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School Bus Accidents in Illinois

Casey Woodruff
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School bus accidents are tragic occurrences that often pose unique legal issues for families attempting to recover for the injuries that their children have suffered. By their nature, school bus accidents will usually involve large numbers of injured children, as well as several separate defendants. This can make the cases procedurally complicated since many different people may end up bearing responsibility for the accident. Beyond that complication, school bus accidents may involve unique causes that would not ordinarily appear in car accident cases. Additionally, school bus accident cases may involve a shortened statute of limitations that victims’ families should be aware of.

Causes of School Bus Accidents

There are a variety of different things that can end up causing a school bus accident, and which of these occurs may end up determining which defendant is actually liable. Some of the causes will be familiar things that can cause ordinary car accidents. For instance, some school bus drivers engage in distracting activities while driving, such as texting, talking on the phone, or eating. These activities are just as dangerous for professional drivers as they are for any other motorist. Some bus drivers may even come to work intoxicated. In theory, there should be screening processes in place to prevent that problem, but poorly executed or inadequate procedures do unfortunately crop up from time to time. Driver error may also result from driver fatigue. Professional drivers spend much more time on the road than personal drivers do, and that constant road time can wear them down until they make mistakes.

Another common cause of school bus accidents is mechanical failure. While mechanical failure can cause ordinary car accidents as well, the situation becomes more complex in school bus cases. This is because the entity responsible for maintaining the buses may not be the school district. This can make assigning liability more complicated in some situations.

School Bus Accident Statute of Limitations

Parents whose children have been involved in school bus accidents should also be aware of the fact that there is a shortened statute of limitations in Illinois for some school bus accidents. Ordinarily, Illinois law provides a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. That means that people who have been injured in an accident have two years from the date of the accident to start a case. This may not be so for school bus accidents in Illinois because of the potential involvement of a governmental entity.

Many times in bus accidents, the public school district is one of the parties that may be responsible for the crash. This is even true for some children who go to private schools because private schools often coordinate their buses through the local public school district. Illinois law has a shorter statute of limitations for lawsuits involving state or local governmental entities. Parents of injured children only have a year from the date of the accident to file a claim.

School bus accidents can be physically and emotionally devastating. If your child has been injured in such an accident, contact a Naperville school bus accident lawyer at Woodruff Johnson & Evans today to learn more about your rights.

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