A 5-year-old girl suffered major injuries after she was hit by a driverless school bus that was parked at a Moreno Valley elementary school the afternoon of March 18, 2013. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the incident occurred at Box Springs Elementary School.
California Highway Patrol officials say the bus rolled back from the parking lot, jumped a curb and struck a child who was on the sidewalk. Two children had boarded the bus, which was in the parking lot driveway just north of the school. Other children were standing on the sidewalk downhill of the bus where they were waiting to be picked up after school. The girl was transported to a local hospital.
Based on this news report, it appears that the bus that was without the driver rolled back and struck the girl. Those who witnessed this horrific crash likened what happened to the sound of falling pipes as the bus hit a metal fence that borders the sidewalk. The girl was on the ground by the front door of the bus, witnesses said. Many who saw the incident were traumatized and the school is planning on bringing crisis counselors on campus to help them cope.
What Caused This Incident?
Even as CHP officials are investigating the cause of this school bus accident, there are a number of questions. What caused the bus to roll back? Did the driver leave the parking brake on? Did the bus’s brakes fail? Was it due to a defective part or a mechanical malfunction? Was the brake failure due to poor maintenance? Was driver negligence a factor? Were the design of the driveway and parking lot dangerous? I trust officials are looking into these and other issues in order to determine precisely what occurred here and why.
Fault and Liability
If the bus driver is determined to have been at fault, the driver and his or her employer could be held liable for the girl’s injuries. If a dangerous part caused the collision, then, the bus manufacturer or the maker of the defective part can be held liable. In addition, the school district and school board may also be held liable for allowing a dangerous condition to exist.
Injured victims can seek compensation from the negligent parties for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Victims or their families in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that the negligent parties are held liable.