What should you do if your child is injured on a school bus? While no parent ever wants to ask this question, it’s important to know how to proceed if you find yourself in this situation. Below you’ll find more information on which steps to take and which ones to avoid.
One of the most important things you can do if your child is injured in a school bus accident is to call The Dominguez Firm immediately for a free consultation at 800-818-1818.
Steps to Take if Your Child is Injured in a School Bus Accident
Priority number one is the health and safety of your child. As such, your first step should be to take your child to a doctor. But don’t skip over any of the other steps outlined below or it can cost you dearly.
Obtain Medical Attention For Your Child As Soon As Possible
Even if your child says they’re fine or was treated at the scene and released, take them to your family doctor right away. There are two reasons for this. First, have them checked thoroughly to make sure they haven’t suffered an internal injury. An undetected internal injury can be life-threatening. Second, some injuries can take days to reveal themselves. Better to have any delayed injuries diagnosed early so they can start treatment right away.
Speak To The Parents Of The Other Children Involved
A parent may have been on the school bus or witnessed the accident from the street. They may have seen an act of recklessness or negligence, such as a school bus driver texting while driving. Speak to them to see if they have any information about what happened. Any evidence in the immediate aftermath of the crash is important to present the strongest case possible.
One note, The Dominguez Firm has its own team of investigators who can arrive at the accident scene quickly. They are well-versed in what evidence to gather and the procedures to follow.
Hire A Lawyer With Experience Handling School Bus Accidents Immediately
School bus accidents can be complicated because there may be more than one defendant. These can include:
- Your child’s school
- The school district
- The company that owns the bus if it isn’t owned by the school
- Some school buses are leased, so any lawsuit would involve the leasing company
- The school bus driver
- The bus driver’s employer if it isn’t the school district
- Other vehicles and their insurance companies if they caused the crash
- A government agency or municipality if the accident was caused by roadway issues
Another complication is the procedure for filing a claim against a government entity, such as LAUSD versus a private school. It’s different for each one. Your main concern during this difficult time should be caring for your child. It shouldn’t be taking on multiple defendants, insurance agents, and a personal injury claim by yourself. That’s why it’s important to choose a firm with experience handling school bus accident claims.
It’s also vital to avoid any delays in hiring an attorney. Waiting can hurt your chances of recovering the maximum amount legally allowed for your child’s injuries. There are several reasons for this:
- Vital evidence can be lost
- Waiting will have defense attorneys questioning the seriousness of your child’s injuries
- Any witness contact information can be lost if you wait. People change addresses and phone numbers all the time.
Document All Injuries And Your Child’s Recovery
Take photos of your child’s injuries as soon as you can. Yes, there may be photos in their medical files, but create your record of what happened. Note everything, even minor cuts and bruises. And don’t stop there. Chronicle your child’s recovery over the next few weeks or months. Do this regardless of whether they are improving rapidly or slowly. This will allow your personal injury attorney to show powerful evidence of how the injury impacted your child’s life.
Store All Accident Records In A Safe Place
Keep every single document related to your child’s treatment. That includes all medical records such as follow-up visits, medical bills, rehabilitation or physical therapy sessions, and any prescriptions. And if your child needs mental health counseling, include that paperwork too.
Also, save all documents you receive from their school, school district, the police, and any insurance companies.
Don’t Sign Any Forms From An Insurance Company Or Your Child’s School District
It’s important to speak to an experienced school bus accident attorney before signing documents related to your child’s accident. Have them look everything over before you put your signature to anything. Do this even if an insurance or school district employee tells you signing something is just a formality.
Don’t Talk to Or Give Any Recorded Statements Without Your Attorney Present
Insurance agents may ask if they can record their conversation with you. Some unscrupulous agents may even tell you they have the right to do so. They don’t. Never consent to being recorded. They do this to try and use anything you say as evidence against your claim.
Even if you’re not being recorded, watch what you say to the insurance companies and anyone from your child’s school. School districts have also been known to do everything they can to diminish any accident claim. Instead, instruct all of them to call your school bus accident attorney and limit all contact with them.
Questions to Ask A School Bus Accident Lawyer
Finding the right lawyer is just as important as all of the other steps outlined above. Of course, most of us have no experience filing a lawsuit, so deciding on the right attorney can be difficult. But it doesn’t have to be. First, don’t choose an attorney who doesn’t specialize in personal injury law. Just as you wouldn’t go to the dentist for a leg injury, don’t entrust your school bus accident case to a friend or family member who practices a different area of law or has a general practice.
Feel free to ask the following questions when looking for the right personal injury attorney:
- How long has your firm been practicing personal injury law?
- Do you have experience with school bus accident cases?
- What is your payment method?
- Do you have in-house trial lawyers if my case goes to trial?
- Do I owe you anything if my case doesn’t result in any compensation?
- Is there a chance you’ll refer my case to another firm?
- Do you have the financial resources to take on the big insurance companies?
- Can you help me with transportation when I need to take my child to their medical appointments?
- Will I be up to date on my child’s case as needed?
- Do you have bilingual staff if English isn’t my first language?
See how they respond to your questions. If they seem annoyed or in a rush to get you off the phone, call other firms. Their actions can be a clue as to how you and your family will be treated.
Contact The Experienced School Bus Accident Attorneys at The Dominguez Firm Today
The Dominguez Firm has almost 35 years of experience handling school bus accident claims. In that time we have helped our clients recover over $750 million*. We know that school bus accidents can leave victims with serious and even catastrophic injuries. That can translate into hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars in medical bills and care. That’s why it’s so important to defend your child’s rights by taking legal action with the help of an aggressive personal injury attorney.
We have our own in-house team of litigation attorneys and the financial resources to see your case through to the end. Not all law firms can say the same. Call us at 800-818-1818 for a free consultation today. And as always, we promise: if there is no recovery, there is no fee.