Charlotte School Bus Accident Lawyer
School bus accidents are more common than most people realize in North Carolina and across the country. In May 2021, a school bus was involved in a dangerous accident in Pamlico County. The school bus was turning left when an SUV collided with it. Even though no students were injured during this accident, accidents like these are far too common. If you or your child has been injured in a school bus accident, one of the best things you can do is consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Before you file a personal injury lawsuit, you can ensure that you have built and protected your legal claim.What to Do After a School Bus Accident
The most important thing you can do after being injured in a bus accident is to seek medical treatment for yourself. If your child has been injured, make sure your child receives emergency medical treatment. If you do not go to the emergency room, schedule an appointment with your child's pediatrician for a comprehensive medical evaluation. Make sure you tell the doctor who is examining your child about all of the symptoms your child is experiencing.
Should the doctor recommend tests, such as an MRI, X-ray, or CT scan, follow your doctor's orders. Following your doctor's orders is a crucial way to protect your legal claim. The defendant or insurance company may claim that your injuries are not severe if you do not follow your doctor’s advice and attend all your medical appointments.Who is Liable for a School Bus Accident?
When you consult with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers, we will conduct a thorough investigation into the bus accident. Several different people could be liable for your injuries, including the school bus driver, a third-party driver, or even a bicyclist or pedestrian who jutted in front of the bus. You will need to gather the information of the bus owner and the employer of the bus driver who caused the accident. If a third party causes a bus accident, you will need to gather their information. The contact and insurance information for all of the drivers involved should be recorded on the police report.
Under North Carolina law, the bus owner may be liable for injuries caused by their bus driver's negligent acts. As the victim, you can use the legal theory of vicarious liability to hold the employer financially accountable for his or her employee’s negligence or recklessness. The doctrine of vicarious liability could also expose the school district to liability for the negligent bus driver’s accidents.
However, government entities have a certain level of sovereign immunity, which is an obstacle the victim must overcome to obtain the compensation they deserve. Sovereign immunity originally prevented citizens from filing lawsuits against the state of North Carolina or a city or municipality within North Carolina. However, North Carolina has provided victims a new way to sue a government entity if they or their child became injured in a school bus accident.The North Carolina Tort Claims Act
Under the North Carolina Tort Claims Act, a parent can bring a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina, but only if they file a Notice of Claim first. If your child was injured in a school bus accident, the Act provides you with an opportunity to file an injury claim for issues arising out of:
- Mechanical or other defects that affect the safe operation of the bus
- Negligent actions or omissions of the driver
- Negligent acts by maintenance personnel
Successful plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits are entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover easy to quantify damages, such as past and future medical expenses, loss of income, property damage, and other expenses directly related to the victim's injuries. Non-economic damages refer to the pain and suffering the victim has suffered due to the bus accident.Consult With a Charlotte School Bus Accident Lawyer
Navigating the recovery process after a school bus accident can be difficult, especially if the school bus driver is at fault. Bringing a legal claim against the school district for the city is an additional layer of complication. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, are ready to discuss your case with you. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.