School is back in session, and big yellow school buses have returned to New Hampshire streets. Our state sees more than 2,600 school buses on our roads, transporting some 169,000 students annually. As one of the most heavily regulated vehicles, school bus transportation is estimated to be as much as 11 times safer than the transportation of students in a private passenger car. Not only are school bus drivers well-trained, the buses have numerous safety features such as reinforced sides, stop-sign arms, and flashing red lights to reduce the risk of accidents.
Despite all the precautions, school bus accidents still occur. National Safety Council reports show 1,107 people died and approximately 128,000 were injured in school bus accidents between 2012 and 2021. The overwhelming majority of those killed or injured in these accidents were occupants of vehicles other than the school bus.
Though representing only a small percentage of all motor vehicle accidents, school bus crashes can be a terrifying, damaging event with far-reaching repercussions. If you or a loved one has been injured in a New Hampshire school bus accident, you need legal advice as quickly as possible. Call the New Hampshire school bus accident lawyers of Tenn And Tenn, P.A. at 888-332-5855 or contact us online today for a free consultation. We help all New Hampshire accident victims, from Lancaster to Nashua, fight for the compensation they deserve.
What are the common causes of school bus accidents?
Driver negligence is the leading reason for school bus accidents. Like any other motorist, some school bus drivers may become distracted or drowsy while driving and cause an accident. Some may also engage in unsafe driving practices such as speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, or checking their blind spot before changing lanes, braking, or backing up. Other motorists, too, may behave negligently and cause a school bus to crash.
Defective or poorly maintained buses are another common culprit. Although school buses should be inspected regularly, problems with brakes, tires, steering, or other parts may go undetected and result in an accident.
Inclement weather may also contribute to a crash. Heavy rain, sleet, fog, or snowy weather can make it more challenging for school bus drivers to maneuver the bus or react to certain traffic conditions, increasing the risk of an accident.
Who may be legally responsible for a school bus accident?
Identifying who is at fault and legally responsible for injuries arising from a school bus can be complicated. More than one party may be involved, including:
• The school bus driver. If a bus driver’s negligence or reckless behavior caused an accident, they may be liable for injuries arising from the crash.
• The school bus owner. The owner of a school bus has a duty to ensure that a school bus is well-maintained, inspected twice a year, and that its drivers are well-trained and certified. Owners who fail to uphold their duties might be legally responsible for damages from a school bus crash. However, the issue becomes very complex if a government agency or school district owns the bus. Government agencies and school districts have municipal immunity, meaning they can only be sued under specific circumstances. If you believe a government entity is responsible for a school bus crash, talk to an experienced New Hampshire personal injury lawyer immediately.
• A maintenance provider. Sometimes accidents arise because a service provider fails to properly maintain the bus or correct a mechanical issue or defective part. Under these circumstances, they may be liable for injuries arising from a crash.
• The school bus manufacturer. School bus manufacturers are responsible for making buses free from material defects and promptly informing the public of any defects discovered. If a school bus crashes due to a defective part, the company that manufactured the bus or the defective part may be liable for damage.
• Another motorist. New Hampshire has strict laws that other motorists must adhere to when operating a vehicle near a school bus. If a motorist failed to follow those laws or otherwise acted negligently and caused a school bus crash, they may be the party responsible.
How can a personal injury attorney help?
If you’ve suffered injuries and property damage from a school bus accident, you may be entitled to compensation. A skilled personal injury lawyer is instrumental in helping you fight for the full and fair amount to which you’re entitled.
Talk to the experienced New Hampshire personal injury lawyers of Tenn And Tenn, P.A. today. We can evaluate your claim, investigate the accident to determine who was at fault, and gather the evidence you need to make a strong case. We’re also skilled at negotiating fair settlements and will file a lawsuit and represent you in court if necessary. If the school bus owner is a school district or governmental agency, it’s particularly important that you talk to us immediately.
Call Tenn And Tenn, P.A. today at 888-332-5855 or contact us online for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout the state, including Manchester, Laconia, Goffstown, and more. We’re ready to help you, too.