North Carolina School Bus Accidents
Many parents send their children off to the school bus without a second thought, but unfortunately, these buses are sometimes involved in accidents on the road. According to the North Carolina DMV Traffic Crash Facts Report, 1,136 school bus crashes took place in 2019. In Mecklenburg County alone, 228 school bus crashes occurred. These crashes often result in injuries and sometimes even deaths.
If you or your child was involved in a school bus accident, you might be wondering what to do next. First and foremost, you must make sure you or your child receives any necessary medical attention. The next thing you should do is consult an attorney to make sure your rights are protected. You may be entitled to compensation that can help with you or your child’s medical bills. Every scenario and situation is different, so contact one of the personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, today to learn how we can help.Right to Compensation
Under North Carolina law, negligent drivers can be held financially responsible to their victims. The amount of compensation depends on several things:
- How serious are the injuries? Make sure all injuries are documented and to follow any medical advice given.
- Which parties can be held liable? This may be especially true if the bus driver was the at-fault driver. If the bus driver was at fault, you may be able to hold the driver’s employer or the State responsible.
- Were you contributorily negligent? North Carolina follows a strict contributory negligence rule; if the jury finds the victim even partially negligent, they might not recover compensation.
Compensation can be awarded for any of the below:
- Medical bills
- Loss of wages due to missed work
- Pain and suffering
- Cost of medication and therapy
- Required long-term care
An attorney can help you make sure you have the documentation needed to prove any of the injuries you or your child sustained.Who is Liable?
Many parties could be liable for a school bus accident. If the school bus driver is at fault due to negligence, they may be liable, along with their employer, the school district, or the State (if it is a public school). If the cause of the accident was due to an equipment malfunction, the owner, manufacturer, and maintenance company may be found liable. If the cause of the accident was due to the negligence of another driver, that driver could be held responsible for the accident.
An attorney can help you investigate the accident, determine who is likely the liable party, and the best way to move forward. Even if you are not ready to file a lawsuit, an attorney can help you file an insurance claim to help offset the costs of mounting medical bills or therapies.Potential Causes of School Bus Crashes
Just like any car accident, many things can cause school bus crashes. Below is a list of common causes of school bus crashes:
- driver distraction, whether it is texting, or distractions caused by passengers
- driver fatigue
- driver error
- overloaded buses
- maintenance issues
- insufficient or improper training
- drunk driving
- failure to observe traffic laws
Not all bus accidents are deadly, but many do result in injuries. These injuries can range from minor to catastrophic. Regardless of the injury, it is important to seek a comprehensive medical exam as soon as you can. This will not only help you heal but also help build your case should you decide to file with insurance or file a personal injury lawsuit. Some common injuries that are sustained in bus crashes are:
- broken bones
- brain injuries, such as a concussion
- back injuries
- internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding
- spine injuries
If you experience any injuries related to a school bus accident, it is important to follow any medical guidance. Any noncompliance with medical guidance could be used against you in court or when you file an insurance claim.Contact Us Today
At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we understand who stressful and emotional a car accident can be, especially when your child is involved. We are here to help you through the aftermath and make sure that your rights are protected. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.
For your convenience and safety, we now offer video and phone conferencing. If you prefer an in-person consultation, we have three easy to reach locations in Uptown Charlotte, Monroe, and Mooresville. Contact us here or call us at 704-370-2828 today to learn how we can advocate for you.