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Government Immunity in School Bus Accidents

Being entrusted with our most precious assets does not make a school bus driver exempt from committing reckless errors while driving.

Every year in the United States, over 24 million children are transported back and forth to school, covering over 4 billion miles in the process. Despite their bright colors and special safety features, they are still at times responsible for accidents on our roadways. Considering the weight and size of a school bus in comparison to a passenger vehicle, you can imagine that the injuries incurred will be severe. Trying to be compensated for a school bus accident is not the same as a typical accident, so it would be beneficial to seek the advice of an attorney who has prior success with litigation involving government entities.

missouri school bus

Responsibly of Bus Drivers

Being entrusted with our most precious assets does not make a school bus driver exempt from committing reckless errors while driving. Consider what happened outside of Kansas City this past August. Eighteen 6th graders got hurt when the bus they were riding overturned on a highway exit ramp. Excessive speed is said to be the cause of that accident, and the driver should have known to slow down before attempting to maneuver onto the curving ramp. Fortunately, no other vehicles were involved, and there were no fatalities, but many of the students suffered severe injury including spinal cord injuries and head traumas.

In Missouri, in order to become a school bus driver, you will need to have a special endorsement added to your CDL license. In order to get that you must complete at least eight hours of specialized school bus driving instruction. Additionally, you will be required to pass both a written and practical exam. Officials will then check your driving record before issuing you your special license. Once you apply for employment, the school district will most likely ask for fingerprints in order to conduct a background check.

Government Immunity

Since most school buses are owned and operated by public schools, the drivers may be entitled to government immunity if they are involved in an accident.  The government will sometimes lift immunity in car accident cases, but will still require that the plaintiff prove a greater level of fault in the drivers’ actions. Since laws vary from state to state, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Missouri car accident lawyer if you have been involved in a bus accident in Missouri.

Out in Lafayette County, the operator of a small pickup truck successfully received compensation after an accident with a school bus caused disc herniation in his spine. He was traveling along a highway when the bus suddenly entered directly in his path from a side street. Evidence shows that the driver did not do a thorough check of traffic flow before proceeding into the intersection. A jury agreed and awarded the plaintiff $300,000. They assigned only 10% of the blame to the victim.

St. Louis Bus Accident Lawyer

Any lawsuit filed that includes government employees would be handled best by an experienced attorney. If you or your child have been hurt in a school bus accident the best way to receive full compensation for your injuries is to retain a qualified bus accident attorney.

The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. has been helping those involved in car accidents in Missouri and Illinois for 25 years. If you have been involved in an accident call our law firm at (314) 361-4242 or contact us online to schedule a free and private consulation with a qualified St. Louis auto accident attorney.

photo credit: bsabarnowl

Updated: October 9, 2020