In April 2018, the Illinois Department of Transportation released the state’s 2016 traffic crash data. This is the most current data we have about Illinois accidents. During 2016, there were 1,650 school bus crashes in the state of Illinois. Two of these school bus accidents were fatal, and more than 260 of these crashes resulted in injuries. The accidents happened throughout the state, but predominately in urban areas.
In 2016, the people killed in Illinois school bus accidents were not passengers on the bus. Instead, they were in other vehicles that were involved in school bus collisions. However, the injuries that occurred included people on school buses, people in other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists.
How School Bus Accidents Happen
It can be challenging to determine who is at fault for the crash that resulted in your child’s injuries. After all, you were not present at the time of the accident and you don’t know what happened. However, a thorough investigation can determine if one or more of the following parties were negligent and is therefore at fault for the crash:
- The school bus driver. If a school bus driver is distracted, drowsy, drunk, or is otherwise negligent, then the driver may be liable for the crash and resulting injuries.
- Another driver. Sometimes it is a driver other than the school bus driver who causes a collision. In this case, your child may still recover for her school bus accident injuries, but the proper defendant may not be the school bus driver, the transportation company, or the school district. Instead, it might be the driver of the other vehicle who caused the crash.
- The school transportation company or school district. If the transportation company or school district that employs the school bus driver was negligent in the hiring or training of the driver or allowed the driver to violate safety rules and that resulted in a crash, then the transportation company or the school district could be responsible for your child’s injuries.
- The mechanic who serviced the bus. If the mechanic was negligent in diagnosing or fixing a mechanical issue on the bus and the bus was involved in a crash as a result of the mechanic’s negligence then the mechanic could be liable for your child’s injuries.
- The bus manufacturer. If the bus had a manufacturing defect and that defect caused the bus crash then the manufacturer could be liable for your child’s injuries.
You can expect that any potential defendant in a school bus crash case is well-represented by counsel and that the applicable insurance company will be trying to minimize your child’s claim. Therefore, it is important that a full investigation is completed. This may include:
- Talking to witnesses
- Reviewing the police report and any internal investigation completed by the bus company
- Photos and any video footage
The evidence gained from this investigation can then be used to negotiate with insurance companies or to prove your claim in court.
What to Do If Your Child Has Been Hurt in an Illinois School Bus Crash
Do not try to represent your child’s interests on your own. Your child has too much at stake. Since your child did not cause his own personal injury accident, he may be able to recover for the injuries he suffered due to someone else’s negligence. These damages could include compensation for past, current, and future medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other losses.
Our experienced Illinois personal injury lawyers are here to help you help your child at every step of the way. We will investigate what happened, we will identify the right defendants, we will negotiate with the appropriate insurance companies, and if necessary, we will fight for your child’s fair recovery in an Illinois courtroom.
You have nothing to lose and much to potentially gain by contacting us to help your child. Our lawyers are paid on a contingency fee basis. That means that you won’t owe us any up front legal fees and, instead, we will be paid a previously agreed upon percentage of your child’s recovery.
Your time to pursue legal action on your child’s behalf is limited by Illinois law. Accordingly, we encourage you to contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We would be pleased to meet with you and to review your child’s rights and possible recovery in one of our Illinois offices located in Bloomington, Gurnee, and Rockford, or even at your home. Contact us via this website or by phone today to learn more.