Can You Sue a School Bus Driver? Breakdown & Analysis

We expect that our children are safe when we send them off to school each day on the bus. However, accidents involving school buses occur all too often, raising the question: can you sue a school bus driver for negligence or misconduct? Yes! You can sue a school bus driver; however, it is important that you have a competent personal injury attorney by your side to help you throughout the process. It is important that you understand your legal options and ensure that you are involved in the entire process. Let’s take a closer look at some of the circumstances under which a school bus driver could be sued, the legal grounds for the lawsuit, and the steps to take in pursuing your case.

Common Causes for Lawsuits Against School Bus Drivers

There are a few common causes for lawsuits against school bus drivers, one of the main ones being negligence. Negligence can include reckless driving, not following traffic laws, or not properly supervising the students on the bus. Accidents resulting from negligence often lead to severe injuries or even fatalities in some cases, which is one of the main reasons that legal action might be taken. Bus drivers might also be distracted by mobile devices instead of paying attention to the road, which is extremely dangerous, especially when transporting a bus full of children. 

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Improper training could also be a factor, as they might not have the right certifications, which could be grounds for a lawsuit in itself. This is a failure of the employer to make sure that their bus drivers are up to date on certifications and training. In some cases, if bullying or harassment from other students on the bus occurs, and the driver does not act to prevent further bullying or address the situation, it could be grounds for a lawsuit as well. 

Gathering Evidence for Your Case

Evidence is one of the most important parts of the legal process and is especially important when putting together a lawsuit against a school bus driver. It’s important to take note of everything you remember from the accident, such as the date, time, location, and the sequence of events that took place. Also, evidence such as photographs of the accident is crucial. 

It’s important to keep track of all medical records if there are any injuries and to seek immediate medical attention to make sure that all treatments are documented. This will prove as evidence that injuries did occur and that you received treatment at the scene. 

You should also get witness statements, as these are an important piece of evidence to take into account, such as the students, parents, or any bystanders. Video footage should also be taken if it’s available.

Keeping copies of any communications with the school, bus company, or insurance providers is important. Correspondence such as emails, letters, and phone calls can serve as important evidence in your case. 

The Role of School Districts and Bus Companies in Liability

When asking yourself, “Can you sue a school bus driver?” it is important to know the roles the district and bus company play in determining liability. Both have a responsibility to protect the children on the bus and have a few potential liabilities that can influence the outcome of the lawsuit.

School Districts

When you send your children to school, the school districts are responsible for ensuring their safety while being transported to and from school. This makes it more important than ever to have qualified drivers and adequate training and maintain a safety culture. When a bus driver is sued, this could fall under the doctrine of vicarious liability, which holds employers responsible for the negligent actions of their employees. Furthermore, school districts could face direct liability if it’s found that they were negligent, such as inadequate training or negligent hiring practices.

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Bus Companies

When bus services are outsourced, the bus companies assume a significant portion of the liability. Bus companies are responsible for the operations of the buses and drivers, such as hiring, training, and supervising the drivers and maintaining the buses. Similar to school districts, bus companies can be held liable for the negligent actions of their drivers.

Shared Liability

Usually, liability is shared between the school district and the bus company, depending on the circumstances. The courts will examine the contractual agreements between the district and the bus company and how the incident occured to determine liability. This shared liability makes it critical to prioritize safety and compliance with safety standards to make sure students are safe.

Steps to Take Before Filing a Lawsuit

There are a few important steps to take before filing a lawsuit, such as documenting the incident and seeking medical attention. Let’s check this out in more detail below.

Documenting the Incident

It is important to thoroughly document the incident, taking pictures, videos, and more as proof in your case. Get information on everyone who was involved so you or your attorney can contact them.

Seeking Medical Attention and Collecting Medical Records

It is important to seek medical attention even if you are not immediately hurt. Be sure to collect any medical records as well. This will be advantageous when proving your case to the insurance companies or in potential litigation.

Reporting the Incident to Relevant Authorities

It’s critical to get a police report from the accident, as this acts as evidence that there is a clear report that the accident occurred, who was involved, and to provide your take on what happened.

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Consulting with a Personal Injury Attorney

Don’t try to handle your case on your own; instead, hire a personal injury attorney to help you throughout the process. As your attorney, Mutrux Firm can help you throughout the entire process, from initial consultation, all the way to potential litigation. 

Gathering Witness Statements and Other Evidence

While at the scene, it is important to gather witness statements from anyone who might have seen the accident occur. This acts as viable proof of what actually happened and can be crucial in your case.

Understanding the Statute of Limitations

It is important to understand the statute of limitations within your jurisdiction. In most states, you have five years from the date of the accident to file suit. It is important not to wait and file suit immediately, as this gives your attorney enough time to assemble your case.

Exploring Pre-Lawsuit Negotiations and Settlement Options

Your attorney may be able to settle your case without filing suit. If this is the case, you will receive ample compensation from the school district or insurance company without having to deal with a lawsuit.

Potential Challenges in Suing a School Bus Driver

There are some potential challenges to suing a school bus driver that you should take into account. Some of the potential challenges include:

  • Government immunity
  • Burden of proof
  • Procedural hurdles
  • Collection of evidence
  • Insurance and settlements
  • Legal representation
  • Public perception
  • Mitigating factors

Each one of these issues could hinder your ability to sue a school bus driver, which is why it is critical to have an experienced attorney by your side throughout the entire process.  

Injured in an Accident? Get in Touch with Mutrux Firm Immediately!

Now that we’ve answered the question, “Can you sue a school bus driver?” you know how important it is to have an experienced attorney by your side throughout the entire process. If your child was injured in a school bus accident, Mutrux Firm Injury Lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Give us a call at (888) 550-4026 and get in touch with us for a free consultation and to get your case started.

Tyson Mutrux