Bus and School Bus Accidents
Contributory Negligence Cases Against School Buses or City Buses
Sometimes the school bus driver can cause accidents.
And it depends whether the school bus is a government-owned vehicle or not. (Yes, many schools now give out contracts to private companies to transport your children to school).
If it is a government owned school bus or city bus, yes, you can recover, but it is much, much more difficult.
Remember, government makes the laws.
So, when government is involved in a lawsuit you can be certain that the laws will favor the government owned vehicles, schools, or lands which cause accidents.
And if you don’t give notice of your intention to sue early (sometimes as little as 180 days), your case can be barred forever.
This is called the Indiana Tort Claims Act. If a private citizen files a lawsuit against the State of Indiana or one of its political subdivisions, such as a town, township, county or school corporation then the old law of contributory negligence, applies (not Modified Comparative Fault as explained above in other cases involving private citizen versus private citizen or corporation).
When You Sue the Government, 1% Fault on Your Part Means You Lose
Contributory negligence is a harsh doctrine. Under it, a jury is instructed that they are only to award a verdict in favor of a plaintiff if they find that the plaintiff was not at fault at all in causing the accident or incident.
If the jury finds that a plaintiff is only slightly at fault, say 1%, then the plaintiff is not entitled to recover anything.
It’s an all or nothing allocation of fault and it often leads to unfair results where the defendant is almost totally at fault, but not completely 100% at fault.
We believe, however, that juries are smart. They realize that in these contributory negligence cases, that justice for the plaintiff should be done. That’s why it is so important to hire a firm like Shaw Law who has experience in handling contributory negligence claims and lawsuits from start to finish.
Bus drivers are typically required to take and pass the Commercial Driver’s test and be familiar with the CDL Manual in order to get a CDL License.
As professional drivers, they are required to have safety of the general public as their Number #1 goal — not making money.
Oftentimes, even bus drivers are paid by the speed of their delivery — your children. So, speed is an issue.
We had one such case against a private school bus company that struck a bicyclist in Indianapolis. We discovered in looking at the contracts between the school bus company and the IPS school system, that penalties for late drivers were being imposed upon the company.
Naturally, this led to school bus drivers speeding and taking chances with our children. That case resulted in a $5,000,000 verdict against the private school bus company. See here.
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