School Bus Accident Lawyers in Kansas City, MO, Securing Justice for Those Who Need it the Most
Many Missourians rely on school buses to get their children safely to their studies and extracurricular activities. We often don’t think of safety since we so rarely hear about accidents involving these vehicles, but the truth is that driver negligence, and other neglectful acts can cause collisions involving school buses just as easily as any other vehicle. When a Kansas City bus accident occurs, it’s typically those on board who are the safest. This isn’t always the case, though, and even when it is, individuals not on board can suffer significant injuries. If you or a loved one was injured in such a collision, a school bus accident lawyer in Kansas City may be able to help.
At Mohlman Gurney Injury Law, we understand that involvement in a bus crash can lead to major life disruptions. From serious injuries to ongoing medical bills—and unfortunately, even end-of-life expenses on occasion—you could easily find yourself unable to resume normal life due to the negligent actions of a bus driver or other reckless parties. That’s why we’re ready to help you understand your rights and the best way to move forward. Schedule your free consultation today to get a better grasp on your case and how you may be able to secure compensation to cover your losses.
The Dangers of School Bus Collisions
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is no safer vehicle on the road than a school bus. Technically, this safety applies to the bus passengers themselves. While more than 100 people typically die in accidents involving these buses every year, only 3-7% of those deaths, on average, involve passengers. Most other deaths involve those in passenger vehicles, on bicycles, or victims of pedestrian accidents. Of course, the low number of school-age children’s deaths likely does very little to comfort the parents unfortunate enough to have their young ones fall into this statistic.
Regardless of who is hurt in these accidents, it’s easy to understand how such detrimental outcomes can occur. A midsize car weighs around 3,500 lbs., but a bus with students on it can weigh nearly 40,000 lbs. This makes it clear why a bus passenger might walk away uninjured, but even those on board can suffer significant injuries when there’s a lack of seat belts on the bus. And since passenger vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians are no match for a vehicle the size of these buses, major injuries are not uncommon. What this boils down to is that you should speak with a personal injury attorney immediately if you hope to secure fair and maximum compensation.
Bus Drivers and Distractions
It’s an unfortunate truth, but far too many school bus accidents are caused due to the negligence of bus drivers. While these individuals are typically well-trained by bus companies, distracted driving still presents significant risks. Such distractions include:
- Reaching for items while driving
- Talking to passengers
- Using electronic devices
- Student passenger misbehavior
Given the nature of their jobs, school bus drivers may have more distractions than any other individual on the road. This means they should limit their attention to the task at hand without adding other distractions to the mix. And yet, we see accidents involving driver distractions continue to rise.
Who is Driving Your Child?
Did you know that many school districts outsource their school bus drivers to private companies? Over the years, districts have relied on outside companies to provide drivers during times of shortage. Many districts have a problem hanging on to full-time drivers due to pay rates, a lack of benefits, commercial license obligations, long wait times for CDL exams, and staggered scheduling. When a district is desperate for drivers, they look to the private industry.
Unfortunately, this is when drivers who have traffic violations and even fake commercial licenses might fill those positions. In one recent year, the National Transportation Safety Board investigated two high-profile school bus accidents. In both cases, the drivers were private for-hire contractors. The investigations led the Board to conclude that there was “poor driver oversight by both the school districts and the contracted motor carriers.” Unfortunately, this is just one example of how more than just a single driver or bus company can create risks for children and commuters.
Other Types of School Bus Accidents In Kansas City
Not all school bus accidents are caused by bus drivers or those who employ them. In fact, the majority of such accidents are caused by other factors. These include:
- Other motorists fail to stop for school buses; typically resulting in rear-end collisions between buses and vehicles
- Children and pedestrians maneuvering while the bus is resuming movement after a stop
- Mechanical malfunctions and tire incidents
If you’re involved in a Kansas City bus accident, the “how” matters less than seeking fair compensation. Between medical expenses, lost wages, ongoing treatment, and other losses, such an accident can quickly become expensive. This is why you shouldn’t hesitate to seek legal representation.
The School Bus “Danger Zone”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that children face the most danger of a bus accident when getting on and off of a vehicle. This leads to approximately three times as many fatalities as occupant fatalities. The loading and unloading area on a school bus is called the “Danger Zone.” The zone is a 10-foot blind spot on all sides of a bus where children are less likely to be seen by the driver of the bus. Unfortunately, half of all pedestrian accidents in school bus-related accidents are children between five and seven years old, often within this danger zone.
Of course, children passengers aren’t the only ones who face risks due to this significant blind spot. The fact is that anyone can be injured in a bus accident—even if they’re taking appropriate precautions for their own safety. One important thing to remember, though, is that there are many different possible defendants and their associated insurance companies in these types of accidents. The school board, private companies, bus drivers, passenger vehicle drivers, and even local governments can hold some liability in these incidents.
This is just one of the many reasons school bus accidents are more complicated than collisions in passenger vehicles and even on similar public transportation. That’s why having a law firm on your side may be in your best interest.
Contact School Bus Accident Lawyers in Kansas City, MO Today
School buses transport America’s most precious cargo on a daily basis. While children are typically safe aboard these vehicles, serious injuries and even fatalities can still happen when the unexpected occurs. Additionally, it’s not bus passengers who are most frequently injured in such accidents. If you or a loved one suffered serious harm or losses in such a collision, the law provides protection whether you were on board, in another motor vehicle, or commuting in some other manner. That’s why personal injury attorneys might be your best chance at justice when you’re injured in a bus accident in the Kansas City area.
At Mohlman Gurney Injury Law, our experienced legal team has spent years fighting for those who suffered injuries due to the negligence of others. If you or a loved one was injured or tragically killed in such an accident, you may have a strong personal injury or wrongful death case. And since these collisions are typically far more detrimental than most car accidents, you need an attorney who will advocate for your fair compensation. Contact us today at Mohlman Gurney Injury Law by calling (816) 648-6000 to schedule a free consultation. Our school bus accident lawyers in Kansas City will fight tirelessly to ensure you and your family get justice.