New Jersey School Bus Accident Attorney
A school bus accident is every parent’s worst nightmare. The sheer size and weight of a school bus—plus the lack of safety restraints for the passengers inside—make them a serious danger when driven without care. Millions of school-age children depend on the school bus to transport them to and from school, and school bus drivers have a legal responsibility to do their job in a safe manner.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are committed to holding the negligent party accountable. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, using our resources to interview witnesses, collect police reports, and obtain medical evidence. Our years of experience have given us the tools and resources to stand up to large corporations, manufacturers, and opposing attorneys alike. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury as a result of a school bus accident, contact us today for a free consultation. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to speak with one of our experienced car accident lawyers.
Damages in a School Bus Accident Case
If you are injured in a school bus accident, you could be eligible to recover money in a civil lawsuit. In order to prove your claim, you will have to prove three things: you were injured, the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, and that display of negligence was the direct cause of your injuries (whether the injuries are physical, financial, or emotional).
Causes of school bus accidents may include:
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving, checking email, changing the radio station or CD, checking email, applying makeup, or talking to other occupants
- Reckless driving, such as speeding, failure to stop at a stop sign, running a red light, failure to yield, improper lane changes, or aggressive driving
- Tire blowouts
- Defective parts, including defective brakes, tires, wiring, or fuel tanks
- Defective roadways or unsafe roadways
- Failure to adjust for inclement weather
Damages in a personal injury case are divided into two categories: compensatory and punitive damages. The vast majority of personal injury cases deal with compensatory damages, which are designed to compensate the injured person for losses suffered as a result of the accident. Compensatory damages in a school bus accident could include:
- Current and future medical treatment: includes hospitalization costs, ongoing treatment expenses, rehabilitation costs, and any expected future medical expenses
- Lost wages: compensation for wages lost while out of work due to the accident, as well as decreased earning capacity in the future if the injuries will continue to affect the victim
- Property damage: compensation for damage to the victim’s car, clothing, or other personal effects as a result of the accident
- Loss of enjoyment of life: covers loss of enjoyment of day-to-day activities, recreation, hobbies, and exercise
- Pain and suffering: the physical and emotional pain caused by the accident, including the pain of the physical injuries and ongoing emotional trauma
- Emotional distress: the psychological effects of an injury, such as anxiety, sleep loss, or fear (typically awarded in severe accidents)
- Wrongful death: compensation for the family or estate of someone killed by a negligent driver
There is no cap on compensatory damages in the state of New Jersey. This means you are eligible to recover the full amount of damages, so long as you can prove the monetary value of your losses.
Punitive damages are awarded more rarely than compensatory damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the negligent party for particularly egregious behavior, such as causing an accident on purpose. As such, they are only awarded in certain cases with unusual circumstances.
Large scale accidents, such as school bus accidents or train accidents, can also give rise to class-action lawsuits. In these lawsuits, a large number of plaintiffs join together to bring one lawsuit against the person at fault, rather than having each individual victim file a personal injury lawsuit. Joining a class-action lawsuit can have certain advantages, such as working with a lawyer who has experience in large class-action lawsuits and the support of other people in your situation.
Lawsuits Against the Government
It is important to remember that there are strict time limits when it comes to filing a personal injury case. In New Jersey, there is a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases. In other words, you must file your claim within two years of the accident if you choose to do so. If you do not file a claim within two years, you will lose out on the right to compensation for the accident.
However, claims against the government have special time limits involved. If the liable party was a government agency, such as a public school system, you must give formal notice of your claim within 90 days of the accident. After filing the initial notice, you must wait six months to file a lawsuit. During this six-month waiting period, the school system or other government agency will most likely reach out to you to try and resolve your claim. With the help of a knowledgeable attorney, you can decide whether to resolve your claim with the government or file a formal lawsuit.
Lawsuits against the government are often more complex and difficult to litigate—however, that is not to say it can’t be done. The most important thing is to have a skilled personal injury attorney on your side who has experience dealing with claims against government agencies.
Injuries in a School Bus Accident
The sheer size and weight of a school bus puts passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians at serious risk for injuries, including:
- Catastrophic injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burns
- Brain injuries
- Back injuries
- Face injuries
- Scrapes, bruises, and lacerations
- Psychological injuries
Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are proud to represent the injured throughout New Jersey and New York. Since opening our doors in 1974, we have been committed to the highest standards of excellence in personal injury litigation. Our million-dollar and multi-million-dollar settlements have earned us inclusion in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, of which fewer than 1 percent of U.S. lawyers are members. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi was named to U.S. News and World Report’s Best Law Firms list of 2013, and Michael Maggiano and Christopher DiGirolamo have received the highest possible ratings as car accident attorneys by the AVVO Lawyer Ratings service.
With more than 80 years’ worth of combined trial experience, we are prepared to investigate your claim and fight to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one has been injured in a school bus accident, contact us to discuss your legal options. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to schedule your free and confidential consultation today.