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If your child was involved in a school bus accident in the Los Angeles area, you owe it to yourself and your family to explore your legal options. Negligent parties from the driver to the mechanics to the municipality may be liable for damages. Speak to an attorney today for a free case review.
School bus accidents are among the most frightening type of bus accident because they involve our precious little ones. Whether you are a parent or not, the idea of innocent children on their way to or from their educational establishment being stripped of their bright futures is a disturbing thought. While buses are a relatively safe mode of transportation with their large size, closely-spaced seats, tall seat-backs and mandated three-point safety harnesses, there have been a number of school bus accidents in Los Angeles, California that are cause for concern. The Los Angeles bus accident attorneys at Salamati Law are committed to investigating these crashes to determine where negligence and fault resides, so we can improve the safety of our public transportation systems for students.
Why hire a school bus accident lawyer?
Contacting an attorney may be the last thing on your mind during those world-stopping moments when your child is being cared for by medical providers. Broken bones, whiplash, brain damage, disfigurement, internal bleeding, organ perforations, paralysis, and death are some of the most common injuries we see in Los Angeles, CA school bus accidents.
We can help you obtain compensation to lessen your financial burden and hold those accountable for the negligence that contributed to the crash. For many families, the successful follow-through of legal action is a necessary part of the healing process. They need to know that their children’s injuries did not occur in vain, and that a similar tragedy cannot happen to other parents.
A school bus accident lawsuit may pay for:
- Past medical bills and ongoing medical treatments
- Disability-related devices and home modifications
- Your lost wages as you care for an injured child
- Mental health expenses for conditions like PTSD or anxiety disorder
Whether it’s been a few weeks or a few months since your child’s school bus accident, calling an experienced attorney for a case evaluation will help you explore your full set of options, without cost or obligation. When it comes to speaking with an attorney, the sooner the better, as there is a statute of limitations for bringing legal action. You have up to two years to file a lawsuit involving buses operated by private schools, but California law gives you as little as six months to file if the accident involved a public school bus.
Liability issues in Los Angeles, CA school bus accidents
Who is responsible for these accidents? We tend to think of the school bus drivers as negligent in these cases, and sometimes that is true. For instance, in January 2015, an Anaheim driver was charged with child endangerment when it was discovered he had an undisclosed medical condition that caused him to pass out at the wheel. Four children were injured in the resulting bus crash with serious injuries ranging from shattered spines and broken bones, to internal bleeding and toe amputation. In January 2017, a Whittier school bus driver pleaded guilty to leaving a non-verbal special needs child strapped inside a hot bus for over seven hours. Other national cases involved bus drivers who were driving intoxicated, texting while driving, sleep-deprived, or driving recklessly.
In addition to school bus drivers, there are other entities that may be at least partially responsible for a crash. In April 2016, a railroad crossing arm pierced a school bus carrying eight special needs children. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but if injuries had ensued, the parents could have sued the municipality tasked with maintenance. Municipalities are also held liable for crashes related to poor roadway maintenance, unsafe or malfunctioning bus crossings, and city trucks involved in crashes. For instance, the Los Angeles City Council agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a group of lawsuits filed following the death of two boys who were killed when a malfunctioning city trash truck crashed into their school bus in December 1995. The investigation revealed that the truck had been flagged for mechanical problems and that the truck driver failed to perform a pre-trip inspection.
School bus companies can be sued when they fail to exercise diligence in hiring, training or overseeing drivers, or when they fail to maintain their fleet of buses in proper working order. First Student Inc. agreed to pay $11.5 million to the San Francisco Unified School District and two mechanic whistle-blowers after it was revealed the company buses had worn brakes, threadbare tires, and other safety issues due to improper maintenance. Over a nine-month period, First Student records showed 300 inspection violations and misrepresentation of inspection results that very well could have resulted in accidents and injuries.
Pedestrians and other drivers at risk
Pedestrians and other motorists account for a good deal of those injured in school bus-related accidents. Federal government statistics reveal that 90 percent of school bus-related deaths from 1975-2014 were people who were not on the bus itself. Two thirds of the victims died after being struck by the bus. Children riding in other vehicles accounted for 150,000 injuries involving a school bus.
The mother of a 13-year-old Harvard-Westlake student took action after her daughter was run over in a school bus crosswalk in 2010. Though no one was ultimately held liable for what the LAPD called a “horrible, heart-wrenching accident,” the girl’s mother pushed for greater oversight by the California Highway Patrol to cut down view-obscuring eucalyptus trees, lengthen the crossing signal, show bus safety videos to students, urge cars to slow down in school zones along Sunset Boulevard, and consider moving drop-off and pick-up locations to less busy traffic circles.
School bus accident lawyer Los Angeles
Sean Salamati and his team pursue maximum compensation for school bus accident victims in Los Angeles. Since 2005, the Salamati Law Firm has investigated complex cases, resulting in settlements and awards ranging from the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. You can expect prompt and compassionate communication during the entire process of building a case supported by fact and expert testimony. There are no legal fees unless we win money on your behalf.
Additional school bus crash resources
- ABC – School Bus Driver Charged http://abc7.com/news/school-bus-driver-charged-in-anaheim-hills-crash/469347/
- NBC – Bus Driver Charged in Death of Special Needs Child http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Bus-Driver-Charged-in-Death-of-Special-Needs-Student-373565671.html
- SF Gate – Firm to pay $11.5 million to settle SF school-bus lawsuit http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Firm-to-pay-11-5-million-to-settle-SF-school-bus-7945955.php
- LA Times – City to Pay $3.5 Million in Fatal Bus Mishap http://articles.latimes.com/1998/may/21/local/me-51961
- LA Times – Bereaved mother turns grief into action on school-bus-stop safety http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/13/local/la-me-groves-mother-20120813