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Calhoun, Meredith, Sims Logo
03/12/2021

When your child gets on the school bus, you expect them to get safely to school and back home at the end of the school day. And, according to School Transportation News, this is true, as school buses are considered one of the safest means of transportation. According to their calculations, less than 1% of students who use a school buss were injured in school bus accidents between 2018 and 2019. However, these statistics mean nothing when your child is injured in a motor vehicle accident involving the school bus. Once the moment of panic has passed, and you know your child is under competent medical care, you wonder: Can I sue if my child is hurt in A school bus accident? The personal injury attorneys at Calhoun, Meredith & Sims Law Firm encourage you to contact us and find out exactly what your rights are: 855-644-0273!

The First Dilemma: Whom Do You Sue?

The success of a personal injury lawsuit depends on the case you have against the defendant. In this instance, who is the at-fault party: the driver, their employer (the bus company), the public school district or a third party? The first thing you need to know is that suing public school districts in Texas is an extremely complex issue. For this reason, you need to consult with an experienced bus accident lawyer before you take legal action.

The attorney will determine the circumstances of the bus crash and identify the responsible party:

  • A reckless or DUI bus driver
  • the bus company, if the vehicle was defective or poorly maintained
  • the school, if we can prove gross negligence leading to the accident.

A skilled Houston personal injury lawyer will be able to give you the best chance at winning the maximum compensation for your child's medical expenses, as well as for pain and suffering and mental anguish.

Why It Is Not Easy to Take Public School Districts to Court

You may wonder why you can't simply hold the school district liable for the accident in a claim for injuries.? This is due to a principle called sovereign immunity law. It gives all government agencies immunity from lawsuits filed by citizens. Until 1968, you could not sue any government agency for any reason, no matter how obvious their fault and negligence was.

However, the "government can do no wrong" attitude could not go on forever, and the Civil Practices and Remedies Code of Texas now has a special section (Title 5 Chapter 101) regulating government liability in tort claims. Section 101.021 specifies "property damage, personal injury, and death caused by the wrongful act or omission or the negligence of an employee acting within his scope of employment".

However, in order to demonstrate the liability for school bus drivers in relation with the school itself, one must prove that the respective driver was an agent for the school, and this is not a clear-cut case. For example, if the driver was running a personal errand or taking a break when the accident occurred, the school may not be liable.

Please note that these stipulations are not applicable to private schools and Catholic schools. You are free to file a lawsuit as you would do against any private individual or company.

How Much Compensation Can You Claim in a School Bus Accident Lawsuit?

Another challenge for parents of children injured in school bus crashes is the damage caps set for the liability of government entities for injury victims. Thus, the maximum amount of compensation a private person can claim in a personal injury lawsuit against governmental agencies in Texas are:

  • $250,000 per person
  • $500,000 per occurrence for bodily injury and death
  • $100,000 per occurrence for injury and destruction of property.

Your family attorney will advise you on the best course of action and the type of legal action with the highest possible chances of success. For instance, you may file an insurance claim, but the insurance company will only cover medical expenses, not damages for pain and suffering.

Special Procedure for Suing a Public School District

When parents decide to sue public schools, they should hire Houston bus accident lawyers to oversee the entire procedure.. Given the fact that the defendant is a governmental agency, you must start by filing a Notice of Claim - a document that notifies of your intention to sue.

This notice must be submitted within 60-90 days after the accident and contain:

  • Your name and address
  • details of the place, time and circumstances of the school bus accident
  • a description of the actual injuries and damages (medical costs, other economic damages)
  • Your statement that you intend to file an injury claim and seek monetary damages for the injuries and losses.

The Notice of Claim must have the exact form required by the respective government agency. Skilled personal injury lawyers can prepare this notice in a fully compliant manner.. The school has 6 months to respond to your personal injury claim. In the experience of most Houston law firms, they will deny it or not respond at all. When this deadline expires, you can sue the school.

Can I Sue If My Child Is Hurt On A School Bus Accident? What to Do If Your Child Was Injured in a School Bus Accident

The first thing you should ensure is that your child is taken to hospital to evaluate and treat their injuries. A school nurse is not enough, since you will not receive a detailed medical report required in an accident injury lawsuit.

Next, you should contact a personal injury attorney, who will start making investigations in the accident such as:

  • Whether the school board made a full background check on the bus company and their drivers
  • whether the vehicle was driven by an experienced school bus driver, or they had a record of reckless driving and DUI
  • whether the vehicle met the standards of school bus safety or the school uses substandard vehicles
  • whether the bus company responsible for maintaining the vehicles performed regular checks and repairs
  • whether the school bus manufacturing company knew of a design fault and failed to communicate it

These investigations may demonstrate gross negligence of the school employees, giving grounds for a tort claim against them.

What Kind of Damages You May Claim in a Bus Accident Injury Lawsuit?

The state of Texas allows personal injury victims to recover economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:

  • Hospital bills to treat your child's injuries
  • costs of future medical care if your child is left with permanent injuries
  • future damages, including therapy for mental and emotional issues resulting from the trauma.

Non-economic damages are less difficult to quantify. How can you put a number for the mental anguish of countless families who see their children in pain and injured? However, an astute lawyer will seek as much compensation as the law permits from the fault parties who failed to put child safety first.

Hire a Personal Injury Law Firm that Gets Justice Served!

If your child was injured in any public transportation vehicle, including a school bus, Calhoun, Meredith and Sims Law Firm is your knowledgeable ally, guiding you through the complexities of filing a lawsuit against a government entity. As you found out in this article, you will have to meet tight notice deadlines, so you must take prompt action.

We understand that you are reeling and in shock, especially if your child suffered severe injury. But you need to seek justice against the fault driver and their ultimate employer. We fight extremely aggressively on your behalf, especially in the aftermath of a school bus tragedy when innocent children are hurt. Call us: 855-664-0273!

Consulta Gratis
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