School buses provide a valuable service to families throughout Missouri by transporting priceless cargo to and from school. Yet, school bus accidents happen, sometimes causing severe injuries and fatalities. Children on school buses often escape without major injury, but the drivers and occupants of other vehicles involved in a school bus accident are not so lucky.
If you sustained injuries in a St. Louis school bus accident, or your child suffered injuries after their school bus got in an accident, Missouri law entitles you to seek compensation for damages related to your injuries from the responsible party. Severe and fatal injuries are life-changing, traumatic events that wreak major havoc on households.
The compassionate, family-oriented lawyers at Bruning Law Firm have decades of experience advocating for victims of negligence, including those involved in school bus accidents. We can review the circumstances of the school bus accident, your injuries, and how they have impacted your life to help you fight for compensation.
Why Choose Bruning Law Firm?
The experienced legal team at Bruning Law Firm has more than 35 years of experience in the negotiation, settlement, and litigation of personal injury claims, including those involving school bus accidents.
The firm's dedication to seeking justice and client service has led to the recovery of tens of millions of dollars in damages from settlements and jury awards. Bruning Law Firm has received national recognition from Super Lawyers and The National Trial Lawyers Association for its exceptional service. Additionally, the prestigious Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum have welcomed lawyers at our firm as members.
The family team at Bruning Law Firm has the experience and resources to battle insurance companies without losing the personalized attention that has been instrumental in the firm’s success. If you or your child has suffered St. Louis school bus accident injuries, healing and rehabilitation must be your top priority. Let us handle the details of your claim and fight to get you compensation for your school bus accident injuries.
Our office is conveniently located on Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis, one block away from America's Center Convention Complex. Contact us today to discuss your school bus accident injuries during a free consultation. We understand traveling to us might be difficult or impossible, so we also offer convenient virtual meetings for clients. We can help you, no matter where you were injured in the Greater St. Louis area.
St. Louis School Bus Accident Compensation
If your child sustained injuries in a St. Louis school bus accident or you suffered injuries after a school bus collided with your vehicle, you may seek compensation in civil court for damages. Your eligibility for specific damages and the compensation you receive hinges on the circumstances of the school bus accident, the severity of your injuries, your total economic loss, and how your injuries have affected your life.
Personal injury settlements and jury awards commonly include compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance service, emergency room visits, hospitalization, diagnostic imaging, lab tests, doctor visits, surgery, and prescription medication
- Estimated future medical expenses when a school bus accident results in severe injuries or a permanent disability that require ongoing care and treatment, sometimes for life
- Rehabilitation expenses, including specialized treatment with physical therapists, occupational therapists, mental health specialists, and other specialists who help the injured cope with the physical and emotional struggles related to their injuries
- Costs for assistive devices that help with mobility and function, such as walkers, canes, crutches, wheelchairs, and artificial limbs
- Lost wages and benefits related to mission work due to a school bus accident, hospitalization, and recovery, also including compensation for parents who need to take time off to care for an injured child
- Lost earning capacity when a school bus accident victim cannot return to work or obtain gainful employment in the future
- Costs for home modifications to make a home more accessible, such as the construction of a main-floor living space, handrail and grab bar installation, and building of a wheelchair ramp
- Costs for replacement services when injured victims need to hire outside help, such as a lawn care service, cleaning service, handyman, personal assistant, tutor, babysitter, etc.
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement
If you have lost a child or other loved one in a St. Louis school bus accident, you might also be eligible for some damages above plus compensation for funeral costs and burial or cremation expenses. Under Missouri law, eligible family members can bring a wrongful death suit against liable parties after the loss of a loved one.
Families might also receive compensation based on damage to their relationship with the deceased, such as loss of parental guidance, loss of support, and loss of companionship. Your St. Louis school bus accident lawyer can answer any questions about a wrongful death lawsuit and advise you on the next steps.
Statute of Limitations in St. Louis School Bus Accident Claims
Missouri has a five-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including for accidents involving private school bus companies that contract with public schools. If the school operates the bus, you have only 90 days to file your claim. The five-year limit is generous compared to other states, but you still must act quickly. Winning your case hinges on finding strong evidence to support your claim.
Evidence weakens with time. Witnesses die and move away, and their memories of the event are not clear. Additionally, it's harder to find video or photographic evidence. It's best to contact Bruning Law Firm as soon as possible after a school bus accident and learn about your legal options, giving your lawyer ample time to build a strong case on your behalf.
Types of School Bus Accident Injuries
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that school buses are the safest vehicles on the road. They are 70 times more likely to get your children to school safely than riding in a car. However, school bus accidents occur in St. Louis and throughout the nation. Injuries are similar to that one might sustain in any other type of traffic accident.
