A Camden County Superior Court jury this week awarded $5 million to a teenage girl who was struck by a drunk driver after her school bus let her off at a dangerous and unapproved stop. According to court documents, plaintiff's attorneys argued that the school bus driver ordered the Gloucester County woman to exit the bus about one-third of a mile from her home and walk down a busy, high speed road with no sidewalks, instead of dropping her at the designated stop in front of her home. The driver did that an alleged 40 times throughout the school year prior to accident in an effort to shorten his bus route.
According to court documents, the pleadings alleged that the high school Junior had been struck by a drunk driver as a result of having been made to walk home from the unapproved, improper and unsafe stop. As a consequence of her accident, the plaintiff suffered pelvic fractures, back injuries and traumatic brain injuries. While attorneys for the bus company argued that the drunk driver should be apportioned with the majority of responsibility, the jury saw things differently, finding the bus driver 75% liable, and the drunk driver 25%.
As parents, we must entrust certain individuals with our children's well being on a daily basis. These include, among others, teachers, doctors, babysitters and school bus drivers. In this case, the school bus driver violated a fundamental rule of school bus transportation by not dropping the teen off at her designated stop. Not only was the driver reckless with the teen's wellbeing once, but he engaged in similar behavior an estimated 40 times throughout the school year. To make matters worse, the bus driver allegedly rallied the young woman's classmates to bully her and force her off at the improper stop so their rides would be shorter as well. As a result, the young woman will now suffer from chronic pain and cognitive issues for the rest of her life.
Although the school year is just concluding, school buses are used throughout the summer to take kids to day camps and on longer trips. In New Jersey, school buses have designated routes and designated stops. If a driver deviates from the scheduled route, and a child is injured as a result, he or she may be found negligent and held liable for any injuries the child suffered.
If you suspect negligence played a role in your child's injury, do not hesitate to contact the experienced New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Breslin and Breslin. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages and losses.