School bus crashes generate thousands of injuries to children every year. Often these injuries are very serious, as children do not wear seat belts while riding on most school buses. A situation where a child is injured as a result of negligence can be a very hard experience for any parent and family. Fortunately, when a child is hurt, parents or guardians of a minor under the age of 18 can often bring a claim or lawsuit on the child’s behalf.
According to NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, “130 school-age pedestrians (younger than 19) have died in school transportation-related crashes. Over two-thirds (67%) were struck by school buses, 6% by vehicles functioning as school buses, and 27% by other vehicles involved in the crashes.” Additionally, on average, “10 school-age pedestrians are killed by school transportation vehicles (school buses and non-school bus vehicles used as school buses) each year, and 4 are killed by other vehicles involved in school bus-related crashes.” This is actually a very low number of fatalities when you consider how many children (23.5 million!) ride school buses each year. However, school bus crash injury data is spotty, so it is difficult to determine how many of these children are injured each year. With so many riders, accidents are bound to happen, and negligence can often play a part in the many traumatic injuries that may occur.
School bus accidents can result in several types of injuries, such as:
- Fractures: Fractures are at times so severe they require surgical repair. Children are especially susceptible fracture injuries, however they tend to be less complicated than a fracture to an adult.
- Head and brain injuries: Children with brain injuries may not have the communication skills to report headaches, sensory problems, and/or confusion. Instead, they may refuse to eat, appear listless and cranky, experience altered sleep patterns, sporadic school performance, and lose interest in favorite toys or activities. It is important to bring your child to a doctor if you recognize any of these responses to an injury.
- Back & neck injuries (whiplash): After an accident, back and neck pain can be sudden and severe, but some people do not feel pain until several hours after trauma. Most back and neck injuries are ligament or muscle injuries such as sprains or strains. This type of injury hopefully will resolve within a couple months with proper medical care. However, sometimes trauma can lead to a herniated disc.
- Death: While the above data indicates that this is rare, tragic school bus fatalities do occur. A Philly.com article chronicles a recent school bus crash which led to the death of an 11 year old girl. According to the report, as a result of suspicions of negligence on the part of the bus driver, “…the parents of 11-year-old triplets who were in a school bus crash in February that killed one of the children are suing the bus and trucking companies involved in the accident.” This tragic event shows that even giant yellow school busses are not immune from severe accidents.
These and other complications can occur whether the crash was pure happenstance, or the result of negligence or misconduct. If your child is killed or injured in a school bus crash which is the result of negligence, it is important to consult with an attorney to have a chance at recovering for your child’s pain and suffering, medical expenses, disfigurement, loss of normal life, and any other losses sustained in the accident. Attorneys look to recover present and future costs when representing an injured minor.
If your child has been injured in a school bus accident, request a Free Case Consultation with Abels & Annes, P.C. to speak with a lawyer.