Everyday we get onto public transportation trusting someone else to get us to our final destination safely. It can be scary putting your life, or the life of someone you love, in the hands on someone you do not know. This is especially true when it comes to children. Parents across the country put their children on school buses everyday, hoping for the best, but an accident can occur at any time.
Driving a bus is not easy. Having approximately thirty children behind you, talking, even at a low tone, can be distracting. Also, the size and weight of a bus can be difficult for some to grasp while driving. This is why Florida has various rules and requirements which are created by the Commissioner of Education, for anyone interested in becoming a school bus driver. In Florida, the qualifications include, among other things, mental alertness, good hearing and vision, and a commercial license with a passenger endorsement.
Accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. If you, your child or your property were injured or damaged, you have rights and should hold the correct party responsible. In the case of school bus accidents, it is the school district’s board that is liable for any personal injury stemming from the accident.
The district is liable for claims in the same manner and to the same extent as a private individual under similar circumstances, but liability will not include punitive damages or interest for the period before judgment. The district is not liable for personal injuries by a school bus passenger for an injury caused solely by another passenger’s use or nonuse of a safety belt in a dangerous or unsafe manner. The district’s liability cannot be more than $5,000 multiplied by the number of persons allowed on the bus or $100,000, whichever one is less, for any one incident. This means if more than twenty persons are harmed in one accident and the district found liable, you will have no more than $100,000 to split amongst yourselves.
In order to bring a case against a school district in Florida, you must provide notice in writing to the district as well as the Department of Financial Services, within three years of the incident. In addition to information regarding the accident, the state Florida has a list of items that must be included in your claim, in order for the district to accept your written notice. If you are missing any of this information, your claim can be denied. You have the ability to resubmit your claim, as long as a complete and accurate claim is accepted within the time frame.
Litigation is complicated to begin with, but it can become even more confusing when dealing with a state agency, such as a school district. State agencies have special rules that you must comply with in order to begin your case which are not as easy to locate as the general court rules for your area. Having a Florida attorney that has experience with accidents that can find the necessary laws and regulations is key. In Broward call 954-961-5100 or 1-877-961-5100 in Florida.
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