Kansas City School Bus Crashes: Legal Recourse for Victims
A recent Kansas City area school bus accident left seven children and the bus driver injured. While the cause of the bus crash remains under investigation, it is known that the bus struck a guard rail, went into a ditch, struck two trees and then came to stop in a creek. The injured children and driver were taken to the hospital to be treated, but there were no serious injuries or deaths, according to the Kansas City Star.
The incident illustrates a nightmarish scenario for parents of the more-than-26 million children who ride a school bus each weekday, according to the American School Bus Council (ASBC). However, the parents of these seven children ultimately breathed a sigh of relief at the day’s end as they tucked their little ones into bed. Earlier this year, the parents of one nine-year-old girl were not as lucky.
The girl was waiting at her bus stop when the bus ran a stop sign, hopped the curb and collided with the child, killing her upon impact. The driver was not even aware that he had struck the little girl until children riding the bus told him. Bus video revealed that the distracted bus driver had been focusing on his cell phone seconds before he crashed into the girl.
This shocking bus accident is part of a frightening threat to school children as more than 800 children are killed each year while traveling to and from school, according to the National Transportation Research Board (NTRB).
Liability for Bus Accidents
For the parents of children who are seriously injured or killed in Missouri bus accidents there is the painful, yet necessary, task of holding responsible parties liable for the harm they caused. Both metro buses and school buses are common carriers, meaning they owe their passengers the highest degree of care in transporting them.
While each accident has different circumstances, some of the parties that may be potentially liable include:
- Bus Drivers: The driver may be liable to the victim’s family if he or she was driving negligently, carelessly or recklessly. If the driver was under the influence of alcohol, or drugs (illegal, prescription, or even over-the-counter), then he or she will often be held liable for the resulting injuries. Distracted bus drivers who cause bus accidents by using their cell phone for talking or texting while driving are also acting negligently. Abrupt stopping that injures passengers is another scenario where negligence may be present.
- Bus Companies: The bus driver’s employer has a duty to properly hire, train and supervise drivers. A bus company is also responsible for maintaining the buses and making sure they are safe for passengers.
- Bus Manufacturers: If people are injured because of a defect in the vehicle, the manufacturer may be held liable. Both manufacturing defects and design defects commonly occur. If a stairway contains material that becomes dangerously slippery when wet, the manufacturer could be liable for injuries to a passenger that slips and falls.
- Third-Party Drivers: If another vehicle is wholly or partially responsible for a bus accident, then injured bus passengers may hold that person liable.
After a Bus Accident
If you or your child has been injured in a bus accident, you should promptly contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney. A reputable attorney can investigate the accident, find the responsible parties and hold them accountable so that you and your family can focus on healing.