Who is liable for a school bus accident?

Categorized: Bus Accidents

Who is liable for a school bus accident?

The school district, another driver, or a parts manufacturer could all have played roles in a bus crash. Read on to find out how they each play a pivotal role in your child’s safety on the bus. Mass transit accidents can be complicated, so let Cordisco & Saile explain some elements to begin.

In the year 2014, there were 369 school bus vehicles involved in crashes in Pennsylvania. While there were no occupant deaths, there were three fatalities involving school buses, and 206 of the school bus crashes were injury accidents.

For a victim injured in a school bus accident, determining liability—or who should legally be held responsible—is a core part of the claims process. The following lists parties who may be held liable for a school bus accident.

The School District

The school district is often the legally accepted responsible party for school bus accidents. This is because, the school bus accident occurs as a direct or indirect result of the school district’s negligence. The following lists some examples of school district negligence that could lead to a bus accident.

  • Failing to properly maintain or repair buses
  • Failure to properly train bus drivers
  • Hiring a bus driver with a known history of poor driving


Additionally, if the bus driver did something negligent while operating the bus—like speeding—and if this negligence caused or contributed to the accident, the school district might be held liable under vicarious liability. The theory of vicarious liability holds that an employer handles the actions of its employees that occur in the course of employment.

Another Driver

If another driver’s negligence caused the bus accident, then it’s likely that the other driver will be the liable party. In some cases, liability may be shared by both the school district and the other driver involved.

A Vehicle Parts Manufacturer

While less common, a vehicle parts manufacturer can also be held liable for a school bus accident under the theory of product liability. This theory of the responsibility holds that a manufacturer of a product has a duty to manufacture a product that does not lead to consumer harm. If a vehicle part failed while in operation, such as tires or brakes, causing the accident, then the manufacturer may be responsible.

Filing a Claim for a School Bus Accident

If you or your child has been injured in a school bus accident, determining liability is a major step in recovering damages. To help you figure out who handles damages and how to file a claim or a lawsuit, contact an attorney. If you’re ready to get started, set up your free case consultation with the attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLP. We’re reachable at 215-642-2335 now.

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