Over the past year, there have been multiple serious accidents involving school buses in the greater Philadelphia area. In early August 2018, a multi-vehicle crash involving a school bus took place on Roosevelt Boulevard in the Somerton section of Philadelphia. A week later, a school bus overturned on the New Jersey Turnpike near East Brunswick. And in May 2018, a school bus driver caused a fatal accident when he attempted to make a sudden u-turn in a highway, leading to the deaths of a 10-year-old student and a teacher after the bus hit a dump truck.
These are just some of the many school bus accidents that have occurred in the Philadelphia metro region in the past few months. Given the sheer size of buses, being involved in an accident with these vehicles can result in serious injuries and significant damages. If you have been hurt in an accident, you will need a skilled Philadelphia bus accident attorney to represent you and protect your interests.
How to Keep Your Kids Safe on the Bus
While it seems as though bus accidents are happening almost constantly in our region, they are still fairly rare. Your child is far safer on a school bus than on almost any other form of transportation (about 70 times more likely to get to school safely by riding on a bus than by traveling by car). However, accidents can and do happen. In addition to a bus crashing into another vehicle, a sign or other object, children can be hurt when getting on or off the bus. They may also be hurt when they’re riding on the bus — such as by slipping and falling on the bus.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 128 people die every year in collisions involving school buses. Of those, only 4 to 6 fatalities are school-aged children riding on buses.
This includes people riding on the buses, bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers and passengers of other vehicles. There are also a number of non-fatal school bus accidents that lead to injuries, which can be serious — such as broken bones, cuts, head injuries and more.
You can encourage your kids to stay safe on the bus. One of the top causes of school bus accidents is driver distraction. With that in mind, teach your kids to behave on the bus, which includes staying in their seat, keeping their voices down, and never throwing items. You should also talk to your kids about being alert so that they can brace themselves should the driver lose control of the bus. Because most buses do not have seat belts, this is important in the event of a crash.
What Can You Do If You Are in an Accident with a School Bus
Accidents involving buses can lead to some of the most serious injuries imaginable. Given the size and weight of buses compared to passenger vehicles, many victims of Philadelphia bus accidents suffer grave injuries and require significant treatment and time off of work in order to recover.
If your child has been hurt on a school bus, or if you are in an accident with a school bus, you may want to file a claim against the school district, the bus company or other parties. However, under Pennsylvania law, there are special rules that must be followed if you want to file a claim against a government entity in Pennsylvania.
If a government employee injuries you while operating a motor vehicle, such as a school bus, you might be able to sue the agency for the injury. Although you generally have two years to file a lawsuit for personal injury claims in Pennsylvania, for claims against the government, there is a six-month statute of limitations. In other words, if you do not file a claim within six months, you are no longer able to recover for that injury.
Because many school districts have contracts with private companies to handle their transportation needs, your Philadelphia bus accident attorney will need to evaluate the proper way of handling this type of case. A lawyer who understands the complexities of these cases will make sure that your claim is filed on time and that all responsible parties are identified in the suit, from the school district or other governmental agency to the bus company or another third party.
Work with an Experienced Philadelphia Bus Accident Attorney
Solnick & Associates is dedicated to helping our clients get the compensation that they deserve for their injuries. With nearly 30 years of combined experience assisting victims of all types of accidents, including Philadelphia bus crashes, we know what it takes to help our clients move forward after an injury. Initial consultations are always free. Contact us today to set up an appointment with a seasoned Philadelphia bus accident attorney.