If you are a parent, you have no doubt worried about the safety of your little ones on school buses. However, school buses and MTA buses can injure bystanders, too.
For example, an 83-year-old man walking in Queens was recently struck and killed by a school bus. He was trapped under the bus and killed almost instantly. As of the writing, the cause of the accident is unknown.
If you or a loved one is injured by a school bus accident like this, do you know your legal options? We have put together a guide on your legal options if you are injured by a school bus accident, plus the special concerns related to seeking damages from public school districts.
Determining Liability in a NY School Bus Accident
Often, determining liability in a school bus accident is difficult.
For example, many school districts use charter companies to provide busing services. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, either or both parties could be held liable.
Similarly, when a third motorist or motorcyclist is determined to have caused the accident, this party could be held partly or fully liable.
Filing a Claim Against Public School Districts in New York
When the school district is held liable for the accident, you will need to file a lawsuit against the district immediately. Note, however, that because most public school districts are government agencies, they are immune from many forms of litigation under sovereign immunity.
As a general rule of thumb to successfully sue, you will need to prove that the accident was caused by negligence and/or breach of the duty of care owed to the victim(s).
You may also be able to seek an administrative remedy, although these remedies are often limited in scope.
An experienced New York school bus accident lawyer can help evaluate your options and determine how best to seek damages from the school district.
Procedures to File a Claim Against a NY School District
Filing a claim against a school district is not only more difficult than other types of cases, but it also requires special procedures. The first step will be to file a formal Notice of Claim with the district’s administrative offices.
Your notice should include the date and time of the incident, and the injuries suffered by the victim. You will also need to provide the monetary compensation that you are seeking as a result of those damages.
In most cases, an attorney’s expert guidance is necessary in order to properly file this type of claim.
New York Statute of Limitations on Filing Claims Against Schools
It’s also important to note that the statute of limitations when seeking damages from a school district is often much shorter than with other personal injury claims. In some cases, you may have as little as 60 days from the date of an accident.
If you or your child are injured by a school bus accident, you’ll need to act fast if you want to seek compensation to recover from these injuries. Know that in these cases, both determining liability and, if relevant, seeking damages from a public school district is complex and generally requires expert help.