School buses are a part of school life. They can be a way for your child to get safely to and from school, and school buses routinely transport children to sporting events, field trips and other school-related events. Most children ride on school buses at least some time during their educational career.
Statistically, children are safer taking the school bus than they are being driven to school in a car. Car accidents are far more common than bus accidents. However, a surprising number of children are injured or even killed in school transportation accidents each year. Across the country, 134 fatalities annually are caused by school bus accidents and school transportation accidents.
School bus accidents can be deeply traumatic for a young child. They can cause lacerations, broken bones, head injuries and even long-term injuries. They can affect your child’s life permanently. Even a seemingly minor injury can take months of recovery time and may leave your child shaken and unsettled for an extended period of time.
My Child Was In A School Bus Accident — What Should I Do?
It’s the phone call no parent wants to get: Their child has been injured in a school bus accident and is in the hospital or is being seen by the school nurse. Many parents hope they will never have to learn what to do after a school bus accident, but knowing what steps to take is important. In general, you’ll want to:
1. Try to Stay Calm
Knowing your child has been injured on school property or on a school bus can be terrifying. For your child, however, it’s important to stay as focused and composed as possible. Your child will be looking to you for support, and you need to work with doctors to provide the best possible care for your child.
2. Insist on Medical Attention
Schools will generally seek emergency medical help for your child if there has been an accident or an injury. If this doesn’t happen, take the child to see a medical professional at once or insist on emergency room treatment if your child may have been seriously injured.
Talk to doctors about the diagnosis, follow-up care and anything else you need to know. Ask questions and write down the answers so you know how to care for your child’s injuries. Keep a list of symptoms and contact a doctor for a follow-up if your child’s condition worsens or if new symptoms develop.
3. Contact Family and Friends for Support
Friends and family can support not only your child but also you. They can take down information, remind you of what the doctor has said, and work to keep everyone calm.
4. Be Cautious About What You Say
After a school bus accident, school boards and school districts may be nervous about a lawsuit. They may want you to make a statement, sign documents or otherwise absolve the driver, school, and school board or district of blame.
It is important not to sign anything and not to say anything without talking to a school bus accident lawyer. Unfortunately, anything you say could hurt your claim. For example, telling a school board member you’re fine or the child seems to be doing well can later be used to allege the child was not seriously injured — even if doctors disagree. Never sign anything, and keep your comments neutral and limited until you can speak to a legal professional.
5. Gather Evidence
Try to gather as much evidence about the accident as possible. If your child’s personal belongings were damaged in the accident, keep them. If you can, take photos of the accident scene with your phone. Take photos of your child’s injuries, plus keep a list of expenses and receipts from any costs you have incurred. Talk to other parents, children or others who saw the accident, and get their contact information.
6. Contact a School Bus Accident Attorney Immediately
As soon as possible after the accident, contact a qualified school bus accident attorney. Even if you’re not sure you want to file a lawsuit, it’s smart to get legal advice about the situation. You may qualify for a settlement, and the money can help pay for your child’s medical care costs, therapy, homework help and any other services they may need. The healing process can take months or even years, and being able to pay for the services your child needs makes a difference.
An attorney can start investigating the cause of the accident, find out whether there is a liable party, and talk to the school board or district for you. If the driver or someone else was negligent, an attorney can let you know and explain whether you have a strong lawsuit or other options might be better for you and your family.
Would you like to speak to a school bus accident attorney today? Contact Dallas Horton & Associates to speak with one of our attorneys. More than 30 percent of our staff speak at least one other language, and we have more than 70 years of combined legal experience. We have been serving Nevada area clients for more than 17 years and would be pleased to help you understand whether you should file a lawsuit.