Suing for a School Bus Crash in New JerseyIf you are a parent in New Jersey, you may be alarmed to discover that school bus crashes are relatively common – not just in the Garden State but around the entire nation. The truth is that school bus operators are rarely the “cream of the crop” when it comes to professional drivers, with most of the talented, responsible individuals opting for higher-paid jobs. Of course, school bus crashes are not always due to the negligence of school bus drivers. Plenty of school bus crashes are caused by other reckless drivers on the road. But what exactly can you do if your student is injured in a school bus crash? Can you sue?

School Bus Never Arrives at Bridgewater School

Parents were waiting with increasing anxiety at Mount Horeb Elementary for a school bus that failed to arrive. These concerned family members were forced to wait for a full 30 minutes before learning the news that no one ever wants to hear — the school bus had crashed. The driver was an 80-year-old who was reported to be “visibly disoriented,” and it was later confirmed that he had suffered a “medical episode.” The details of this medical emergency were never revealed, but it seems to have led directly to the crash. It is not clear why an 80-year-old with medical issues was trusted to drive a school bus filled with children.

The crash, as it turns out, was minor. The school bus driver struck a parked car while pulling into a parking lot. No students were injured, and first responders quickly arrived at the scene to make sure everything was okay. The elderly individual was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, however. The school quickly issued a statement, assuring parents that they would quickly respond to any concerns. Some parents will undoubtedly raise concerns about whether the elderly individual was ever fit to drive in the first place and why the school decided to employ him for such an important role.

The truth is that this situation is quite common across New Jersey and the entire nation. A quick Google search will reveal countless cases of school bus drivers engaging in questionable behavior, crashing their buses, and even getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. So why are school districts employing these individuals? To some extent, they do not have a choice. As previously noted, many school bus drivers are simply the only people willing to do this job. Like many jobs in the education world, pay is low. Professional drivers can earn much more in other fields, such as trucking or ridesharing.

The only people remaining are those who cannot work as truckers, taxi drivers, delivery drivers, or rideshare drivers. These may be elderly individuals, people with questionable driving records, and other unideal candidates.

Can I Sue for School Bus Crashes?

The claim that school districts “do not have a choice” when hiring negligent school bus drivers does not really hold up in court. A school district can indeed be held accountable for its hiring practices. The fact that there are only unsuitable candidates available does not give the school district free reign to hire people who have no business getting behind the wheel of a school bus.

If your student has suffered injuries as a result of a school bus crash, you may have the opportunity to sue. In fact, parents sue school districts for these crashes all the time. In January of 2023, parents sued a school district in Kentucky for a school bus crash that caused two students to become injured. The school bus driver had just finished a full-time shift at another job when she got behind the wheel, and the plaintiffs argue that her driving “was so careless that it was grossly negligent and exhibited a reckless disregard for the safety and well-being of the students in her care.”

Where Can I Find a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney in New Jersey?

If your student has suffered injuries in a school bus crash, it always makes sense to get in touch with an  experienced personal injury attorney in New Jersey. Choose Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., and you can immediately get a sense of your legal options during an initial consultation. With our assistance, you may have the opportunity to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. This lawsuit can provide you with compensation for your student’s injuries and their emotional distress. Reach out today to get started.

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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