School Bus Accident Attorney in Montgomery Alabama
School bus accidents in Alabama are rare, but when they do occur, they can have tragic consequences for an entire community. When a school bus accident occurs and children are injured or killed – or others become victims of the accident, such as another driver or pedestrian struck by a school bus – questions of liability and justice come to mind.
If your child has been injured or killed in a school bus accident, our law firm knows that there is nothing that we can do to undo what happened. However, we can aid you and your family in seeking justice and holding a school bus driver or other negligent parties liable for what happened, and represent you in seeking damages for your losses. If you or a loved one has been involved in a school bus accident in Alabama, please contact the office of Chip Nix Attorney at Law to schedule a free consultation today.
Common Causes of School Bus Accidents
School bus accidents, like nearly all accident types involving motor vehicles, happen because of an act of negligence. Some of the most common causes of school bus accidents include:
- Bus driver error. Bus drivers have an extremely high duty of care when operating a school bus; after all, they are responsible for the lives of children. This means that there is no leniency when it comes to drinking while driving, distracted driving, fatigued driving, speeding, or aggressive driving. Unfortunately, these actions do occur, and when they do, lives are at stake. In some cases, the bus driver may be improperly trained to drive the bus.
- Negligence of another driver. In some cases, the bus accident may not be the fault of the bus driver, but instead the fault of another driver who is a party to the accident. Driving unsafely around a bus, such as failing to stop when children are loading or unloading, passing a bus too closely, or tailgating a bus can all be deadly actions.
- Bus defect. Drivers are not always at fault for accidents involving school buses. Manufacturers of school buses must manufacture buses free from defects, and school districts (or private busing companies in some cases) must ensure that their buses are well maintained and serviced in order to be safe. If a bus is manufactured with a defective part, or if it is not maintained and repaired on a regular basis, a breakdown could happen, leading to a crash.
Who Is Liable for My Child’s Injuries?
If your child was harmed in a bus accident in Alabama, you probably want to know who was responsible and against whom you can file a lawsuit.
Under the theory of vicarious liability or respondeat superior, a school bus driver usually cannot be held independently liable; their employment status protects them from this. Instead, assuming the bus driver was acting within the course of employment, even if the bus driver was at fault for the school bus accident, their employer will be liable.
Because an employer is often liable for a bus driver’s actions, this means that a suit must be filed against a school district – the party responsible for hiring and training bus drivers, as well as maintaining and servicing buses.
Other parties that may be held liable include other third parties, such as a third party driver, or a third-party manufacturer. In some cases, schools will use a private bus company for school bus services, in which case the company may be held liable if their negligence, or the negligence of one of their employees, caused the accident.
Filing a Lawsuit Against a School District
There are different regulations and laws for filing a lawsuit against a school district – which is an entity of the state – than there are for filing claims against private individuals or private companies. In fact, under the laws of sovereign immunity, many states entities are completely immune from liability except for in certain, specific situations.
While you can file a lawsuit against a school district in Alabama, it is important that you work with an experienced school bus accident lawyer who can guide you through the process of doing so. For example, you must file a notice of claim in Alabama before you file your actual lawsuit, and the time limit to file the notice of claim is shorter than is the statute of limitations for claims against private persons. Further, punitive damages – which are damages intended to punish the defendant – are prohibited in claims against the government in Alabama.
Why You Should Work with an Alabama School Bus Accident Attorney
School bus accidents are very emotional, and school bus accident claims have the potential to be very confusing and complex. Without an experienced lawyer on your side, you may make legal errors that prevent you from recovering compensation for your and your family’s losses at all.
An attorney also understands the claims process and what it takes to successfully defend a claim. At the office of Chip Nix Attorney at Law, we will conduct a thorough investigation into the precise cause of the bus accident, including who is liable. We work with accident reconstruction experts, forensic specialists, witnesses, and even medical experts to build a strong case. Once a case is built, we negotiate with insurance adjusters to maximize a settlement amount.
If push comes to shove and a claim cannot be settled out of course, we have the experience and resources necessary to litigate for your family in court.
Contact Chip Nix Attorney at Law Today
There is nothing worse than losing a child, and knowing that your child has suffered a serious injury because of another person’s irresponsible actions can be devastating. At the office of Chip Nix Attorney at Law, we care about your family, and want to help you recover the compensation you deserve. To learn how our Alabama school bus accident attorney can represent you and support you after a bus crash, call us today or visit us online. We are reachable at 334-279-7770.