Recent studies have shown that school bus–related accidents injure almost 17,000 individuals annually, and that the highest incidence of injuries occurs in the first two months of the school year.
How can you claim damages against your child’s school?
Generally, if your child is injured in a school bus accident, the school’s liability will be determined based on the individual circumstances of your case. Colorado law employs a negligence standard. To show negligence, you will need to demonstrate that the school failed to prevent a foreseeable risk to your child or that the school knew of the risk and failed to take appropriate protective measures. Additionally, you will need to show a causal connection between the school’s act or omission and the harm. Examples of this connection can include a school’s failure to enforce parking-lot safety measures or its failure to retain sufficient staff presence during drop off and pick-up times.
What you need to watch out for
Parents should note, however, that suing schools and school boards presents a number of unique challenges. For example, a child under the age of 18 is considered to be a person under disability. This means that parents or guardians must sue on the child’s behalf. Additionally, in Colorado, parents or guardians must receive probate court approval before authorizing a settlement involving their minor child. Finally, parents suing school boards may face certain administrative and practical obstacles. Examples include a disparity in available resources such as having access to government lawyers and defenses of administrative immunity — assertions by the school board and its members that they cannot be held personally liable as long as they acted within the scope of their duties.
Given the complexities of Colorado law with respect to accidents involving children, if your child is injured on the school bus, it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Bell & Pollock, P.C. has more than 20 years of experience successfully helping families of children injured in bus accidents.