Reports surfaced during early December 2016 that at least six children in Tennessee perished in a tragic school bus accident. Several other student passengers on the bus suffered serious injuries. The accident happened because the bus driver was traveling at an unsafe speed. When the bus rounded a corner, the driver lost control, sending the large vehicle off the road, where it slammed into a tree. The bus then rolled onto its side.
The accident has generated a robust discussion regarding the level of oversight that schools exercise over bus drivers and other personnel. Numerous parents expressed outrage that the bus driver was permitted to continue operating a school bus after a series of incidents suggested that he was perhaps unfit to operate the bus. Many thought he should have been terminated or at least placed on suspension.
According to a news report from CNN and other reports, students had submitted numerous written complaints along with complaints from parents to the school, indicating that the bus driver engaged in reckless driving. Other employees at the school also notified officials at the school that they observed the driver operating the bus in an unsafe manner. Despite these warnings, the school took no action against the driver.
Police and authorities investigating the accident have filed criminal charges against the bus driver. He faces five counts of vehicular homicide in addition to a count of reckless endangerment and reckless driving. It is expected that a sixth charge for vehicular homicide will be added. The indictment indicates that the charges are based on his reckless driving, speeding, and weaving.
Following the accident, investigative news sources learned that the bus driver, a single father, was also working for Amazon at its Chattanooga-based fulfillment location. He often worked overnight shifts, meaning he may have been fatigued at the time of the accident. According to a co-worker the bus driver held two jobs to support his son. Police have already indicated that drugs and alcohol were not involved in the accident.
Bringing a tort claim against a government authority is different from bringing a tort claim against a private citizen or company. In 1973, Florida passed a limited sovereign immunity waiver that allows individuals who suffer damages as a result of a state employee’s actions to seek compensation from the state. Since 1973, however, innumerable roadblocks, limitations, and special requirements have become part of the process of seeking compensation from the government.
If you or a loved one has suffered harm as a result of a government employee’s negligence, the bus and truck accident lawyers at Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano are ready to assist you. Serving clients throughout Southwest Florida, including in Fort Myers, Naples, and Cape Coral, we have handled a wide variety of government-related claims and understand how the process works. It may be the case that several parties are liable for your injury, which may require filing claims against each of them to pursue the full amount of compensation that you are owed. We offer a free consultation to help you learn about your situation and the legal remedies available to you. Call us now at 1-800-283-7442 or contact us online to get started.