What to Do if Your Child is Injured on a School Bus in Ohio | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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If your kid gets injured on their school bus, you might not know who to trust next.
Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
April 25, 2023

As a parent, you trust your child’s school to keep them safe from when they step onto the bus to when they return home. So if your kid gets injured on their school bus, you might not know who to trust next.

That’s where an experienced Ohio child injury lawyer can step in. Learn who could be liable for your child’s school bus injuries, how to hold them accountable, and ways to recover financially. Call Kisling, Nestico, & Redick, LLC at 1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule a free consultation.

Steps to Take if Your Child is Hurt on a School Bus

The first and most crucial step if your child is injured on a school bus is to seek immediate medical attention. A healthcare provider can assess their condition, treat them properly, and prevent further harm.

As soon as you can, document your child’s injuries. Take photos of visible wounds, make copies of medical records and bills, and jot down information you can gather about the incident, such as the date and time. This documentation will be helpful evidence when building your case.

The next step is to contact a trusted child injury lawyer. Schools are notoriously challenging to take legal action against. Without a lawyer’s help, you might miss out on the opportunity to obtain compensation. KNR will fight for you and your family to recover, even if school administrators try to ignore the issue.

Common Causes of Ohio School Bus Injuries

Your child might have been injured on their bus ride for many reasons. Common causes of school bus injuries include:

School Bus Accidents

Any type of motor vehicle accident can cause injuries that require long-term treatment. However, a school bus crash can be especially devastating due to the precious young lives at risk.

School bus drivers are considered “common carriers,” meaning they must exercise the “highest degree of care” toward their passengers to keep them safe. If a bus driver ran a stop sign or drove distracted, they could be liable for the accident.

However, crashes can still occur even if a school bus driver upholds their duty of care. Another motorist on the road may have been driving recklessly, or unforeseeable conditions could’ve interfered.

If your child was injured on the school bus in an accident, your attorney can help you determine who is at fault for the collision and seek compensation to cover your child’s damages.

Bullying or Assault

Children have a right to be safe on all school property, including buses. But unfortunately, a lack of supervision on the school bus can enable bullies and leave victims vulnerable. If your child was assaulted on student transportation, notify school personnel immediately.

Ohio law requires school administrators, teachers, and other employees to undergo anti-bullying training. School personnel should appropriately address your child’s incident and reasonably try to prevent future occurrences. You may have to go up the chain of command, but proper actions should be taken when you talk to the principal or school board.

If school officials continuously fail to respond or make empty promises to address bullying, show them you’re serious by hiring aggressive legal representation. Your attorney might be able to prove school personnel were negligent and failed to reasonably prevent injuries due to bullying.

Maintenance Errors

Maintenance errors can also contribute to school bus injuries. Seats, windows, warning lights, and other bus equipment must be regularly inspected to meet safety standards. If a faulty brake, defective product, or other malfunction caused your child’s injuries, contact a lawyer right away.

Under Ohio law, bus owners and operators must keep repair and maintenance records for every student transportation vehicle. Your attorney can gather copies of the school’s records and other vital evidence to help determine liability in your child’s injury case.

Who Is Liable for School Bus Injuries?

Liability refers to the party responsible for compensating you for damages. Multiple parties may be liable depending on the details surrounding your child’s injury.

If your child’s injuries resulted from a bus crash or maintenance error, liable parties may include:

  • The school bus driver
  • The bus driver’s employer
  • The driver of another vehicle involved
  • A third party, i.e., the manufacturer of a defective bus part
  • The school district, if the damages were caused by their willful or wanton misconduct

If your child’s injuries resulted from bullying on the school bus, the following parties may be liable:

  • The parents of the bully
  • The teacher or adult who abused your kid on the school bus
  • School administrators who failed to reasonably prevent or address the bullying

Every case is unique and can become complicated by school policies and sovereign immunity laws. This is one of the many reasons why having distinguished, knowledgeable legal help is valuable. A lawyer can investigate your child’s case, establish fault and liability, and help you fight for total compensation for your family to recover.

How Sovereign Immunity Affects Liability

“Sovereign immunity” refers to a set of legal protections that governmental entities have against being held liable. Victims might be unable to sue after an accident if the liable party falls under immunity laws.

Since public schools are governmental entities with sovereign immunity, it can be challenging to sue one for school bus-related damages. There are cases where you may be able to sue a public school district, but it’s important to consult a lawyer to discuss possible legal actions.

Private institutions are not immune. If your child’s school bus injury case involved a private school, you may be able to hold the school liable for damages.

Sovereign Immunity Exceptions

There are a few exceptions to sovereign immunity. You could pursue a lawsuit against a public school district for your child’s injuries if the school exhibited willful or wanton misconduct.

“Willful or wanton misconduct” means explicitly disregarding others’ safety. The at-fault party knew (or should’ve known) their actions were likely to cause injury yet continued to behave recklessly.

For example, if a bus driver operated their vehicle while intoxicated, sovereign immunity might not protect the school district that hired them. Or, if your kid was left on the bus for hours without anyone noticing, the school may be liable for any injuries since they failed to report a missing child.

If you have questions about sovereign immunity or suing a school district for bus-related injuries, seeking experienced legal guidance is imperative. These laws are tricky, so your case will need a sharp legal eye to discern if the at-fault parties are immune or could be held liable.

Compensation in School Bus Injury Cases

You might be entitled to compensation for various damages caused by your child’s school bus accident. There may be economic damages, non-economic damages, or a combination of both for your case.

  • Economic damages are losses attributed directly to a dollar amount. For example, medical bills related to the school bus injury would be an economic damage you can recover.
  • Non-economic damages are intangible losses that do not have a specific monetary value. For example, pain and suffering as a result of the school bus injury is a non-economic damage.

Your child injury lawyer will calculate the full value of your case, utilizing expert testimony and evidence to pursue the amount you are entitled.

Contact an Ohio Child Injury Lawyer at KNR

Parents often feel helpless when their children get hurt on the ride to or from school. This is particularly true if school administrators seem to brush the issue aside and leave you to cover the costs.

You do not have to go up against the wrongdoer alone in the fight for your child to get justice. Kisling, Nestico, & Redick, LLC has represented thousands of Ohio personal injury victims of different ages and circumstances and are prepared to handle your school bus accident case. When you need a knowledgeable child injury lawyer to guide you through your kid’s recovery, contact KNR.

Contact our Ohio child injury lawyers online or at 1-800-HURT-NOW to get started on your case.