Our Bus Accident Frequently Asked Questions
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Who should I do if my child is hurt in a Virginia school bus accident?
Few parents think twice about sending their child to school on a community or district bus. While accidents do happen, they don’t occur often. In fact, some reports suggest that children are safer in school buses than they are in their parents’ cars.
However, the statistical safety of school buses does not mean that accidents never happen. Each year, thousands of Virginia parents learn that their children’s health and safety have been put at risk by a negligent school bus driver or a reckless motorist.
What to Do After a Virginia School Bus Accident
If your child has been injured in a school bus accident, there are certain steps to take to help ensure they have the best chance for recovery and to hold the at-fault driver responsible.
The school bus driver is likely required to report any accident to the district, but that does not mean law enforcement will respond to the scene—especially if the driver does not believe any passengers have been injured.
However, if your child has been involved in an accident and is still at the scene of the crash, you should call 911 to report the collision immediately. While the police might not be able to determine fault without an intensive investigation, they can help arrange emergency medical transportation.
Additionally, the responding officer’s after-accident report could be used as critical evidence in a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
You should always take your child to the doctor after an accident, even if you don’t believe they’ve been seriously injured. Since young children often lack the words and experience needed to explain their injury-related symptoms, they may not be able to effectively communicate that they are in pain.
Seeing a doctor serves several purposes:
- An experienced physician can identify, diagnose, and treat injuries that your child had not recognized they sustained.
- The doctor can recommend follow-up care or effective home remedies to help your child recover as quickly as possible.
- Seeking medical care shows the insurance company that you had serious concerns about your child’s health and are not seeking to profit from an unfortunate accident.
Collect Evidence From the Accident Site
If you are in a position to reach the accident site and have ensured your child’s safety, consider collecting the following evidence to bolster any personal injury claim you might eventually file:
- Photographs of vehicular damage. If you can approach the crash site safely, try to take photographs of the damage to the school bus and any other vehicles involved in the accident.
- Pictures of your child’s injuries. Take pictures of your child’s visible wounds, such as bruises, lacerations, or any other noticeable injuries.
- Eyewitness testimony. Eyewitness testimony can make or break a personal injury claim. If you believe that a bystander or another motorist may have witnessed the collision, ask them for their name, phone number, and other contact information.
Depending on the circumstances of your child’s accident, you may not be able to reach the crash site before the vehicles have been moved. If you cannot collect evidence, you should consider asking your child to document the crash to the best of their ability.
In many cases, your personal injury attorney could also dispatch an investigative team to the scene, ensuring that all available evidence remains intact and documented.
Take Fast, Decisive Action
Virginia law affords school bus accident victims the right to file a personal injury lawsuit if they have been injured in a crash that was not their fault. But your rights to a legal recovery could be compromised if you take too long to take action. The Old Dominion has a strict statute of limitations, and in most cases, accident victims have two years after the date of the incident to file a claim for compensation.
However, the statute of limitations for claims involving government entities is much shorter, ranging between six months and one year. If you wait too long to take action, your case could be dismissed by the court on a technicality.
Contact an Experienced School Bus Accident Attorney
Numerous studies have shown that families who hire experienced legal counsel are much more likely to secure a favorable settlement or receive damages in court than families who represent themselves.
However, hiring a lawyer has other benefits. An experienced Virginia school bus accident attorney can help you:
- Investigate the causes of your child’s school bus crash
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Communicate with adjusters on your behalf
- Evaluate your family’s maximum legal damages
- Collect, compile, and analyze the evidence needed to win your case in court
Schedule Your Consultation Today
Your family should not have to pay the price for a school bus driver’s negligence or another motorist’s recklessness. Please send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC a message online, or call us at 877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.