The Orange County (California) Unified School District recently agreed to settle a school bus crash lawsuit with the families of five-children serious injured after the vehicle’s driver lost control and slammed into an embankment. The $10 million settlement comes just days before the case was set for trial, sending a strong message that indifference to health and safety of students will not be tolerated.
According to police reports, the 27-year old school bus driver fell asleep at the wheel of the vehicle due to his pulmonary hypertension, a medical condition he did not disclose to employers. The plaintiffs allege coworkers raised red flags about the at-fault driver’s health about three-months before the crash but supervisors failed to properly investigate the risk posed to students.
Following the crash, police charged the driver with felony child abuse and endangerment, inflicting great bodily injury, and perjury for allegedly lying to the Department of Motor Vehicles and school officials about his medical condition. His trial is scheduled for February 2017.
School districts have a legal responsibility to protect the children stewarded everyday by bus drivers. While almost all school bus drivers are trustworthy and hardworking, some fall short of their own duty to safely transport our children.
To ensure rider safety, employers must conduct thorough background checks on applicants to ensure prospective drivers do not have criminal backgrounds, propensity for violence, or medical conditions which could put students in harm’s way. Because drivers act as agents for school districts, accident victims harmed in crashes can file school bus crash lawsuits against the school district to recover for their medical care, future lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The settlement in this case awarded one young victim $4 million alone due to his life-altering medical conditions and ongoing treatment needs. Although every case is different, a seasoned personal injury lawyer will do everything in his or her power to help maximize awards while clients focus on recovering from a crash.
While The Cochran Firm, D.C. did not provide representation to any of the parties in this case, our experienced bus accident lawyers in Washington, DC know what it takes to get justice and compensation for their clients. If your child was seriously injured in a school bus accident, contact our office to discuss your legal options.