Our Virginia personal injury client was driving in Chesapeake, Virginia (VA), when a public school bus totaled his pickup truck. Findings from police investigators indicated that the bus driver failed to yield right of way at a four-way intersection controlled by yield signs. Further evidence suggested that the bus driver may have been speeding in the moments leading up to the crash.
Our client, who was a high school junior and varsity baseball pitcher, went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion, other head injuries and damage to his throwing shoulder. He remained too injured to pitch for months afterward, which his family and he believed would jeopardize his chances for earning a college athletic scholarship.
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The bus driver pleaded not guilty to the charge of failing to yield right of way, but our Virginia personal injury attorney filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the City of Chesapeake to obtain video from her bus’s onboard cameras. The footage was eventually released, and it showed that the bus driver never slowed down while approaching a yield sign or while entering the intersection.
Months of physical therapy allowed our client to return to the baseball field, but his performance suffered. The young man did get into college, but without a scholarship. The video proof of the bus driver’s negligence combined with the likely loss of free or reduced tuition gave the injured student a strong case for claiming monetary damages. The city recognized this and settled the case before going to court.
No driver can ignore traffic rules. School bus drivers are no exception, and they have an even higher duty to operate safely when transporting students. While, fortunately, no kids were aboard the bus that ran the yield sign and injured our Virginia personal injury client, not following the rules of the road inflicted a high price on a promising young athlete.
Court and Date: Chesapeake Circuit Court, Chesapeake, VA; May 2013
Staff: Richard N. Shapiro, staff attorney