North Carolina children should be able to safely cross the street to their school bus, and, most of the time, they can do exactly that. However, even when parents take all the proper precautions, school bus related accidents can sometimes happen.
More students are killed while getting on or off a school bus each year than are killed as passengers inside of a school bus. School bus crossings, while seemingly routine, can turn dangerous in only a matter of seconds. When your kids ride the school bus, you expect them to be safe and get to their destination without any problems, but unfortunately, that is not the case for all.
North Carolina School Bus Driver Responsibilities
According to the North Carolina school bus driver handbook, passenger stops should be made in safe places only. Motorists approaching from both directions should have a clear view of the bus for a distance of at least 500 feet, if possible. If a school bus stop is not safe, it is the school bus driver’s responsibility to report the unsafe stop to their supervisors.
Additionally, bus drivers should activate their amber warning lights 300 feet in advance of the passenger stop. Other tasks a school bus driver must do when load and unloading include checking for danger, only opening the door when it’s safe to do so, and they now must signal to children when it’s safe to cross.
Multiple things can lead to a child getting hit and injured while crossing the road after exiting a school bus. In some cases, the school bus driver doesn’t turn on their warning lights or pull their stop sign to give drivers around them an adequate amount of time to recognize and stop. In other cases, the bus route was poorly designed by the county’s board of education, putting the children in vulnerable scenarios. For instance, the board of education may require a child to cross the street to board the bus even though later in the route the school bus will be passing by on the side of the road where the child’s home is located. In other words, if the board of education simply added another stop on the child’s side of the road, he or she would never have to cross a dangerous road.
Settlement of School Bus Accident Claims
The first party to typically offer to settle a personal injury or wrongful death claim after a child is struck while crossing the street to board the school bus is the automobile insurance company for the driver who struck the child. When the at-fault driver’s automobile insurance is insufficient, your attorney should evaluate whether there was negligence on the part of the school bus driver or the board of education.
Maginnis Law has handled multiple high publicity school bus accident cases. In 2014, 11-year old, Michael Burgess Jr was hit by a car while crossing the road to get on the school bus. Our lead injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard, was able to pursue and settle a case against the driver that hit Burgess, and against the Wake County school board. Similarly, Shawn Howard has been recently retained as trial counsel on a wrongful death case regarding a child who was struck and killed by a car while crossing the road to board her school bus in 2013. The claims against the school board may need to be filed in Superior Court as well as the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Maginnis Howard is experienced in both venues.
Representation for School Bus Crash Cases
The Raleigh attorneys of Maginnis Howard handle school bus wreck cases on a contingency fee basis – meaning that you and your child pay no attorneys’ fees unless and until a settlement or verdict is recovered. We offer reduced attorneys’ fees for most cases involving children. Our lead personal injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard, is experienced in handling complex school bus accident cases. He has been on the forefront of trying to ensure that children have rights when the school system incorrectly forces them to cross dangerous roads. If you would like to schedule a free consultation with Shawn, call Maginnis Howard at (919) 526-0450 or visit the contact page.