A rear-end collision between two school buses in Chesapeake, Virginia (VA), injured six students. Five of the children went to hospitals for medical treatment, but news reports do not include details on how badly any of them were hurt. Since school bus seat rarely have seat belts, common injuries children and teens suffer in bus wrecks include broken bones and head trauma from being tossed around the inside of the vehicle.
The buses involved in the crash were transporting Oscar Smith High School students on the afternoon of January 30, 2017, when they collided at the intersection of Burns Street and Campostella Road. Police did not release information on which driver was at fault or why the crash happened.
Whatever investigators discover about the causes of the rear-end collision, Chesapeake Public Schools will probably be liable for settling personal injury insurance claims filed by the students’ parents. Even though school buses in Virginia have an enviable safety record when compared to other types of vehicles -- only 338 of the millions of school bus occupants sustained injuries in wrecks on Virginia roads during 2015 -- no injury is minor to the person who suffers it. This would be especially true if any the students sustained concussions or traumatic brain injuries.
That reality is one of the reasons each public school district in Virginia is required to carry insurance on its bus fleet and drivers. The policies must cover both employees and contractors, and negligence by a school bus driver can place liability on the school district. One of the things this means for families negatively affected by this bus crash in Chesapeake is that the CPS will be the organization responsible for receiving and resolving insurance claims since both drivers involved worked for the school district in some capacity.
Actually getting the local government agency to reimburse families for medical bills, time off work to tend to injured children and other crash-related expense may prove difficult, however. Taking on any agency presents unique challenges, so working with a Virginia personal injury lawyer who has experience helping victims of school bus wrecks could greatly benefit the Chesapeake families. Hiring a legal advocate will ensure that the families have their concerns heard and considered while their children recover and they get on with their lives instead of spending all their time fighting through bureaucracy and clearing barriers put in place by insurance company representatives.