School Bus Accidents | Cooper and Friedman, KY Car Crash Law

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Suing for School Bus Related Accidents

Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on August 3, 2023
Cooper and Friedman have been providing quality personal injury and motor vehicle collision legal services since 1991, including school bus crashes.


As we approach the days when we send our children back to school and school buses are once again on the road to shuttle dozens of children to and from their homes every day, the risk of a school bus-related accident increases exponentially.

The school districts that are responsible for the buses and their drivers are aware of the precious cargo they carry, and that many parents whose schedules conflict with driving their children to school put their faith into the transportation system to safely deliver their kids to school. This is why bus drivers are put through training and extended periods of test drives, route mapping, and safety courses; however, that’s not always enough to stop a school bus-related accident.

Can I Sue if Me or my Child was Injured in a School Bus Accident?

The short answer to can you sue is, “yes,” if you gather the proper materials and file the claim within the Kentucky statute of limitations time frame – or within 2 years. However, depending on the situation, factors, and availability of evidence, it might be difficult to. The real question that should be asked is who you can or should sue.

The fact of the matter is that most school buses on the road – public school buses – are owned by a school district and operated by its employees. Due to the sovereign immunity laws in Kentucky (and all of the other US states) under the Eleventh Amendment that “refers to the fact that the government cannot be sued without its consent,” citizens or groups cannot bring a lawsuit against a government institution unless the sovereign immunity is waived. So, if a school bus accident happens and you or your child is injured, without the government waiving the sovereign immunity, you may not be allowed to sue the school district.

Not being able to sue at all is uncommon, though, because school buses are manufactured to be the safest vehicle on the road and most school bus accidents are caused by external factors – i.e. weather, other drivers, or parts failure – instead of the school district driver.

So, who can be sued in the event of a school bus accident?

The School Bus Driver

If the bus driver was driving recklessly, while intoxicated, or with blatant disregard for traffic laws, then the immunity is waived in most cases where a government employee (the school bus driver) is responsible so that they can be held accountable. Since it is a case against a governmental employee, you’ll want to contact a car crash and personal injury law firm like Cooper and Friedman immediately so that we can help you gather the necessary evidence, witness testament, police reports, and support that you’ll need to successfully bring a case to court.

The School District

It’s certainly more difficult to get sovereign immunity waived in the case of challenging a school district, but the cases do exist. The most common reasons that a school district would be responsible for a school bus accident are:

  • The school district failed to conduct adequate background checks on school bus drivers.
  • The school district failed to train the school bus driver adequately.
  • The school district failed to inspect, maintain, or repair the school bus.
  • The school district allowed a driver to continue driving a bus after being notified – on record – of drug use, alcohol use, or serious traffic violations.

The Manufacturer

If the school district properly maintained their buses and the driver was driving it correctly when a parts malfunction happens and causes an accident, then the case can go all the way back to the school bus manufacturer as a product liability case. This might change the proceedings a bit but, luckily, Cooper and Friedman are a product liability law firm as well, so we can handle the case no matter where the accusations point to.

The Other Driver

If another driver was the perpetrator of the accident, then regular proceedings of personal injury or vehicle accident suits would apply since they usually aren’t part of a governmental agency. Their insurance may cover some of the damages and negotiations outside of court are often reached, but if fair compensation is refused, then you can take them and their insurance agency to court with your injuries.

Were You or Your Child the Victim of a Bus Accident?

School bus accidents can leave your, your family, and your property injured and/or damaged in a variety of ways, including by not limited to:

  • Your child becoming injured inside the bus
  • You, your family, or your property being injured and/or damaged by a school bus
  • You, your family, or your property being injured and/or damaged by events caused by a school bus accident, such as a multi-car pile-up or swerving into an object/ditch to avoid the sudden accident

If you were an outside casualty, you may still have grounds to receive compensation from the appropriate perpetrator and should bring your case to Cooper and Friedman for a free consultation.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a school bus or motor vehicle accident in the State of Kentucky and are in need of an experienced motor vehicle accident or injury attorney, give the lawyers at the Cooper & Friedman law firm a call. The attorneys at Cooper and Friedman PLLC have over 50 years of combined experience defending the rights of car crash victims. Contact us with questions you might have or schedule a free case consultation with an attorney by calling 502-459-7555 today.

Posted Under: Car Accidents, Child Injury Lawyer, Personal Injury