Many parents in the Seattle area rely on their school districts to transport their children to and from school and other activities. Most often, Washington schools will use school buses to transport students, although they may use vans or other vehicles for transportation.
No matter the type of vehicle, though, districts have an obligation to make sure that students arrive at their destinations safely.
Unfortunately, this does not always happen.
In some cases, school districts hire drivers, either as independent contractors or as employees, who lack the judgment or experience to transport children.
This can lead to driving mistakes like speeding, not paying attention to railroad crossings or even drunk or drugged driving. Such errors can lead to serious collisions that can leave children emotionally and physically scarred.
Bus accidents do not always involve collisions with other vehicles
Drivers also have an obligation to protect the children riding in their vehicles from pedestrian accidents and other accidents not related to a wreck.
For example, a driver may forget to extend the bus’s stop arm and lights and put a child outside the bus at risk of getting hit. Bus drivers also have to do what they reasonably can to keep children safe on the bus and seated.
Because parents entrust their children to their care, school districts have to take appropriate steps to prevent these sorts of accidents from happening, as they can be just as serious as accidents related to collisions.
For instance, if a child who isn’t seated gets tossed around in the event of a sudden stop or turn, he or she could suffer broken bones or even a traumatic brain injury.
Dealing with child injuries related to school transportation can be difficult. Schools and their insurance companies may not want to admit responsibility or pay what they owe. Furthermore, legal deadlines and other rules may apply.