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School Bus Accidents Costly for North Carolina

2015-0318_2-01A Durham television station reported recently that school bus accidents in North Carolina cost the state an average of $5.5 million a year for medical bills and property damage sustained by injured drivers.

The report by WTVD says the State of North Carolina has paid out $66 million for school bus accidents over the past 12 years. The TV station says 4,700 bus accident victims have filed claims against the state in the past five years.

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles says in its latest Traffic Crash Facts report that there were 809 school bus crashes in the state in a recent year, of which 248 resulted in injuries and two resulted in one fatality each.

School bus accidents in North Carolina in 2012 included:

  • 157 in Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) with 105 injuries
  • 105 in Wake County (Raleigh) with 32 injuries
  • 56 in Guilford County (Greensboro) with 30 injuries
  • 34 in Durham County (Durham) with 10 injuries
  • 24 in Forsyth County (Winston-Salem) with 12 injuries
  • 23 in Cumberland County (Fayetteville) with 49 injuries.

2015-0318_2-02The two school bus accident fatalities in 2012 occurred in Johnston County (Smithfield) and Surry County (Mount Airy).

Unfortunately, a simple search of “school bus accidents North Carolina” returns several examples of recent school bus accidents across the state that resulted in multiple injuries.

Earlier this month, for example, a Wake County school bus accident in Apex sent three students from Baucom Elementary to the hospital with injuries. The accident occurred at the intersection of Holt Road and Jenks Carpenter Road. The driver of the car involved in the collision had to be cut out of the vehicle.

Payment for Accident Victims’ Losses

2015-0318_2-03When claims are filed against the state for a school bus accident in which the bus driver is at fault, the state pays through a self-insurance fund, according to WTVD. After one fatal accident in North Raleigh in 2009, where the bus driver crossed the center line and crashed head-on into a firefighter, the state paid survivors $1 million.

But the state does not simply pay what an injured car driver or school bus rider requests.

The WTVD report focuses on a Wake County school bus crash in Cary last year that involved man and his daughter, who had stopped her car to make a turn.
The collision with the bus injured man’s lower back and caused $8,500 in damage to the car, the report says. The bus driver was charged with failing to slow down to avoid a collision. The state paid to fix the car but has not agreed to pay all of the injured man’s medical bills.

As they must if they are to be properly compensated, the accident victims are now suing the state to obtain a settlement they deserve for their losses. People are legally entitled to seek compensation when they are injured through the fault or negligence of another motorist.

2015-0318_2-04Treatment for school bus-related injuries may be very expensive. Depending on the severity of a school bus accident, the victim may require hospitalization and such medical care as surgery and/or rehabilitative therapy. An accident victim also may lose income while injured and unable to work. A bus accident victim who suffers a disabling injury may require ongoing medical care or personal assistance for years to come.

All of these costs – past, current, and future – must be considered after suffering an injury in a school bus accident. If a North Carolina school bus driver is at fault in an accident, all accident victims should be made financially whole.

If you have been injured in a school bus accident or any personal injury accident in North Carolina and have outstanding bills or projected losses that parties responsible for the accident are not covering for you, contact Hardison & Cochran. We can investigate your case and help you obtain what you deserve.

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