School Bus Accidents
School bus accidents can be devastating for Florida children and their families. Numerous factors have caused school bus accidents. Children are sometimes injured while getting on or off a school bus or crossing the street to board the bus. School bus drivers may not follow road rules or may fail to yield appropriately. There are no seatbelts on a school bus, and the lack of safety restraints in general can result in serious injuries. A school bus is a large and heavy vehicle, and a school bus driver's failure to use reasonable care can result in catastrophic injuries to children on the bus or people in smaller passenger cars nearby. If your child or you were injured in a school bus accident, you should contact the Miami school bus accident lawyers at our Law Offices of Robert Dixon.Proving Liability After a School Bus Accident
After a school bus accident, the police will be called to the scene and investigate what happened. The investigation will usually include questions for the driver and any other witnesses. Common reasons why bus accidents happen include fatigued drivers, drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs, improperly loaded or overloaded buses, drivers who are not trained or who have not been adequately screened before being hired, and improperly maintained buses. Sometimes other drivers may be at fault for an accident.
Whether you can hold a school bus driver and their employer liable for a school bus accident depends on a variety of factors. If the bus driver's employer is a private entity, rather than the government, it is more straightforward. A school bus accident attorney in Miami will need to show the school bus driver's negligence by proving that the school bus driver owed a duty of reasonable care, the school bus driver breached the duty of care, and your injuries resulted from the breach. For example, if the school bus driver ran a stop sign and then needed to brake hard and suddenly for a car, throwing small children out of their seats and injuring them, it is likely that you would be able to show negligence. For another example, if a school bus driver was on prescription medication that impaired his judgment, and he took a turn very fast, resulting in a rollover and serious injuries, it is likely that you would be able to show negligence.
A bus driver's private employer can be held vicariously liable for the school bus driver's negligence by showing that the driver was in the course and scope of employment. It may also be held directly liable for its own negligence in hiring, training, or supervising a bus driver. For example, if a private employer never ran a background check on a bus driver that would have revealed a history of DUIs, and then the driver gets into an alcohol-fueled accident in which children are injured, the private employer may be held accountable for its negligence.
The claims process is more challenging if the bus driver is at fault and is an employee of the State of Florida or its agencies. The State of Florida has waived its sovereign immunity for certain torts, but it is necessary to give timely notice to the government prior to filing suit, and the notice must specify the governmental body at fault as well as the employee's name and the time, place, and circumstances of the claim. It is crucial to retain a Miami school bus accident attorney right away so that proper notice can be given. If you are injured by a government agency or its employee, you can file a claim for compensation if the injury was caused by the agency or employee's acts or omissions, the losses can be compensated with monetary damages, and the circumstances resulting in the injuries are such that the negligent person or entity would have been liable as a private party. School buses must comply with Florida Statutes section 316.615, and to the extent that the bus or driver does not meet these requirements, this may be evidence of negligence.Contact a Knowledgeable Injury Lawyer in the Miami Area
The specific facts will determine how your school bus accident case should be handled. Sometimes municipalities contract out school bus services to private companies, and this can cause further complications in how the claim should be handled. It is important to hire a school bus accident lawyer in Miami who can navigate the nuances of your claim and fight aggressively for compensation. We represent people in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and other cities in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Call us at 877.499.4878 or complete our online form.