School bus accidents in Texas may not occur with the same frequency as a motor vehicle or commercial vehicle accidents, but when they do, they cause outrage because of the age of the children involved. These buses transport some of the most vulnerable members of our society, and so, bus drivers and school boards are held to a higher standard for the operation of vehicles, than the general motorist population.
Typically, school bus accident victims may include the children who were traveling in the bus, passengers or motorists who were in the other vehicles involved in a collision with a school bus, and pedestrians. In all cases, depending on the circumstances, injured victims may have access to options for recovery.
Injuries in a school bus accident depend on whether the bus struck a pedestrian, or was involved in a single vehicle accident, or a head-on collision with other vehicles, or was involved in other types of accidents. Children who are traveling in school buses tend to suffer injuries even in a minor collision because federal laws don’t mandate the use of seat belts in school buses. This means that young children may be thrown out of their seats, and sustain fractures, head injuries, blunt force trauma injuries, and broken bones. Pedestrians involved in a collision with a school bus may also suffer serious injuries that include spinal cord fractures, multiple broken bones, and brain injuries.
According to Texas Tribune, “Texas school districts in the market for new school buses must ensure they have shoulder-to-lap seat belts for all riders.” This new legislation was put in place to help with the notion that seat belt help saves lives.
Texas laws consider school buses to be “common carriers.” This means that school bus companies and drivers are held to a higher standard of operations than other commercial transport companies. Responsibilities of the school district or board include hiring qualified, experienced and trained drivers, rooting out drivers who are found in violation of safer rules or have a history of alcohol and substance abuse. If there is another company responsible for the maintenance of the bus, then the company has a duty to make sure that all parts of the bus, including the brakes, steering wheel mechanism, tires, and lights are functioning properly. Sometimes, bus accidents are caused by defective parts like week seat backs, that increase the risk of injuries.
A school bus accident claim can name the following entities:
- School board
- School district
- Bus driver (although any compensation to be made will be paid out by the insurer)
- Other motorists or truck drivers who may have caused the accident
- Bus maintenance and repair companies; and
- School bus manufacturers
Has a loved one been injured because of a school bus accident? Contact an Austin school bus accident attorney with the Briggle & Polan, PLLC. We offer free consultation at your home, work, hospital or at our office. Contact us by calling (512) 400-3278 or submit an inquiry through our online consultation form. We don’t charge a fee unless we obtain a settlement on your behalf.