The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

School Bus Crash on Way to Great Adventure Raises Great Liability

You send the kids off to camp during the summer to get them out of your hair while they don’t have school. You think that it’s great, all those other adults taking care of your little terrors. Then those adults go and crash buses together on the way to the amusement park.

On Thursday, 39 children from a sports camp in Tannersville were injured when one camper-carting bus rear-ended another while on the way to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, reports NBC10. Fortunately, only two of the four buses carrying 100 9- and 10-year-olds were involved in the accident. Is there a lawsuit here?

Well, there’s always a lawsuit if you’re willing to plunk down the cash. That’s unless it’s totally crazy, in which case you could be on the hook for a frivolous lawsuit.

However, a lawsuit in this situation would not be frivolous because there is a pretty clear legal basis. When there is an injury that is caused by another person, and the parties need an investigation to know the full story, a lawsuit will not be labeled frivolous.

The lawsuit in this situation would be for negligence of one or both the drivers of the buses. It could be filed against the drivers personally, and against the camps. However, if the buses were operated by an independent bus company, the camp probably would not be held liable.

In order to prove negligence, you need to show that the person caused harm to you by breaching a duty that they owed you.

Here, the bus drivers owed a duty to drive reasonably to protect their passengers. Since this accident was a rear-ender, it is relatively easy to assign fault based on the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, which requires drivers to maintain a safe speed to avoid hitting the car in front of them.

Therefore, it would be up to the rear-ending driver to prove that there was something happening outside of his control that caused the buses to collide in order to avoid full liability.

Since no children were severely hurt, it is unlikely that any child would benefit from a lawsuit brought because of the bus crash, unless they asked for an injunction to have them stay at the amusement park for the rest of the summer.

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