Who Pays When a Public School Bus Driver Causes Injuries? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

A collision between a Virginia Beach, VA, public school bus and a passenger car sent 11 people to the hospital. The crash happened at the intersection of Independence Boulevard and Shelton Road, and police ticketed the bus driver with causing the wreck.



Police responded to the incident at around 7:45 am on May 17, 2018. They determined that the bus driver, who was transporting 35 students to Shelton Park elementary, cut off the car when attempting to turn left from Independence.

The resulting collision injured eight students on the bus and the three occupants of the car, who were identified in news reports only as one adult and two children. None of the victims’ injuries were considered life-threatening.


One charge for failing to yield right of way while making a left turn was issued against the Virginia Beach public school bus driver. The relevant statute, section 46.2-825 of the Virginia Code, specifies that “the driver of a vehicle, intending to turn left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction if it is so close as to constitute a hazard.”

Evidence that supports the accusation that the bus driver committed a traffic violation can also be used to support personal injury insurance claims from the parents of the injured school children and from the people in the car. Those claims should most properly go to the Virginia Beach School District, which is required by state law to insure all its buses and each of it bus drivers.

The insurance coverage requirement exists because school bus crashes caused by bus drivers are not rare. During 2017, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles recorded 586 crashes involving school buses. Those wreck inflicted 215 injuries, and 40 were of the crashes were attributed to the bus driver’s failure to yield. The third most-common cause was an improper turn by the bus driver.

The crash in Virginia Beach happened on the same day that an interstate collision between a school bus and a dump truck in New Jersey claimed the life of one student and hospitalized several others. While the local incident was not as tragic, both wrecks illustrate the importance of bus drivers operating safely at all times. When they fail to meet that duty, the affected families have undeniable rights to partner with an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer to seek compensation and damages.