While parents may assume that their children will be transported to and from school safely each day, bus drivers do occasionally make serious mistakes. When a young person is injured by a bus driver, a civil lawsuit and other remedies are available to help offset the victim’s losses.

A school bus driver received a citation from Chicago police and will likely face other disciplinary actions after hitting a 14 year old girl.

Bus runs over a teenage girl who was crossing the street on the South Side

The Chicago police responded to the accident scene at the 8500 block of South Vincennes in Auburn Gresham at around 5:30pm that night. They believe the girl was struck by the driver while she was in the crosswalk. While the victim was walking in the middle of the street, the bus was going northbound, but attempted to turn eastbound and collided with the victim.

The young girl needed to be taken from the scene and was hospitalized to be treated for her injuries. However, local police claim that she was in good condition when transported to nearby Christ Hospital by emergency crews.

The driver responsible for the collision was 67 years old, and he received a citation at the scene for failure to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. No further details about the identity of the driver or the victim’s status were released to the public.

Traffic citations and civil negligence cases

Whether the bus accident was caused by the local government’s school district or a private sector bus company, it is possible to file a lawsuit against either entity. Both governments and businesses can be named as a defendant in a civil personal injury lawsuit. The fact that police cited the driver is also relevant to how the lawsuit will be decided.

The citation given to the driver can become important evidence of negligence. As long as the type of harm that the traffic law was meant to prevent is relevant to the lawsuit, it can be introduced during the course of the trial. In this case, hitting someone who is trying to cross the street can result in injuries or death, so the jury will hear that the driver was cited by police at the scene for violating a traffic law.

However, it is important to realize that the jury is still given the final responsibility of deciding fault in a civil case. The fact that citations or criminal charges may be involved does not necessarily force them to decide their verdict either way.

How are bus accidents different from other car crashes from a legal standpoint?

Bus companies, airlines, and other transportation businesses are given the responsibility of transporting multiple people at once, therefore they are held to a higher standard of care. Drivers must have a special license and comply with other regulations. Companies that transport large volumes of people are called common carriers, and certain laws are designed to ensure that there is less likelihood of injury and mistakes. When bus drivers do cause an accident, this high degree of responsibility and scrutiny means it can be easier for a plaintiff to establish fault and negligence than in other automobile collision cases.

Many companies that have fleets of vehicles carry special insurance to cover losses from lawsuits, because they may have to pay out large volumes of damages. This is especially true if a bus that was transporting dozens of people gets in a severe accident, and all of the victims need medical attention and have to miss time from work. The total damages can easily cost the business thousands or millions of dollars. All of these losses can be added up and considered in  lawsuits.

Hiring a bus driver and the employer’s responsibility

In a case where the driver’s history or abilities may be an issue, the employer can possibly also be found negligent for having an irresponsible driver working in this position. This is especially true if the company knew that the driver had a series of prior traffic violations. Allowing a driver to transport school children if they have had a number of problems reflects poorly on the employer, and this may be mentioned by the plaintiff’s attorney.

What are the chances of winning a lawsuit?

The odds of success when suing any business or driver can vary greatly based on the particular accident and surrounding circumstances. The value of any particular lawsuit is also tied to the severity of losses and injuries that the victim had to endure. Therefore, it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury attorney before making any important decisions.

Speak with a local personal injury lawyer

To get help after a motor vehicle accident in Chicago or nearby areas, contact Budin Law Offices. You will receive professional advice from an attorney who concentrates on this area of practice.