Has Your Child Been Injured in a School Bus Accident?
School buses are often the most convenient way for many families to get their kids to and from school. Additionally, school buses also transport children to sporting events and field trips. However, unfortunately for some families their child ends up getting hurt in a school bus accident.
At Premier Law Group, our Seattle school bus accident lawyers will provide representation and compassionate service to victims and families dealing with the aftermath of a school bus accident. Therefore, our school bus accident attorneys will investigate the accident. Furthermore, we will work to recover the full and fair compensation you and your child need to fully recover.
School Bus Safety Regulations in Washington State
Meanwhile, the Washington state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)’s Student Transportation group oversees the transportation of Washington Students. Moreover, the state authorizes the office to oversee the training and qualifications of school bus drivers.
What’s more, the office is responsible for funding operations and the school bus depreciation and replacement systems. Furthermore, the office also manages the bidding process for school buses. Also, student Transportation works in association with the Washington State Patrol to inspect school buses to ensure their safety.
What’s more, the OSPI publishes regulations for school bus safety in Washington State. These include:
- Washington State School Bus Driver Handbook
- School Bus Specifications Manual
- School Bus Stop Violation Camera Systems Specification
- OSPI/WSP Inspection Interpretations
- School Bus and Traffic Safety Education Vehicle Inspection Manual
How Are School Bus Accidents Investigated?
Another key point is that school bus accident investigation should begin right away after the crash. That is to say, victims and witnesses may lose memory of the accident over time. Additionally, investigations must determine fault. Moreover, the accident may be the result of failing to comply with safety regulations, policies and procedures or vehicle failure.
Further, not only do investigations determine fault, they also prevent future accidents from occurring. Also, accident investigations usually highlight safety issues to introduce safety features and/or training in the future.
More importantly, school bus accidents undergoe tedious investigation. That is to say, in most cases involving school bus accidents, multiple groups and entities conduct their own investigations. These investigations include:
- The local/responding police department
- The bus driver who will submit an “incident/accident report”
- The school district will likely have a supervisor create a “supervisor’s crash report”
- The busing contractor will conduct an investigation
- The attorneys representing injury victims may hire a private investigator
- Insurance companies representing possible defendants may hire a private investigator
What You Should Know About School Buses
Moreover, the following is a list of some of the school bus contractors in the State of Washington:
- Baumann & Sons Buses, Inc.
- Cook Illinois Corporation
- Dean Transportation Incorporated
- Durham School Services
- First Student, Incorporated
- Harlow’s School Bus Service, Incorporated.
- Kobussen Busses, Ltd
- Landmark Bus
- The TransGroup, LLC
The following is a list of some of the school bus manufacturers in the State of Washington:
- Blue Bird Corporation
- IC Bus
- Starcraft Bus
- Thomas Built Buses, Inc.
- Collins Industries
- Girardin Minibus
- Trans Tech
- Van Con
- Lion Bus
The following is a list of types of school buses:
- Type A – Cutaway Van. These are the smallest-sized buses. The typical passenger capacity for these buses ranges from 30-36 passengers.
- Type B – Integrated. These buses are slightly larger than Type A. However, they also hold about 30-36 passengers.
- Type C – Conventional Bus. These buses are constructed from a bus body mounted on a medium duty truck chassis. Typical passenger capacity ranges from 36-78 passengers.
- Type D – Transit Bus. These buses are constructed from a bus body mounted to a separate chassis. Typical passenger capacity ranges from 54-90 passengers.
Student Transportation Safety Issues
Most importantly, school buses, as part of the transportation industry, are highly regulated. Furthermore, they undergo federal monitoring during manufacturing and also when a school bus is out for field trips. Additionally, the state regulates school buses when the bus is being regularly used.
Moreover, states have extensive regulations for school buses through motor vehicle and education laws. However, school districts also apply their own policies to school bus operations such as:
- Lack of seat-belts on school buses
- School bus capacity concerns
- Number of students per seat
- Driver training
- School bus outsourcing
Non-Conforming Vans Used for Student Transportation
Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) is a federal law that prohibits non-conforming vans in school bus transportation. What’s more, it closes a loophole that previously only led to penalization for dealerships when selling the vehicles to school districts.
What’s more, in 2006, a study by the National Transportation Safety Board found that a majority of states have failed to take any action in following up on SAFETEA-LU.
School Bus Driver Safety Training
Further, training for drivers of school buses is different than for drivers of other buses. For instance, school bus drivers generally receive specialized training regarding passenger management, loading and unloading procedures, and vehicle evacuation. Furthermore, they also receive additional training in transporting, assisting, and monitoring special-needs children.
How Are School Districts and Bus Drivers Held Accountable?
Additionally, school districts should hire drivers with few traffic violations, if any. Similarly, bus drivers must drive with caution and care to keep children safe. However, these responsibilities are not always met and when they are not, kids get hurt. Moreover, this is when it is helpful to have a skilled Seattle area school bus accident lawyer on your side.
- Negligent hiring of school bus drivers
- Failure to maintain buses properly
- Driving too fast for weather conditions
- Allowing kids out of their seats while the bus is in motion
- Failing to stop at railroads crossings
- Failing to put out the stop sign
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Defective brakes and other parts
Also, we are dedicated to our clients. What’s more, we aim to get you the compensation you deserve so your child can recover and your family can heal. Moreover, our child injury attorneys will review the circumstances of the accident to determine what happened. Further, we will gather evidence to present to insurance companies and juries. In short, we want to maximize the compensation your child receives while they focus on recovery.
What Causes School Bus Accidents?
The most frequent causes of school bus accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Violation of hours of service regulations
- Aggressive driving
- Defective vehicle
- Driving while intoxicated
- Dangerous road conditions
An experienced attorney can review the case, gather evidence, and help build a strong case in your favor.
Contact a Dedicated School Bus Accident Attorney
Finally, the best thing you can do after a school bus accident is to contact Premier Law Group. Furthermore, you can speak directly with one of our school bus accident lawyers.
We know how devastated you must be after your child is injured in a school bus accident. Moreover, it is important to us that we speak with you and hear your concerns. We will fight for you and your family, so your child can focus on their recovery. Also, Premier Law Group is proud of having excellent client communication, and we will keep you updated about your claim, and answer any question you might have along the way.
The proper attorney will aim to protect your health, emotional well-being, and finances, and give you useful resources. At Premier Law Group, our goal is to inform everyone who contacts us about their legal options. Contact Premier Law Group for a FREE school bus accident case review today. Call 206.285.1743. As always, you don’t have to pay a penny until we win!