Parents rely on every school bus driver to safeguard the well-being of their children. That’s why school bus drivers undergo extensive training to help them operate their buses as safely as possible and avoid auto accidents. Sometimes, school bus drivers are tasked with driving their buses under less-than-optimal conditions; however, they are still held to the same standard of care as they are when driving in perfect circumstances.
Sadly, sometimes bus drivers do not take into account the road conditions as well as they should. One such instance was reported this weekend in Putnam County. On Saturday morning, a school bus from Rich Township was driving 18 students to a competition in Dunlap. While the bus was on Route 18 just across Sawmill Lake from the city of Henry, it skidded on a patch of ice near Highway 26 and ran into a ditch. Although no serious injuries were reported, a total of nine children were hurt enough to require transport to nearby hospitals.
Unless other information emerges, it appears that the school bus driver will be held responsible for the auto accident even though a patch of ice may have been the main factor. Illinois law states that every bus driver is responsible for the safety of his or her passengers; and furthermore, the school district or bus operating company is responsible for the actions of its bus drivers.
This means that if they choose to do so, the parents of the injured children could elect to file personal injury lawsuits against both the bus driver and his or her employer. Because even “minor” medical care can be costly, the plaintiffs could stand to receive reimbursement for ambulance charges, treatment and medication expenses, and even physical therapy costs. It’s also possible that a jury could award monetary damages for pain and suffering.