Injured on a School BusWatch this video about children being injured on a school bus in Mississippi. Then call the Brad Morris Law Firm for a free consultation.
Question:Can I sue the school if my child was injured on a school bus?
When we discuss bus wrecks, sometimes that conversation shifts to claims related to school buses, so not just commercial vehicles but transportation vehicles for schools or other public entities. I just recently had an inquiry from someone whose child had been injured on a school bus. They wanted to know if it was even possible in Mississippi to hold the school bus operator, the school district, or the school liable for injury on a school bus. The answer to that question is yes. In a bus wreck involving a commercial operator, thoses cases involve more personal injury claims just by their nature. A case involving a school bus, on the other hand, is actually even more complex than that. In addition to all the other considerations that go into a bus accident claim involving commercial carriers, there’s an added level of issues that have to be worked through on a school bus. Most of that arises from a concept that we call sovereign immunity, an ancient legal doctrine passed down into the American legal system from our ties with England. This doctrine states the “sovereign”— i.e. the crown or, in our case, the government— cannot be sued or held accountable except for things that the government agrees to be held accountable for. As contrarian as that may seem to a lot of fundamental American concepts and values, that doctrine has been included in our law.I think pretty much every state has some form of this to different degrees, even the federal government has a form of this in place. In Mississippi, we have the doctrine of sovereign immunity embedded in our laws. You can only bring lawsuits against the state of Mississippi or state and local governments, including cities, counties, the state government and any entities or subsidiaries under them. For instance, a public utility that’s wholly owned by a city or a county is going to have certain protections under sovereign immunity, as well. Within the last 10 to 15 years, Mississippi has had a major sub-state supreme court ruling come down that helped redefine how we approach sovereign immunity in this state. You often hear terms about managerial discretion, and different forms of discretionary immunity are official immunity. All of that comes into play in terms of how our courts interpret whether or not sovereign immunity applies in all cases where a government entity is involved. The question is, is there some form of exception that’s been carved out by the legislature that allows for lawsuits on that issue? We’re in a period right now in Mississippi in which there is a lot of discussion about which claims may be brought and compensated and which claims cannot be brought and compensated. Some of this is covered and codified in what we call the Mississippi Tort Claims Act, which is the statute that sets forth and allows certain claims to be brought against state and local government here. When we layer in recent supreme court rulings, all that comes into play on claims brought against public entities. As such, injuries arising from a passenger on a school bus in Mississippi are also going to have that added level of complexity and analysis whereby we have to take into consideration sovereign immunity. In general, yes, claims can be brought based on injuries on school buses. The extent of that, though, is going to depend on the causes of the injuries. Was it a crash? Was it a crash involving the school bus driver? Was it a crash involving a third party? Was it an injury that had nothing to do with a wreck but some other form of injury? All that’s going to come into play, and there are tons of legal issues that have to be worked through. The practical advice that really needs to get through to you is there is no way to navigate a potential claim arising from an injury on a school bus in Mississippi without legal counsel. What’s more, it needs to be legal counsel that does personal injury litigation regularly. It needs to be legal counsel that has experience in claims against city, state, local governments in Mississippi specifically, as well. A big, big difference in Mississippi between a regular bus crash and a school bus crash, or injury arising on a bus versus an injury arising on a school bus, is the statute of limitations. Our general statute of limitations is three years, which would apply to most bus crashes. If a school bus is involved, understand that timeline goes down to one year. There are potentially some ways to extend that, when minors are involved, but understand that that is a specific example of how a school bus being involved has a huge impact on the law that may be involved in the case, on how the case needs to be worked up, and how the case needs to be approached. It’s only through competent counsel with experience, not only in personal injury litigation but complex commercial vehicle litigation, that your claim will be handled correctly and you will get fair value for that claim. If you have any questions about injuries on school buses, feel free to reach out to my firm. We’re the Brad Morris Law Firm. We’ll be happy to try to answer your questions and get you the help that you need. Give us a call.
Were you or a loved one injured on a bus in Mississippi and have questions about your child being injured on a school bus? Contact the experienced Mississippi personal injury attorney, Brad Morris, today for a free consultation and case evaluation. Our passion is helping our client achieve justice for their injuries. Like Us on Facebook