The American School Bus Council brings awareness to school bus safety each year through National School Bus Safety Week. Safe transportation for our children is important to all families. Though this is obvious, accidents involving school buses and children entering or exiting a school bus still occur with alarming frequency.
Because school children have a low profile, when they are struck in the vicinity of a school bus, there is greater likelihood that the driver does not realize that they injured a child and continues to drive while rolling over the child or dragging the child from the original accident site. Either way, massive injuries can occur.
Personal injury sustained by children can be devastating. Though children generally tend to “bounce back,” some injuries can result in permanent disability. On a personal level, I grew up with a classmate who was run over by a negligent car driver after he exited a school bus. He survived, but he suffered extensive facial scarring and burns in the accident. He was left permanently disfigured.
While children tend to recover from fractures, fractures that affect growth plates can have a devastating impact on the child’s growth and development. Likewise, a concussion is often self-limited, resulting in full recovery. However, a significant percentage of concussions result in lifelong cognitive damage that can affect the child’s school performance and interpersonal relationships with other children and adults.
Another factor that leads to personal injury or wrongful death around a school bus is irate drivers who ignore traffic rules and speed around a stopped or stopping school bus. These drivers, experiencing road rage for reasons completely unrelated to the school bus, will accelerate and barrel around the bus into a blind spot. This can result in a glancing blow that will send the child to the pavement where they sustained a head injury, fractures or abrasions that result in permanent scarring. Modern buses are equipped with safety equipment that is designed to prevent these types of accidents, including warning lights and extendable stop signs. There is simply no reason for a child to be injured when entering or exiting a bus.
If you witness an injury to a child by a driver, be sure to stop to assist the child. It is alos important to take down the license number of the wrongdoer who may attempt a quick get away or not recognize that they struck the child. Do not let the wrongdoer hit and run.
Other bus accidents include those that occur in the normal course of traffic. When a car or truck crashes into a bus, serious personal injuries and wrongful death can also occur. Children typically are not restrained by seatbelts, so they are flung about the cabin of the bus, resulting in multiple impacts. Backpacks can also be flung about the cabin of the bus, thereby causing injury.
Always practice safe driving around school buses. If you have questions about a case contact a medical mistake lawyer, like the attorneys at Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A., to have your questions answered and see if you have a case.