TOPIC NO. 003
SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENT LAWYERS IN NORTH CAROLINA
CONVERSATIONS WITH CHAD
SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENT LAWYERS
By CHAD DONNAHOO
I was reading the newspaper the other day and read about a school bus crash involving a local high school volley ball team that occurred in McDowell County, North Carolina. Of course, our thoughts and prayers go out to the students, faculty, families and friends of those hurt by the school bus accident and hope that everyone is ok. Sadly, in our experience as school bus accident lawyers, school bus accidents happen frequently for a variety of reasons: mechanical problems with the school bus; the school bus driver’s negligence; or the negligence by a third party.
Lawsuit against the school board
If it is determined that the school board’s employee(s) was responsible for the accident, the school board can be sued.
PERSONAL INJURY LAW FIRM
ASHEVILLE , NORTH CAROLINA
School Bus Accidents are different than other motor vehicle accidents because of the tort claims act
As former school board attorneys and now attorneys for the injured, both Brian and I have a considerable amount of experience as school bus accident lawyers, on both sides of the coin, when it comes to litigation involving school bus accidents. Check out “Our Results” on our webpage for more information about a recent Brian Elston Law case involving a school bus accident.
Below are some common facts associated with public school bus accident cases.
No. 1 Lawsuit against the school board.
If it is determined that the school board’s employee(s) was responsible for the accident, the school board can be sued. In a previous blog regarding school board law, I wrote that in most negligence cases, a school board is entitled to governmental immunity and is immune from damages in a negligence lawsuit. This general principle of governmental immunity, however, does not apply in the context of school bus accidents. In this context, the Board of Education has waived its immunity up to one million dollars because the claim is covered under the North Carolina Tort Claims Act and there is a specific statute dealing with school bus negligence claims. The one million dollars applies in the aggregate (meaning, there is up one million dollars to settle all related claims for all parties involving that specific accident). In normal lawsuits against a Board of Education, the lawsuit must be filed in district/superior court in the county where the school system is located. In school bus accident cases, however, the claim against the Board of Education must be filed in, and adjudicated by, the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
No. 2 Lawsuit against the Board of Education Employee.
In addition to filing a lawsuit against the School Board in the North Carolina Industrial Commission, at the same time, it is also possible to file a lawsuit against the Board of Education’s employee, in his/her personal capacity, in district/superior court. First, personal capacity claims are not subject to the North Carolina Tort Claims Act and are not subject to governmental immunity. Second, as I noted in a previous blog regarding school teachers, the State of North Carolina has provided professional liability insurance for public school employees who are sued in their personal capacities. This insurance is secondary; meaning, that this insurance will only kick-in after the first one million dollars has been paid by the Board of Education; however, in a school bus accident case that could likely involved several injured students, it is highly likely that this insurance could be triggered.
It is important to make sure that if your child or you are involved in a school bus accident case, you have knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who understanding the multiple layers and parties and can maximize the potential claim.