School Bus Accident Lawyer | Staver
Bus Accidents

Chicago School Bus Accident Lawyers

It’s a scary thought, but accidents with school buses happen. The National Safety Council reported 108 deaths caused by school buses in 2021. Even though these vehicles are generally safe for other motorists and school children on board, there can still be accidents. If you’re in an accident involving a school bus in Chicago or anywhere in Illinois, you may have questions about compensation and what’s available for your losses.

The school bus accident lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., are ready to hear your story and help you fight for the damages you deserve. School bus accidents can be complicated, and you stand a better chance of being made financially whole with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Call (312) 236-2900 to schedule your free, no-risk consultation.

Who is Liable for a School Bus Accident?

Like accidents with other vehicles, you must identify the party responsible for a school bus collision. Personal injury claims rely on proving liability by establishing who was negligent. By legal definition, someone is negligent if they have a duty of care to others, they breach that duty, and that breach causes injury or damages to someone else.

In a school bus accident, several parties might be negligent:

  • Bus drivers: A bus driver could be at-fault if they drive recklessly, breaching their duty to operate the bus on public roads and transport children safely.
  • School districts: While they may not be driving the bus, a district or its leaders could be found negligent for a crash if they should have taken action but didn’t. For instance, if there was inclement weather and they didn’t cancel school.
  • Bus companies: If a business owns the bus, they must maintain the bus and ensure it’s safe to use. They can be held responsible if the bus’s disrepair contributes to your damages.
  • Bus manufacturers: There could be a defect with the bus before the driver, district, or company takes ownership of it.

Although the fault may appear obvious in a school bus crash, your attorney will be a huge benefit in determining who holds liability in your claim. In some cases, multiple parties can share liability. More information and certainty about who was at fault for your losses is critical to recovering the most compensation possible.

Common Causes of School Bus Accidents

School buses are much larger than passenger vehicles, and the drivers must be especially careful while driving students around other drivers. However, like other accidents, various factors can cause school bus crashes.

Some crashes have more than one reason for happening. Your attorney can investigate to help determine what contributed to the collision so you know what kind of claim to pursue.

Typical reasons for a bus crash include:

  • Bus driver error: Like other drivers, a school bus driver should be sober and alert. However, they could be using drugs, alcohol, or driving while fatigued or distracted. Anything that takes their attention off the road could cause injuries.
  • Inadequate training: Bus drivers must hold a commercial driver’s license to transport students of any age. That means they must be adequately trained and vetted. If they lack training or experience, the driver or the district could be held accountable for your crash.
  • Defective parts: School buses need properly functioning equipment to be safe. Broken or malfunctioning parts could lead to crashes.

Each case is unique, but these are common reasons for accidents with school buses. Discussing your personal injury lawyer is necessary to build the proper case.

Damages Available after a School Bus Crash

Bus accidents can cause significant damage to other drivers and their vehicles. After all, the size difference between school buses and passenger cars could mean severe injuries if you’re hit by a bus. This is regardless of how fast a school bus is going.  Fortunately, like other personal injury cases, you can pursue compensation for all your economic and non-economic losses.

Economic losses are the ones you pay for out of your pocket. Any direct expenses caused by the bus crash could be eligible for compensation if you can prove the bus accident caused them. You can seek compensation for medical bills, property damage, or lost wages. You can verify these losses with bills, receipts, or other reports.

Non-economic losses are more subjective but represent the losses and hardships related to your accident and injuries. Suppose that you are paralyzed after your crash. You can pursue compensation for the loss of quality of life your paralysis has created. Other non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.

Challenges to Getting School Bus Accident Compensation

Just because you might be entitled to compensation after a bus accident doesn’t mean it will be easy. You should work with an injury lawyer to make sure you can identify the at-fault parties and understand how much compensation you’re entitled to.

Shorter Statute of Limitations

If your case requires you to file against the school district, you face a shorter deadline to file a lawsuit. School districts are public entities, so you must notify them of the lawsuit within six months of your accident and file within one year.

Disputed Liability

In some cases, the at-fault parties might deny their part in the accident or blame you. Under Illinois law, you cannot pursue a personal injury claim if you share more than 51% of the fault for your damages. Anything less than 50% will allow you to seek compensation, but any settlement amount will be reduced proportionally. This idea is called “comparative negligence.”

Say you were awarded $500,000 after a school bus driver hit you. If the judge or jury finds you were 10% at fault for the crash, like if you were texting when you should have been focused on the road, your settlement will be reduced by 10%. Instead of the full amount, you’ll only receive $450,000 in this situation.

How to File a School Bus Accident Claim

A claim against a school bus driver or district can be complex. Because school buses might be government-owned, there are more steps than you’d typically need to take with a “normal” personal injury case.

First, you must file a notice of your claim with the Attorney General and the Clerk of the Court of Claims. You have one year from the accident to file your notice. Your notice will provide essential information, like your name, address, date of the accident, where it happened, a description of the accident, and your doctor’s information.

Once your notice is filed, you can proceed with your lawsuit. Under the statute of limitations, you’ll have two years to file a lawsuit, but you must first file a notice.

Why You Need a Lawyer for Your Bus Accident Claim

You should be focused on recovering after being injured by a school bus and trust your legal battles to an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer. They can investigate your case, find the liable parties, prepare your notices and claims, and lead negotiations with the at-fault parties. You need time to recover, and a lawyer can help you find peace of mind after you’ve been hit by a school bus.

Call a Chicago Bus Accident Lawyer Now

If you’ve been hit by a school bus in Chicago, call the personal injury lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. We understand how traumatizing accidents can be and know that school buses can cause significant damage. Don’t go through this alone, especially if a bus accident created severe upheaval in your life.

Call (312) 236-2900 to schedule your free consultation or contact us online. We’ll explain your rights and how we can help. Staver Accident Injury Lawyers operates with a “no win, no fee” policy, so there’s no risk. Get started today.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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