In a tragic accident, a school bus collided with an SUV killing one teen and injuring two others from Downington East High School in Uwchlan. According to an Uwchlan Township Police officer at the scene, that accident happened around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, 2019, on Uwchlan Avenue on Route 113. Police say that the SUV slammed into an empty school bus instantly killing one of the students riding in the SUV.
Two other SUV occupants were rushed to the hospital and both were last listed in critical condition. The school bus driver was not injured, and police are still investigating the accident, with no report of pending charges at this time.
School Bus Crashes
Statistically, school bus crashes are rare, but when they happen, a community has to catch its breath. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 140 people die each year in school bus accidents. The report shows that the greatest danger is to those outside the school bus as those inside are fairly well protected by the size of the bus. Out of the 140, 112 are occupants of other vehicles, and of those around six are school children.
The reason for this is the size and weight of a school bus versus a passenger car. A bus weighs on average 25,000 to 36,000 pounds depending on the load, which outweighs a typical passenger car by a factor of 10.
The NHTSA also says that riding in a school bus is much safer than riding in a car, in fact, those kids who take ride to school in a car are 70 times more likely to be injured or killed than those riding in the bus.
School Bus Injuries
However, those who are inside do face certain risks that come from riding in a school bus. There are no seatbelts in the average school bus which puts the kids at risk for injuries from slamming into the seat or metal bar or being thrown around inside the bus.
The NHTSA has long maintained that requiring seatbelts on a school bus are unnecessary primarily because of how statistically safe school buses have been without seatbelts. Also, the cost and the lack of any real data that says school bus seatbelts will reduce injuries and fatalities have kept most states from passing legislation requiring seatbelts.
Some of the common injuries in a school bus accident are:
- Head Injury
- Broken Wrists/Arms
- Deep Contusions
- Broken Ribs
School Bus Liability
If your child is injured in a school bus crash, you might be wondering who is going to pay for the financial losses. Typically, the at-fault driver in the crash will be responsible for all damages. However, if the at-fault driver is the school bus, then the injured have to deal with laws called sovereign immunity that protects the government from lawsuits.
However, Pennsylvania, like all states, have laws that provide for some lawsuits against the government under certain circumstances. A school bus accident is one of those. However, there are rules that limit the liability of the driver and make it a bit more difficult to sue the school or the state
Do I need an Attorney?
Because of the laws surrounding sovereign immunity, if you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving a school bus, you should talk to an attorney who knows the law regarding personal injury, school buses and sovereign immunity.
That attorney is Edith Pearce, founder of the Pearce Law Firm, P.C., who is know for her understanding and compassion in handling cases involving minors. She has the respect of those in her community, and she works non-stop getting justice for those injured.
Call the Pearce Law Firm, P.C., today and talk to an attorney in a free consultation so you can start getting the help you need in seeking justice for an injured loved one.