School Bus Accidents

Motor Vehicle Collision Lawyers for Residents of Traverse City and Grand Rapids

School buses are considered a safe way to transport children to and from school and on field trips. More than 850,000 students are transported on more than 17,000 school buses each school day throughout Michigan. Although school buses are usually safe, there are sometimes school bus accidents that result in serious injuries to children. Many accidents happen while a child is getting on or off a school bus. If your child was injured because of negligence by a school bus driver or another driver, you should consult the Grand Rapids and Traverse City school bus accident attorneys at the Neumann Law Group for guidance on your options.

Pursuing Legal Action After a School Bus Accident

After a school bus accident, you must first turn to your no-fault auto insurance policy. Most children are covered by parents’ policies as resident relatives. The no-fault insurance should cover medical bills, other expenses, and services like day care or child care during the recovery period.

However, when a child’s injuries rise to a certain level of seriousness, you may enlist a personal injury lawyer to help file a lawsuit against an at-fault bus driver and the employer of the bus driver. Under Michigan law, school bus drivers are protected by the Governmental Tort Liability Act, which provides immunity from tort liability when an employee is acting within the scope of their authority, the governmental agency is in the exercise of a governmental function, and the driver’s actions are not considered gross negligence. Gross negligence is defined as behavior so reckless that it shows a substantial lack of concern for whether injuries will be caused by the behavior.

Although most school bus accidents involve a collision of some sort, a bus accident may also involve injuries to students at the hands of a bus driver. In Michigan, someone employed by a local school board may use “reasonable physical force” upon a student in order to provide an environment conducive to safety or learning, and they will not be liable for exercising that physical force. However, a claim may be appropriate if the force used was excessive under the circumstances.

In some instances, a private company may own a school bus. In this case, you may be able to sue the private company for ordinary negligence that caused your child’s injuries, and you may also have a claim for negligent hiring. To establish ordinary negligence, you will need to prove that the private school bus driver breached the duty to use due care, and this breach caused your child’s injuries. For example, a driver who was speeding or drunk while driving is likely to be found to have breached the duty to use due care. A private bus company that failed to conduct a background check or knew of a driver’s past DUIs but looked the other way, for example, may be held liable for negligent hiring.

Types of Damages Available to Plaintiffs in a Michigan School Bus Accident Claim

Victims of school bus accidents may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages from the responsible parties. Economic damages encompass tangible losses that can be readily assigned a monetary value, such as medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, property damage, and more. Importantly, economic damages in Michigan are not subject to any cap or dollar limitation.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, encapsulate intangible losses that are not easily quantifiable in monetary terms. These may include pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of society, loss of companionship, and similar elements. The valuation of non-economic damages is often determined by the discretion of a jury, reflecting whatever compensation they deem suitable for a specific harm.

Contact a School Bus Accident Attorney in Grand Rapids or Traverse City

An injury to a child may be traumatic for an entire family. If you are dealing with the aftermath of this event, the Traverse City and Grand Rapids vehicle accidents lawyers at the Neumann Law Group may be able to help you recover damages. We accept clients for all sorts of negligence claims, including medical malpractice, product liability, and slip-and-fall accidents. We represent injured people in Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Wyoming, Saginaw, Muskegon, Midland, Holland, Warren, and Petoskey, as well as other communities served in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We also serve clients out of our California, Massachusetts, and New York offices. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free appointment with a motor vehicle collision attorney.

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