If you’ve been injured in a school bus accident, you may wonder what the process is for filing a claim against the driver or the school district. A personal injury claim can be complicated and requires navigating the red tape of insurance companies and legal teams. You may also need to provide medical documentation of your injuries, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Here’s how to file a claim following a school bus accident:
1. Determine if you are eligible for compensation
As a parent, if your child was injured in an accident on their way to or from school, then you may be eligible for compensation under different laws. The statute of limitations for filing a claim is two years from when the accident happened. If your child was injured more than two years ago, then it may not be possible to file a claim unless there are extenuating circumstances that would allow more time (for example, if they were only recently diagnosed with an injury).
2. Contact your insurance company
Your insurer will help you determine who was at fault and what steps must be taken next. Your insurance company should contact the other driver’s insurance company immediately after an accident to get estimates for repairs and medical bills before making any payments from either side. They will also investigate who was at fault and whether they were driving while intoxicated or distracted while operating. The sooner you contact them, the better they’ll be able to help, especially if any injuries are involved or the police need to be called out.
3. Call the police
Call the police if anyone is injured or if there may be any damage to property (i.e., lights or signs). Police should always be called out for accidents involving school buses because they carry children or special needs passengers who may require medical attention after an accident occurs on their bus. They also need to file reports to determine liability in case someone gets hurt by another driver’s negligence.
4. Contact an attorney
If you’re injured and have suffered significant losses, such as lost income from missed work or medical bills that your health insurance won’t cover, it may make sense to hire an attorney to help you compensate for those losses. The same goes for school bus accidents too.
As a parent, if your child has been injured in an accident, get help from a bus accident lawyer as soon as possible. Insurance companies will make lowball offers to encourage people to take quick settlements. A lawyer can help determine how much you should receive and will fight for the maximum compensation on your behalf.
5. Know how many people were on the bus
Take note of how many people were in your vehicle when the crash. If children are involved, ensure they are all accounted for and safe. It’s also important to note if anyone was injured in the crash and if there was any damage to your vehicle.
6. Get contact information from witnesses who saw what happened
Ask witnesses to write down their name, address, and phone number so they can be contacted later if needed by police or insurance investigators. Get names and contact information from any other drivers involved in the crash with insurance coverage that may cover your losses, such as liability or uninsured motorist coverage on their auto policy.
7. Take photos of visible damage
Take photos of any visible damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved in the collision — including school buses — and photos of any skid marks or debris from broken lights or signs on either vehicle that might help with reconstruction later on. Write everything about what happened before, during, and after the crash.