School Bus Accident Claims in South Carolina

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School bus accident claims in South Carolina may pay financial compensation. Victims can seek monetary compensation from the responsible party whether it is the school, a private company that operates the bus or a third party that is liable for the accident.

Cases are brought by students riding the bus at the time of the collision. They can also be brought by victims in another vehicle or injured pedestrians.

There are special considerations that apply when the school bus accident claim is against a unit of government, like the local school district.

Our Beaufort bus accident lawyers explain what you need to know about filing a school bus accident claim in South Carolina.

Accidents Involving School Buses in South Carolina

  • A child or adult injured in a school bus accident may qualify to receive financial compensation.
  • A person injured in a school bus crash who is not on the bus may have a claim.
  • Laws that apply to school bus operations may be important to determining fault.
  • There are special considerations for claims against a unit of government like a school.
  • There are special considerations when a claim involves a minor child.
  • Time limits are short

Schiller & Hamilton is currently accepting school bus accident claims in South Carolina. Contact us now.

School Bus Accident Laws in South Carolina

S.C. Code § 59-67-10 defines a school bus as a motor vehicle operated to transport children to and from school. Public or private ownership of the bus may impact the process of pursuing financial compensation for a crash. It may impact how much compensation a victim may receive.

Does the South Carolina seat belt law apply to school buses?

South Carolina has a seat belt law. However, the law doesn’t apply to buses since it’s not a requirement for buses to be equipped with seat belts.

Are South Carolina school buses required to have seat belts?

South Carolina law does not require school buses to have seat belts. S.C Code Title 59 – Transportation of Pupils – is the law that governs school bus transportation. The chapter doesn’t use the word seat belt. It covers topics like how to paint the bus, lights, brakes, seats and maximum ride times. However, the law fails to require seat belt use or even require buses to come equipped with seat belts.

South Carolina lawmakers have made efforts to require seatbelts on school buses. House Bill 3475 in the 2021-22 legislative session would have required school buses to have three-point lap and shoulder belts.

The detailed bill would have prohibited claims arising from driver failure to enforce use.

The bill would have created some exceptions to the requirements. The mandate was to apply only to new vehicle manufacturing. The bill did not pass.

Legislators introduced a similar bill in the 2017-18 session. (House Bill 3061). The bill would have required lap-shoulder belts. The bill did not pass.

School Bus Crash Claims and Government Defendants

In a school bus accident claim in South Carolina, the responsible party is often the school district. The bus driver may have committed a traffic violation. The school may be responsible for hiring an unqualified driver. Any claim brought against a unit of government has special procedures.

Understanding and following these procedures is necessary for the successful pursuit of compensation.

  • The South Carolina Tort Claims Act, S.C. Code § 15-78-70 et. seq., is the exclusive remedy for a claim brought against a unit of government, including a school district for a school bus crash.
  • There is a two-year time limit to start a case. It is extended to three years if the plaintiff submits a verified claim.
  • Damages are limited to $300,000 per person, regardless of the number of agencies involved, per occurrence. Total liability per occurrence is $600,000. Non-exemplary damages are not compensable.
  • Jurisdiction is in the circuit court where the action occurred.
  • Submitting a verified claim allows the school to review the demand without the plaintiff formally filing a lawsuit. The defense has 180 days to respond.

There are statutory requirements for a verified claim. (See Searcy v. Department of Education, 303 S.C. 544 (1991), where the court affirmed dismissal due to the tolling of the statute of limitations, even though the plaintiff had taken preliminary measures with the insurance carrier. The court said that these measures did not amount to a verified claim under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act.)

A school district or private busing company may be responsible for a school bus crash. There can be other responsible parties, too. For example, if another driver collides with a bus, the driver may be responsible for negligence. A bus design or manufacturing defect also creates liability.

South Carolina school bus crash

South Carolina school bus crashes have occurred in recent years. One South Carolina crash involving a tanker truck sent 17 children to the hospital. Another collision resulted in the deaths of two adults.

In a recent school bus crash, two students were taken to the hospital. The crash involved a tractor-trailer. There were 30-40 students on the bus when the crash occurred.

School bus accidents and minor children

Accidents involving school buses usually involve minor children. A minor child may qualify for compensation. They have the right to sue, but a claim must be brought by their guardian or conservator.

There are special court procedures for settlement approval.

Payment may require a structured settlement, conservatorship or funds held in a restricted account until the minor is 18.

School bus crashes often result in serious injury. Injuries may be life changing for a child. A child may claim compensation for damages subject to limits imposed by law. Future damages may be claimed including rehabilitation and personal care.

Talk to a Bus Accident Lawyer

If your child has been hurt in a school bus crash, or if you are the victim of a school bus crash, please contact Schiller & Hamilton. We handle school bus accident claims throughout South Carolina.

Discover how we can help you investigate, take the steps to make a claim and pursue the compensation that you deserve. Call or message us now.

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