School bus accidents seem to occur on an almost weekly basis in New Jersey, and a recent incident has claimed the life of a high school cheerleader. Although this student was severely injured by a hit-and-run driver, her parents believe that the school bus company also contributed to the tragedy. Regardless of the outcome, this lawsuit illustrates the enormous responsibility shouldered by school bus companies. After all, school buses transport society’s most precious resource: Our children. In many ways, school buses are responsible for ensuring the future of New Jersey. What can you do if your child is injured in a New Jersey school bus accident? Can you take the same route as these parents and file a lawsuit?

Cheerleader Suffers Fatal Injuries After Disembarking from School Bus

Family Sues School Bus Company After Serious Hit-and-Run in New Jersey

In March of 2024, it was reported that a cheerleader had suffered critical injuries after a fatal hit-and-run in Newark. The student was in the process of disembarking a school bus when she was struck by a driver who subsequently fled from the scene. This cheerleader had just finished competing at a cheer competition, and her mother had sent an Uber to pick her up from the bus stop. Her Uber was waiting across the street, but the student had never reached it. 

It is not clear whether the hit-and-run driver was ever located or charged. Faced with few options, the parents turned their attention toward the school bus company. In their view, the school bus driver should have engaged warning lights and deployed a side-mounted stop sign before the children were allowed to disembark. They also allege that the driver should have warned their passengers when it was safe to cross the street. In their lawsuit, the parents claim that these failures represent clear negligence. 

The cheerleader survived the incident, but she suffered a traumatic brain injury. Due to the nature of these injuries, her educational journey may be over. Her parents state that there were numerous colleges ready to accept her upon graduation. She was planning on majoring in journalism and business management. Although her long-term prognosis is not clear, she may have to abandon all hope of a fulfilling, successful career due to the nature of her brain injury. Her mother was allegedly forced to quit her job in order to see to her daughter’s needs in the hospital. The loss of income associated with this case could be significant. 

The Newark Board of Education has declined to comment on this lawsuit, citing an internal policy not to comment on pending litigation. Despite the clear and obvious hardships endured by the entire family, it is not clear whether this lawsuit will actually succeed. 

Illegal Passing of School Buses in New Jersey: What Do the Laws Say?

Passing a school bus is illegal in New Jersey. The Department of Transportation states that if a school bus has its red lights activated, you must stop at least 25 feet back. It is only legal to pass the bus once all students have boarded/disembarked. In some situations, it may be legal to pass the bus at 10 miles per hour – but only on the opposite side of the road. 

If you violate these laws, you could face up to 15 days in jail. However, the law clearly states that this only applies if a school bus has its red lights activated. Furthermore, the law states that drivers can proceed legally once the red lights have stopped flashing. If a school bus driver fails to engage these flashing red lights, drivers may have no idea that students are about to disembark or board. They may assume that the school bus is stopping for some other reason. 

With all of these factors in mind, it may become very important to uncover what was happening at the moment of the cheerleader’s accident. Did the bus driver really fail to engage the flashing red lights? Did some kind of mechanical defect prevent the lights from turning on? These are just a few q questions that may need to be answered as this lawsuit moves forward. 

Find a Qualified Bus Accident Lawyer in New Jersey

If you need an experienced school bus accident lawyer in New Jersey, look no further than Lependorf & Silverstein. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured plaintiffs across the Garden State – including those who have experienced the devastating effects of bus accidents. We know how life-changing these incidents can be, and we are ready to help you pursue compensation for your damages. To discuss the specifics of your situation in more detail, book a consultation today.

The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over thirty years.

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