A recent bus accident that occurred on May 17th has brought into question who may be held responsible for the deaths of a 10-year-old student and a teacher who were aboard the bus, along with the dozens of injuries that resulted from the crash. The accident occurred on a busy New Jersey highway while the students were being transported to a field trip. It has been reported that the driver illegally used a cut-through in the median reserved for emergency vehicles to make an illegal u-turn.
It is anticipated that the accident will bring about many personal injury cases not only from the families of those who were killed, but from the many others who sustained both minor and serious injuries. These families may be able to hold the school responsible for the bus accident according to the New Jersey Tort Claims Act. This law allows those who are injured due to the negligence of a public, government-funded entity to bring a claim against the state government. The claim involving a public entity must be made under the Tort Claims Act rather than through a general personal injury lawsuit in civil court. This Act generally covers those who are struck and injured by a vehicle driven by a government employee while on the job.
To file a claim of this nature, there are stricter guidelines that must be followed. For instance, one only has 90 days from the time of the accident to file a claim against the state government. In order to be considered negligence, the Tort Claims Act requires that the situation meets the legal standard of an act that displayed “palpably unreasonable conduct.” Furthermore, the Act limits the amount of damages that can be claimed for pain and suffering in that damages will not be awarded unless the claimant has sustained a permanent injury and the cost of medical treatment exceeds $3,600.
In this case, the bus was owned and the bus driver was employed by the school district, which ultimately makes the district liable. However, the Tort Claims Act also allows those other than students of the school involved to sue the school for negligence. In one New Jersey case, a woman who sustained injuries that left her permanently disabled as a result of a collision between a school bus and a commuter bus was able to sue and receive compensation.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a school bus crash and sustained a serious injury, it is important to contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney. The New Jersey bus accident lawyers at Rinaldo Law Group, LLC have helped many accident victims hold the negligent part responsible and receive compensation for their injuries. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, please call 1-833-RINALDO or fill out our contact form.