lawyers can help you review the circumstances of your crash and determine who you can sue.
The School Bus Driver
You can sue the school bus driver involved in the crash and hold them negligently liable. Proving negligence involves four critical elements, all of which must be established. Our Queens personal injury accident attorneys have experience with negligence cases and can help you get compensation for your damages.
The first element is duty and refers to the legal duty the bus driver owed you while on the road. In most cases, this duty is the bus driver’s obligation to drive as safe as reasonably possible under the circumstances.
The second element, breach, is how the bus driver violated their duty. A breach may look different from case to case, and it is important to discuss all the details of your accident with your Boca Raton pedestrian accident lawyer. In some cases, a breach is a violation of traffic laws, such as running a red light or changing lanes without signaling.
Causation is the third element and connects the bus driver’s breach and the accident. It is not enough to prove that the bus driver violated their duty of care. You must go a step further and show how that violation caused the accident. This essentially means demonstrating that no other independent source caused the accident.
The final element requires proving that your damages are real. While this might seem obvious to us, courts need everything clearly laid out and explained. Damages cannot be hypothetical or mere possibilities.
The School Bus Company
In addition to the school bus driver, you can sue the company that employs them. Employers can often be held vicariously liable for the negligent behavior of their employees. However, some conditions must be met first.
For an employer to be held vicariously liable, the employee’s negligent behavior must have occurred within the scope of their employment. This means the accident must have happened while the bus driver was on duty and performing their job. If the accident occurred while the bus driver was engaging in unauthorized behavior or doing something that was not work-related, such as running personal errands, their employer might not be vicariously liable.
The School District
In some cases, you can sue the school district that contracted with the bus company if the school district’s negligence played a role in the accident. For example, suppose the morning of your bus accident the roads were very icy, and it was snowing. It might be negligent for a school district to remain open rather than closing for the day. If school administrators made the call to stay open, the school district might be liable. In other circumstances, city officials might make the final call to keep schools open, and the school district would not be liable.
Due to the school district’s negligent choice to remain open, a school bus might hit a patch of ice and collide with your vehicle, causing severe injuries. The school bus would not have been on the road had it not been for the school district’s negligent decision-making.
It is also important to keep time limits in mind when suing a school district. When suing the bus driver or their employer, you would have to adhere to the statute of limitations under CVP Law § 214(a), which gives you 3 years from the accident date to file a lawsuit.
Your time limit for suing a public school district will be much shorter because you must file a notice of claim within 90 days of the accident according to GMU Law § 50-e(a). This is because public school districts are considered government or public entities. Our Brooklyn personal injury accident attorneys can help you write your notice and file it with the appropriate parties.
In some cases, the school bus driver is not at fault for the accident. Instead, another driver on the road is responsible for causing the crash. In those cases, it is important to identify other drivers who contributed to the crash to hold them liable for your damages.
For example, suppose the bus driver was forced to suddenly swerve out of the way because another driver cut them off. The sudden swerving could cause the heavy bus to tip over, and passengers or others on the road might be injured. In this case, the driver who cut off the bus driver should be held liable.
Who Can Sue After a School Bus Accident in New York?
There may be multiple plaintiffs to a school bus accident lawsuit. First, other drivers injured by the school bus driver’s negligence can file a lawsuit. This is common in cases where the bus crashed into other vehicles, injuring other drivers and passengers. Similarly, pedestrians hit by a school bus might sue if the pedestrian had the right of way to cross a street, but the bus failed to brake.
Students on the school bus may also sue. This is often tricky because students on school buses tend to be minors who cannot file a lawsuit on their own. Parents or legal guardians of injured students may file a lawsuit in these cases. If an injured student has no parent or legal guardian who can sue, the court may appoint someone to act as the student’s guardian for the lawsuit. Otherwise, the statute of the limitations for the student’s lawsuit would not begin to run until they turn 18.
How Do I Prove a School Bus Driver Is Liable for My Accident in New York?
Evidence is often different in different cases, and injured victims might not know what kind of evidence they should look for. Our Long Island personal injury accident lawyers have handled many cases like yours and can help you gather the evidence you need to support your case.
Immediately after the accident, you should take pictures and record videos of the accident scene. Many drivers today have cell phones capable of taking photos and videos, and you can use this to preserve the accident scene before it is cleared away by law enforcement. If you cannot safely take pictures, see if someone nearby can do it for you, like a passenger or passerby.
If you cannot get any photos or videos of the accident scene, our New York bus accident attorneys can help you track down security camera videos. If a home or business is near the accident, a security camera might capture the accident on video. If not, school buses are required to have security cameras on board, and that footage might be very useful.
Witness statements will be of paramount importance to your case. Other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who saw the accident happen or witnessed events leading up to it can testify about what they saw. The more their stories align with yours, the stronger your case is.
Call Our New York Bus Accident Lawyers for Help
If you or a loved one was in a collision with a school bus, our Staten Island personal injury lawyers can help you sue the driver and get compensation. Call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 and ask about a free case evaluation.