What To Do If You’ve Been Injured In An Accident With A School Bus In Arizona

You’ve probably already heard the drill if you get in an accident with another passenger vehicle- pull to the side of the road, take pictures, exchange insurance information, etc. But things can get more complicated if you are in a traffic accident with special circumstances. Larger vehicles, such as school buses, are more difficult to maneuver and control than standard passenger vehicles. They can also cause more damage when they get in a collision. But because school bus drivers are often government employees, there can be special considerations when bringing a personal injury claim after being injured by an accident with a school bus. Treating your claim like any other car accident claim could result in errors that may be fatal to your case. To avoid these types of mistakes, call our firm for your free consultation at 602-600-6001.

School bus accident in Arizona

Seek Medical Attention

Many people feel “fine” after a car accident, just to discover later that they actually incurred a serious injury in the experience. A classic example of this phenomenon is whiplash. Whiplash is a neck injury frequently incurred by the front driver in rear-end collisions, which are the most common type of car accident both in Arizona and nationwide. It could take days, weeks, or even longer for the accident victim to begin feeling the effects of whiplash. Additionally, a life-threatening event could cause an adrenaline rush that delays the onset of pain. Even if you don’t immediately feel pain, if you’ve been injured in an accident with a large vehicle like a school bus, you should still visit a doctor to examine for medical injuries. You may have minor injuries that don’t require aggressive treatment and should be able to include the cost of your exam in your personal injury claim.

Statute Of Limitations

Generally, the statute of limitations for a car accident in Arizona is 2 years from the date of the accident. This is codified by A.R.S. § 12-542. The statute of limitations is the latest possible date that a personal injury claimant can file their lawsuit in court. If a lawsuit is filed after this date, the court will have no option but to dismiss the case, leaving the plaintiff with no recourse to collect compensation for their injuries. Notice that the date is when the accident occurred, not when injuries were discovered- so if the plaintiff has a latent injury, e.g., whiplash, that takes years to become symptomatic, the plaintiff will be out of luck.

There are a few exceptions to the 2-year statute of limitations in Arizona. One of those is if the accident victim is under 18 years old. Sometimes, the minor’s parent or legal guardian will file a personal injury claim on their behalf before they reach adulthood. But it can often be difficult to assess the full extent of a minor’s injuries after a car accident because they are still growing. That’s why the statute of limitations for a minor who hasn’t brought a claim yet doesn’t start running until their 18th birthday. This is codified by A.R.S. § 12-502.

Another example of an exception to the general 2-year statute of limitations in Arizona is set forth by A.R.S. § 12-501. Here, if the defendant in a personal injury claim leaves the state to avoid liability, the statute of limitations will not run in the defendant’s absence. This exception is unlikely to apply to a plaintiff injured by a school bus driver as there will usually be some agency liable for the driver’s actions regardless of if they hide in another state.

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Arizona against government institutions or employees works slightly differently. This could apply to public school buses, but may not bind plaintiffs injured in accidents with private school buses. Here, the plaintiff must file their claim with the government agency within 6 months of the accident. Additionally, the plaintiff only has 1 year to file that claim in court.

Extra Dangers In Operating A School Bus

While most of us have fond memories of our school bus drivers, it’s also easy to remember times when being a bus driver could be an extremely difficult career. These reasons include:

  • School buses are large, which makes them harder to operate and slower to brake
  • Children could serve a variety of distractions, whether the school bus driver needs to intervene in a bullying situation or if students are throwing things at and harassing the bus driver
  • Reduced visibility due to vehicle size and other factors
  • Frequent stops to let off children and unprepared surrounding drivers
  • Road rage by other drivers impatient to get around a school bus
  • Reduced control during severe weather
  • Fatigue and driver exhaustion, especially during early and late hours or on long rides (e.g., “away” sports events)

Damages You May Be Eligible To Collect

Every traffic accident is different, but there are certain types of damages that many personal injury claims share in common. They include:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical bills
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Loss of companionship or consortium
  • Wrongful death
  • Permanent disfigurement or disability
  • Pain and suffering

Pedestrian Accidents

Unfortunately, due to the height of school buses, it makes it easier for the bus driver to neglect to see someone walking in the vehicle’s path. These types of accidents can result in severe injuries or even death. When someone is severely injured (e.g., permanent disability or disfigurement) or killed in an accident, the damages will be much higher than in a standard injury claim. If the victim survives, pain and suffering are the damage that represents all of the trauma the accident and injuries caused. The most popular way to estimate pain and suffering damages is through the multiplier method. First, the plaintiff must sum up the rest of the damages surrounding the accident. That sum will be multiplied by a number that is usually between one and five. Your attorney can help you find evidence and formulate arguments that justify using the highest multiplier possible.

Wrongful death can be even harder to assign a dollar amount to than pain and suffering. Part of this damage includes how much suffering the victim endured before passing away. The victim’s family will most likely have funeral or burial expenses. The damages will skyrocket if the victim was the family’s primary earner. Financial experts will most likely be necessary to calculate an accurate estimate of what the victim would’ve earned in their lifetime. Additionally, the victim’s family can sue for the emotional distress of losing a family member to someone else’s negligence.

Arizona Accident Attorneys Experienced In Special Issues

If you’ve been injured by an accident with a school bus, you probably don’t want to entrust your claim to a beginner, including yourself. Mesa Injury Lawyers has experience dealing with a variety of accident issues, including dealing with public and government entities. We will give your case the attention it deserves so that you can get the highest possible injury award. Additionally, we offer a guaranteed contingency rate of 25%, which can save you thousands when compared to our competitors who charge 33% or more. Contact us to schedule your free consultation, call 602-600-6001.

Mesa Injury Lawyers
1731 West Baseline Road Suite #103
Mesa, AZ 85202

Tel: 602-600-6001
Email: [email protected]
Website: injurylawyersmesa.com