Blended learning in the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) has started, so thousands of students will be traveling to and from school on buses operated by Durham School Services. Again, it’s time to remind motorists to maintain an awareness of children waiting for, boarding and getting off of school buses and onto a sidewalk safely. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration defines a school bus accident as any crash involving a vehicle of any design being used as a school bus that is directly or indirectly involved in the crash, including children getting in or out of a vehicle. As per the National Safety Council, 109 people across the country died in school bus accidents in 2019. Most of those accidents occurred between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. when students are on their way to school or on the way home.
Some Common Causes of School Bus Accidents
Like other motor vehicle accidents, school bus accidents are almost always caused by the carelessness and negligence of either the school bus driver or somebody else. Here are some common causes of such accidents:
- Distracted driving like adjusting dashboard controls or mirrors, using a mobile phone while in motion or student passengers who divert the attention of the school bus driver.
- Overloaded school buses with no place for students to sit and inadequate safety features. These buses are also more difficult to maneuver and stop.
- Insufficient maintenance, especially in the context of tires and brakes.
- Driving too fast for traffic, road or weather conditions.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.
- Hiring unqualified drivers or insufficient driver training.
- Risky school bus driving behavior.
CVUSD Liability for School Bus Accidents
It’s important to reiterate that school bus service to and from CVUSD schools is provided by Durham School Services, and that’s who employs the drivers for CVUSD students. In the event that an accident was caused by a school bus driver, it’s unlikely that a victim’s family will prevail over CVUSD. However, if CVUSD was to fail to put sufficient safety measures in place or enforce those measures, children would be exposed to the dangers that such measures are intended to prevent. Under those circumstances, CVUSD could be held liable for injuries suffered by a student in a school bus accident.
School Bus Accident Statute of Limitations
The general rule in California is that a person claiming injury from an accident has two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If its driver and Durham Student Services are the only two defendants in a CVUSD school bus accident, a minor would have two years from his or her 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. Of course, his or her parents could bring that lawsuit at any time before the child’s 18th birthday. The rules change though if CVUSD is contemplated as a defendant. A detailed notice of claim must be served on CVUSD within six months of the date of the accident pursuant to sections 910-913.2 of the California Government Code. Depending on how or whether CVUSD responds, the victim’s parents might only have a short time after that to file a lawsuit on behalf of their child. You’ll want to consult with us at Quirk Accident & Injury Attorneys, PLC as soon as you can about a school bus accident with your child as a victim.
Damages in School Bus Accidents
Like most people, you’ll likely need help with the bills if your child has been injured in a school bus accident. A school bus driver, his or her employer or a school district might be held liable for a variety of damages. Here are some examples of those damages:
- Past medical bills and medical bills reasonably expected to be lost in the future.
- Lost earnings if your child has a part-time job after school and on weekends.
- Any permanent disfigurement or disability.
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Other substantial damages in the event of a tragedy and a wrongful death.
Contact a Bus Accident Lawyer Today.
A school bus accident can leave a child physically and emotionally traumatized. Parents are likely to feel overwhelmed, especially when the bills start coming in. Quirk Accident & Injury Attorneys, APC in Thousand Oaks can help with any school bus accident involving Durham Student Services, CVUSD or any other school bus company or school district in Southern California. Don’t delay. After your child has been injured in a school bus accident, preserve and protect your rights and the rights of your child by contacting us for a free consultation and case review.
If we’re retained to represent you and your child, we’ll timely and thoroughly prepare the case so that we can pursue the maximum amount of compensation. Remember that timing is critical in seeking compensation for injuries and damages in any school bus accident. Contact us for that consultation as soon as you can.