Beaufort County Bus Accident


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(Report credited to The Island Packet)
The Beaufort County School District said a Bluffton Middle School bus accident occurred Tuesday morning when it flipped onto its side. Dr. Dereck Rhoads, the principal at Bluffton Middle School, said about 18 of his students were on the bus when the accident occurred on the way to school. It all happened around 7 a.m. on Old Miller Road. Troopers with the Georgia State Patrol said the school bus driver 29-year-old Laquana Howard swerved to avoid hitting deer.

On Average, 17,000 Children Are Injured Each Year in School Bus Accidents

A school bus accident most frequently occurs with another vehicle or while children are boarding or getting off a bus. Most school buses are not equipped with safety belts. Consequently, children are especially vulnerable to injury when they fall out of their seats during crashes or when bus driver's brake suddenly or make sharp turns. Of course, a negligent school bus driver can also cause a school bus accident which injures passengers in other motor vehicles or pedestrians on the street. When a child is injured or killed in a school bus accident through the bus driver's negligence, the child and his parents have a limited claim against the bus driver and the driver's employer, usually a local school board. The same limitations apply to the occupants of other vehicles and pedestrians who are injured through the negligence of a school bus driver. Because the driver is a government employee, under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, he enjoys immunity from lawsuits for his acts of simple negligence. He can be held liable only for acts of gross negligence. "Before any of the emergency vehicles arrived, the kids were able to exit the bus and knew how to do that and did that and did a great job with it," Rhoads said. "So, we're really proud of that." "I think what played a major role in the safety of the kids is the fact that a couple of weeks ago, bus services held a school bus accident evacuation drill throughout the school district and today was a perfect example of children doing the right thing," said Terry Dingle, the director of operations for the Beaufort Co. School District. "When I talked to the kids, the kids told me: 'We looked around, knew we had to get off the bus and saw the side exit and emergency exit doors and we all just started moving and get out of the bus,'" said Dr. Rhoads.

Bluffton Middle School Bus Accident

Firefighters said it was a good thing the students knew what to do after a school because the driver of the bus was trapped inside. "The way the bus rolled on its side, the driver was pinned by the steering wheel," said Bluffton firefighter Capt. Randy Miller. "Our guys worked for 40 to 45 minutes to get her out." The bus driver and one of the students were transported to the hospital. They were treated and released. School bus accidents thankfully are not frequently occurring, however, the severity of such a commercial vehicle accident can be devastating. Recommended occupancies for school buses range from 48 to 96 students. The size and difficulty of driving these school buses are only magnified by the students' behavior, which is typically loud and distracting.

South Carolina School Bus Accident

Officials say it could have been much worse. "It was a traumatic, intense experience, but they handled it well," Rhoads said. Howard was charged with driving too fast for conditions. Law enforcement issues citations in an event like this to assign fault. Such determinacy of fault will often lead to a personal injury lawsuit being filed against the school and/ or driver. The Clore Law Group LLC in Charleston has help people injured in school bus accidents, trucking accidents, car accidents and various other serious injuries arising from another person's gross negligent behavior.

What is Gross Negligence?

Gross negligence is a degree of negligence that shows such indifference to others that it constitutes an utter disregard of caution amounting to a complete neglect of the safety of another person. Gross negligence can be difficult to prove. The Clore Law Group LLC in Charleston can evaluate and determine whether there may be a case of gross negligence against the driver. In contrast, the school board itself is not entitled to the same blanket defense of sovereign immunity as its drivers. It may be held vicariously liable for acts of simple negligence committed by its driver. As a result, it can sometimes be easier to pursue a claim against a school board than it is to prosecute a claim against the negligent bus driver. There are strict limits regarding the dollar amount a claimant can recover from a school board. When a locality or school board carries liability insurance on its school buses, a claimant may collect up to, but not beyond, the limits of the valid and collectible insurance in force at the time of the injury. These insurance coverage issues are complex and confusing. The Clore Law Group's school bus accident attorneys can guide you through this maze and help you maximize the recovery you are entitled to receive. If you or a loved one has been injured in a school bus accident, contact The Clore Law Group LLC for a free consultation.

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Clore Law Group welcomes your questions about any issues concerning a serious personal injury, car accident, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, or business tort. If you have a viable claim, we’ll explain the legal process. Since consultations are always free, there’s no cost in learning your legal options.