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SCHOOL BUS-RELATED ACCIDENTS IN BUCKS COUNTY
Have you or a loved one been injured in a school bus accident? If so, turn to the lawyers at the Bucks County law firm of Kats, Jamison & Associates for the skills and knowledge to handle your case. Our Bucks County accident lawyers understand your rights and will fight to recover any and all damages and compensation to which our clients are entitled – whether it’s medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, present or future lost earnings, physical disabilities, scarring, limb loss, brain and head injuries, emotional distress, depression, anxiety, and pain and suffering.
You can trust that our 30 years of experience as school bus injury attorneys have given us an understanding of the issues that help our clients, their friends and family, medical experts, long-term care planners, and others. Our goal is to make sure that our clients receive not only exceptional legal representation, but also first-rate support and medical care.
ABOUT SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENTS IN BUCKS COUNTY
School buses transport 4 million children over some 5.76 billion miles in the United States annually, carrying them to school, on field trips, and more. Every day, school bus drivers carry the lives of our children in their hands, and they generally handle our most precious of cargo safely and skillfully. However, school buses are not immune to traffic accidents – whether the fault belongs to the bus driver or another vehicle’s driver.
There are many factors in play that can contribute to injuries in school bus accidents. Most of their riders are young children, who are of course smaller than adults and thus likelier to suffer injuries. Because most school buses are not equipped with seatbelts, the potential for injury in the case of an accident is higher than in other vehicles. Overcrowding can increase risk of serious injury as well, particularly if students are sitting three to a seat, sitting in the aisle, or standing.
Because school buses are such large, heavy vehicles, they carry an increased likelihood of causing serious or fatal injuries to pedestrians or passengers in other vehicles in the case of an accident. In fact, since 1990, only 9 percent of the fatalities in school bus-related accidents have been passengers in the school buses.
POTENTIAL DEFENDANTS IN SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENT CASES
In Pennsylvania bus accident cases, the defendant is the individual (though there can be multiple individuals or parties) whom the injured accident victim is suing – typically for negligence. Defendants may be held responsible for their role in causing the school bus accident, and thus for the resulting injuries and damages to the victim. In these cases, the defendants are most likely to be:
- Bus drivers
- Bus companies
- Local cities or counties
- School boards, superintendents or supervisors
- Drivers of other involved vehicles
A noteworthy proportion of bus accident cases are caused by bus drivers driving in recklessly, carelessly, negligently, or distractedly, and as a result colliding with another vehicle. In other cases, another driver may commit negligence in the course of colliding with the school bus, while the bus driver is not at fault.
Serious bus accidents can be caused by defects in products or equipment. In such cases, the bus accident victim may pursue a products liability cause of action against a repair facility or manufacturer of bus parts.
PLAINTIFFS AND FAULT IN SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENT CASES
In school bus accident cases, the plaintiff is usually an injured bus passenger or pedestrian. The plaintiff must prove that negligence has been committed by the defendant by demonstrating that:
- The defendant owed a legal duty of care to drive safely and carefully under the circumstances
- The defendant breached the duty of care, typically by driving carelessly or recklessly
- This breach resulted in the accident victim suffering serious injuries and damages
- The accident victim did, in fact, suffer serious injuries and damages
COMPENSATION IN BUCKS COUNTY SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENT CASES
An injured school bus passenger may pursue monetary recompense if any of the following types of damages were sustained in the bus accident:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Lost wages or earning ability
- Emotional or mental distress
- Pain and suffering (past, present and future)
- Inability to engage in normal events and activities
INITIAL SETTLEMENT OFFERS FOR SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENT CASES
It is common in the case of school bus accidents for insurance adjusters to make a modest initial settlement offer to end the case quickly and cheaply. These offers are generally far less than you actually deserve, so if you receive one, consider the pros and cons carefully before accepting.
Filing a lawsuit at this time is often very effective, as the defendant’s insurer is highly likely to respond with a better settlement offer. Keep in mind, however, that filing a court complaint does not guarantee that your case will go to trial. In fact, many personal injury cases are settled prior to – or on the day of – the trial.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A TYPICAL BUS ACCIDENT INJURY TRIAL?
When the bus companies or school board disputes its liability in a bus accident case, a trial may become necessary. However, going through a trial can be a stressful and time-consuming processes, which is something to consider when you are weighing a settlement offer against the potential of going to court.
Here is what you can expect to happen in a personal injury trial:
- Witness depositions and jury selection
- Opening statements
- Plaintiff’s case presented
- Defendant’s case presented
- Closing arguments
- Jury instructions
- Jury deliberations
Cases can be settled at any point up to (and including) the date of the jury trial, but at the point when the case has been turned over to the jury for a verdict, any pending settlement offers become null and void. There is only limited appeal ability in these cases.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING A BUS ACCIDENT TRIAL?
If you are the plaintiff in a school bus accident jury trial, your attorney will most likely call you to the witness stand to testify. If liability or fault is in dispute, additional witnesses may be called to the stand – for instance, eyewitnesses from the accident scene or expert witnesses (such as doctors and other healthcare providers who may have treated your injuries).
Consider your testimony an opportunity to share your story with the jury – describing the problems that your accident and injuries have caused in your life.
Categories of witnesses who may be called to testify in school bus accident cases:
- The injured accident victim
- The bus driver (often called by the plaintiff’s side as an “adverse witness”)
- A representative of the city, county or school board responsible for the involved school bus
- Eyewitnesses to the accident
- Police officers and other relevant investigators
- Accident reconstruction experts
- The plaintiff’s adult family members or friends
CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION AND CASE EVALUATION
A legal team that represents Bucks County school bus accident victims requires dedication, effort, expertise, and aggressive investigation. At Kats, Jamison & Associates, our highly experienced personal injury attorneys investigate every claim carefully in order to offer our clients the finest representation and the best possible outcomes.
If you or someone in your family has been injured in a school bus accident, call the premier Bucks County personal injury attorneys of Kats, Jamison & Associates at (215) 396-9001 or contact us online.