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Richmond School Bus Accident | Blaszkow LegalSchool bus accidents are thankfully very rare, because so much care and attention is taken to selecting drivers, and to making sure that the school bus drivers are well trained. However, every now and again, these incidents do happen, and innocent people can be hurt. If that crash was due to someone's negligence, then you need to speak with an experienced Virginia school bus accident lawyer right away!

At Blaszkow Legal, our team of attorneys, paralegals, and investigators have made a career of getting justice for injured people, injured children, and their families, who have been hurt in school bus accidents.

School bus accidents have the potential to injure many people, not just on the bus, but elsewhere. Passengers, other drivers, and even pedestrians can be hurt when a school bus is driven negligently, or otherwise involved in a crash. If you or a family member have been hurt in a school bus accident, then contact our Virginia school bus accident lawyers to help you, and to help you get the compensation that you deserve!

School Bus Accidents in Virginia

2022 saw over 500 School Bus accidents. This represented a small portion of total motor vehicle collisions, thankfully. However, every accident averaged between two and three people hurt!

School buses are specifically designed to be easily recognizable, and we all know what it is to see a big yellow bus traversing the streets, taking children where they need to go. When dropping off passengers, their flashing lights are hard to miss - but some people still do.

What Happens When the School Bus Driver is At-fault in a Crash?

School buses can be involved in motor vehicle accidents when the driver operates the vehicle in a negligent manner. Instances of driver negligence include:

  • Failing to obey the rules of the road

  • Failing to meet his or her duty to drive the vehicle safely

  • Failing to use due regard for other motorists

  • Speeding

  • Failing to pay full time and attention to the vehicle

  • Using a phone or other electronic device while driving

  • Make a left turn across traffic without checking oncoming traffic

When a school bus is involved in accident, and the driver is believed to be at fault, then your claim is against the school bus driver, and against the school district. Public schools are considered government entities, which places your Virginia school bus accident into what is known as a "government tort claim." There are very specific procedures for how this is handled, because it is more complicated than just filing a claim with an insurance company!

In some cases, school district's contract with private companies to provider bus drivers (and even provide the buses, themselves!). However, even thought the school bus may be driven by a private company, there still may be a claim against the school district. Of course, this is very fact-specific.

If the school bus is owned and operated by a private-school, then the claim proceeds via the school's liability insurance carrier.

What Happens When Another Driver is At-fault in a School Bus Accident?

Many school bus accidents are caused not by the school bus driver, but by other motorists who are not paying attention to where they are going. These accidents are most commonly the result of:

When another driver strikes a school bus, your case is against that driver. If that driver was working at the time, then the injury claim be against the driver and the employer!

However, because so many people are injured, often the injury claims of school bus passengers have two parts: a claim against the at-fault driver, and also and through an underinsured motorist claim. Underinsured Motorist Coverage, called UIM, is specifically designed for instances when the at-fault party does not have enough liability insurance to compensate all of the people involved in the accident. Underinsured motorist coverage comes from a family's motor vehicle insurance policies however, even though this is coming from your own insurance, it cannot make your rates go up!

Knowing where UIM coverage can come from is vital, because most School Buses have minimum UIM coverage!

Have you or a loved one been hurt in School Bus Accident?

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school bus accident, fairfax county virginia 2Investigating Virginia School Bus Accidents

School bus accidents have to be investigated thoroughly, and effectively. Our team is trained to do exactly that. Modern school buses have many pieces of equipment that help us in these investigations. Most school buses these days are equipped with forward-facing cameras, as well as interior cameras. Some top of the line buses also have side view cameras, as well as rear cameras. This footage can be invaluable in helping us to reconstruct the crash, and to identify all of the at-fault parties.

Unfortunately, in many school bus accident cases, the school district will intentionally interfere with the investigation and try to suppress the footage, even if it does not believe that it is liable! This is unfortunate, but common. However, there are tools at our disposal to pursue the investigation, and protect your and your family's rights!

Using FOIA

When a school district refuses to provide camera footage after a motor vehicle collision, often we have to send a formalized request under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. Again, unfortunately, most school districts will either refuse to provide the footage, or will simply ignore the request, hoping that we go away.

When this happens, it is sometimes necessary to file a lawsuit solely for the purposes of enforcing our client's rights under the Act. This is never preferred, but sometimes it is required to get the appropriate information and evidence that we need to prove your case. When an insurance company denies a claim, it is often because of a lack of evidence, so providing the camera footage can tip the balance!

A lawsuit to obtain camera footage is initiated with a document called a Writ of Mandamus, and is filed in the General District Court.

Damages You Can Claim After a Virginia School Bus Accident

If you or a loved one have been hurt in a school bus accident, then you have the right to file a claim for your damages. This includes a claim if your children are hurt. The claim for your damages after an accident includes certain elements, such as:

  • Pain and suffering

  • Inconvenience

  • Post traumatic anxiety

  • Medical expenses

  • Future medical expenses

  • and more

Adults who have been hurt in a school bus accident often have additional items that they can claim, that do not apply to passengers who are children, including:

  • Time lost from work

  • Future time lost from work

  • Loss of earning capacity

Statute of Limitations on Virginia School Bus Crashes

Bus accidents are considered personal injury cases under Virginia law, thus imposing a two-year statute of limitations. This means that any lawsuit has to be filed within 2 years of the date of the crash.

However, because most school buses are operated by government entities, including school districts, there are other notice deadlines that have to be met. Some of these deadlines can run as soon as 6 months after an accident! If you do not file the proper "notice," then the governmental agency can defeat your claim on procedural grounds, leaving you with no recovery, at all.

It is extremely important to speak to an experienced crash lawyer right away after an accident.

Get Help From an Experienced Virginia School Bus Accident Lawyer Today!

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a school bus accident, our team is here to help you get the justice that you deserve. The school bus accident lawyers at Blaszkow Legal will help you at every step of the way, and will fight to get you and your family the compensation that you deserve.

These cases can be frustrating, and insurance companies' non-responsiveness can drive you mad. But rather than get made, enlist the help of a team that knows how to fight for you, so that you can take care of your family.

Call Blaszkow Legal today and Get Justice with Joe, anywhere in Virginia!

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