Traditional school buses are much heavier than passenger vehicles, providing protection for kids and their taller seats also protect riders. Engineers favor this design compared to lap seat belts. However, when school bus accidents occur at high speeds, injuries can be worse without seat belts. A school bus's size can also cause severe injuries and fatalities, regardless of speed.
Examples of school bus accident injuries that might lead to a personal injury claim include:
- Deep lacerations that leave permanent scars
- Broken and crushed bones
- Head traumas, especially those that cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Back and neck injuries, ranging from soft tissue sprains and strains to fractured vertebrae and slipped discs
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in partial or full paralysis
- Crushed limbs and amputations when arms or legs get pinned during a school bus accident
Who Might I Hold Liable for a St. Louis School Bus Accident?
School bus accident claims are complex personal injury cases that can include multiple plaintiffs and defendants. Unless a student causes a bus accident by attacking or distracting a driver or causing mechanical damage to a bus, a bus rider will rarely share liability in a school bus crash. Additionally, buses are commercial vehicles that a school district may not own. Third parties sometimes own and maintain school buses.
Different potential owners and maintenance personnel include various parties who might be fully or wholly financially liable for a St. Louis school bus accident:
- Bus drivers. Drivers who break traffic laws, drive carelessly, drive under the influence, or engage in other negligent driving behaviors might be liable for damages.
- School district. Often, the school district owns school buses. If poor hiring, training, or maintenance practices lead to a school bus accident and injuries, the district might be liable for damages related to injuries.
- Bus company. Third-party bus companies often own school buses when the district does not. These companies can be held liable for the same reasons as a school district.
- Other drivers. All motorists have a legal obligation to obey school bus signs and drive carefully around buses and in school zones. Reckless and careless drivers who violate traffic rules put the bus driver, kids, and others at risk for accident and injury.
The St. Louis school bus accident attorneys at Bruning Law Firm will review the facts of your bus accident claim and advise you on who to include in the lawsuit.
Fighting the Insurance Company After a St. Louis School Bus Accident
Like every other for-profit business, insurance companies focus on making as much money as possible. They protect their bottom line by denying claims and paying out as little as possible while collecting premiums from their policyholders.
Depending on the circumstances of your St. Louis school bus accident, you might deal with various types of automotive or commercial automotive insurance. Once you file a claim for your injuries, the insurance carrier will assign an adjuster or representative to your case.
The adjuster investigates the claim by gathering as much information as possible. Once they determine fault, they choose to deny or accept the claim. Even if the insurance carrier does not deny your claim, they will fight to pay the least amount possible. They use dubious tactics such as eliciting statements of fault. This won't impact school bus riders but can affect other motorists injured in a school bus accident.
The insurance company might also ask for your complete medical history, so they can look for preexisting conditions to argue the accident did not cause your injuries. If you want to protect the value of your claim and avoid common pitfalls related to fighting insurance companies, let an experienced lawyer handle your St. Louis school bus accident claim.
Your attorney can investigate your claim, but most importantly, lawyers are used to dealing with insurance companies. They anticipate their questionable tactics. Also, insurance adjusters often take claimants with legal counsel more seriously, avoiding games they might play with others. Finally, experienced attorneys are trained negotiators who often help clients obtain more compensation for their injuries than they would without representation.
What Should You Do After a St. Louis Bus Accident?
Hiring a lawyer can protect the value of a claim because they know how to navigate complex school bus accident cases, but there are things you can do to help yourself.
- Follow doctor’s orders. Once you receive a treatment plan, you need to follow it to the letter. It’s okay to get a second opinion, but not following the doctor’s orders gives ammunition to the other side to devalue your claim.
- Keep proof of economic loss. Keep copies of medical bills, pay stubs, and other receipts that show your expenses from your St. Louis school bus accident injuries.
- Keep a daily journal. Part of the value of your claim includes assessing the impact your injuries have had on your life. It’s difficult to convey all this information to your lawyer and the court. Write down your thoughts, feelings, challenges, frustrations, and anything you find relevant so you can truly share the impact of your injuries with relevant parties.
Contact a St. Louis School Bus Accident Lawyer Today
If you or your child have sustained injuries in a St. Louis school bus accident, let the skilled legal team at Bruning Law Firm fight for you. Submit the details of your accident and injuries online or call us at (314) 735-8100 to discuss the details of your accident via phone. You do not have to take on a big insurance company by yourself. We understand the struggles accident victims face, and we are here to help while you focus on healing.
The Bruning Law Firm
"When other law firms failed me. Bruning Law Firm came through for me. They did a great job and were able to get me more compensation than I expected. Couldn't be more pleased. Truly glad these folks were there for me. Took care of everything. Truly pleased. Tthank you Ryan and Alice." - Joseph F.
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