School buses are statistically one of the safest methods of transporting a child to school. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), only about six or seven children die from school bus accidents nationwide each year, representing less than 1% of all traffic-related fatalities. The Montana Department of Transportation reported 1,025 fatalities and serious injuries from traffic accidents in 2016. If school bus accidents represent less than 1% of all these injuries and deaths, that means there were still about 100 school bus accidents during 2016.
Although these incidents are statistically rare, parents should still know what to do after a child suffers any type of injury in a school bus accident. When a school bus accident occurs in the Billings, Montana area, the attorneys at Heenan & Cook, PLLC can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your school bus accident claim.
How Can an Attorney Help Me in a School Bus Accident Case?
An attorney can help the parents of a child injured or killed in a school bus accident determine their legal options. Most school buses operate under state funding, meaning they sometimes qualify for sovereign immunity. This legal concept protects government agencies and offices from civil claims from private citizens under certain circumstances. Montana Code 2-9-108 states that a government entity is not liable in a tort action for any damages exceeding $750,000 for a single claim or $1.5 million for a single occurrence. This can make it difficult for the parents of an injured child to secure compensation for a school bus accident, and a good Billings personal injury attorney can help navigate the available options for legal recourse.
Why Choose Heenan & Cook, PLLC?
- The attorneys at Heenan & Cook, PLLC. have more than 40 years of combined experience handling personal injury claims in Montana.
- We believe in offering every client personalized attention from an attorney for the duration of a civil claim.
- Our attorneys have extensive experience with trials. If a settlement is not feasible or would not amount to adequate compensation for our client, we are unafraid to go to trial and persist through intense litigation.
- We offer contingency fee billing to ensure our clients can secure legal representation when they need it most, regardless of financial concerns. A contingency fee means that we only collect legal fees when we win.
What Do I Do if My Child Is in a School Bus Accident?
The first priority after any traffic accident should be the safety and welfare of those involved. Parents should ensure their injured children receive prompt medical attention and secure a copy of the medical report from the attending physician. This report will include a full breakdown of the child’s injuries, prognosis, and potential for future complications or disabilities. This document will be crucial in pursuing legal action against the responsible party, and identifying the responsible party is the next priority.
It is possible for a school bus accident to occur from the negligence of the bus driver or a third party. The police will respond to the accident scene and conduct an investigation and report their findings in a police report. This document is another crucial element of any school bus accident case. While taking legal action against a government entity or school district can be challenging, a claim against a negligent third party will be much more straightforward.
What Can Parents Do to Prevent School Bus Accidents?
Unfortunately, there is little parents can do to prevent school bus accidents. However, parents can proactively research their child’s school district, bus service, and local accident data and arrange alternative transportation to and from school if they see fit to do so. They can also educate their children on things that can distract their drivers and increase the likelihood of an accident. Ultimately, school buses are one of the safest options for taking kids to and from school, but parents should still know how an attorney can help when an accident does happen.
When Should I Contact an Attorney?
After addressing your child’s immediate medical issues following a school bus accident, contact a Billings personal injury attorney as soon as possible to start discussing your options for legal recourse. The attorneys at Heenan & Cook, PLLC are available to represent school bus accident cases in Billings, Montana, so contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.