Liability of Public Schools in the Transportation of Students

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Liability of Public Schools in the Transportation of Students

In general, a school district does not have a duty to provide transportation services to students. Once transportation has been provided, however, a school district assumes a duty of care with respect to the service.

Unless barred by sovereign or government immunity, a school district may be liable not only for injuries occurring during the transportation to and from the school, but may be liable for injuries that occur at designated bus stops and while children board and disembark from the bus. 

What Will Liability Be Based Upon?

A school district's liability will be based upon negligence and may be either primary negligence or vicarious negligence. An example of primary negligence would be where a school district had a duty of care to provide supervision to a bus loading area. An example of vicarious negligence is where a school district may be held responsible for the negligent actions of their driver, or other agents. 

How Do I Establish Whether the School District or Their Agents Were Negligent?

Negligence is typically going to turn on whether the school district had a duty of care. Duty of care is going to be dependent on the circumstances of the case and the jurisdiction which you reside. 

Duty of care may be established by the laws of the state or county where the school district is located. Furthermore, duty of care may be formed by handbooks or regulations the school district uses to ensure safety. 

Some states and jurisdictions will require reasonable, ordinary care under the circumstances while other states will require extraordinary care, determining the type of care required by your jurisdiction may affect the outcome of your case. 

Will I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

First, determine whether there was a duty of care established by law or practice. To do this, look up state statutes or get a copy of the school district's transportation safety procedures, if they have one. Second, contact a personal injury attorney and tell them the circumstances of the case.  They will be able to determine whether you will be able to recover or not.

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Last Modified: 12-24-2013 12:42 PM PST

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