School Bus Accident in West Palm Beach: Duty of Care, Liability, and At-Fault Parties
Each day, more than 25 million children ride on school buses across the United States. While the vast majority of them return home safely, some end up in school bus accidents.
There is nothing more devastating than seeing your child in pain, or worse, attending the funeral of your child after a school bus crash. More often than not, school buses are owned and operated by the government, which makes the personal injury claims process even more complicated.
Claims against government entities in Florida are subject to stricter guidelines and include shorter time limits for bringing a lawsuit. It is not advised to handle an injury liability claim after a school bus collision on your own. Instead, contact a West Palm Beach bus accident attorney to recover maximum damages on behalf of your child.
School Bus Accident in West Palm Beach
Earlier this month, The Palm Beach Post reported that four people were injured in a crash involving a school bus. No children were on board the school bus at the time of the West Palm-area crash.
The collision between a school bus and another vehicle occurred shortly before 1:30 p.m. in suburban West Palm Beach. While the cause of the crash was not determined, four people were hospitalized after the accident near the intersection of Elmhurst Road and Westgate Avenue. The school bus driver suffered minor injuries.
Heightened Duty of Care in School Bus Crashes
School buses carrying children owe a heightened duty of care to ensure their passengers’ safety. Florida law recognizes the need for extra protection of children, which is why school bus drivers must use extreme caution and follow strict rules and regulations to protect their passengers.
The liability applies when children get injured while onboard the bus. However, in certain circumstances, the school bus driver has a duty to ensure the safety of the children when picking up or dropping off.
Liability in School Bus Accidents in Florida
More often than not, determining fault in a school bus accident is more complicated than in regular auto accidents because (a) most school buses are operated and owned by government entities, and (b) multiple parties can be at fault.
Liable parties may include the driver, the school entity, school bus owner, vehicle manufacturer, and municipality, country, or other local government entities if:
- The school bus was not operated with due care
- The school bus had manufacturing or design defects
- There were maintenance issues with the school bus
- Lack of safety measures
- Inadequate or missing traffic signs
- The driver’s failure to monitor a child’s safe crossing of a street
- Failure to verify traffic has stopped before permitting a child to exit the bus
To ensure your child’s safety, make sure you read these school bus safety tips.
At-Fault Parties in School Bus Accidents
Parties that can be held responsible for school bus collisions include:
- Bus manufacturer
- The driver of the school bus
- The driver of another vehicle
- Parts manufacturer
- Contractors for bus repair and maintenance
- School entity
- Government entity responsible for roadway design and maintenance
- Private school
- School district
- Owner or operator of the school bus
Liability depends on the specific laws and local regulations that exist for school buses and their owners, operators, and drivers in the area where the accident occurred. Talk to a West Palm Beach bus accident attorney to determine liability in your school bus crash. Contact Pike & Lustig, LLP, to receive a consultation. Call at 561-291-8298.