School buses carrying students are common carriers that owe a heightened duty of care to protect passengers. To prevent injuries, bus drivers must operate their vehicles with extra caution and must follow traffic rules and regulations. However, a bus accident can still happen no matter how careful a bus driver can be. This is the case when another vehicle struck a school bus from behind, sending 28 high teens to area hospitals.
On April 30, a yellow bus carrying students to North Brunswick High School was starting to move from Georges Road onto Route 130 when it was rear-ended by a Jeep Wrangler traveling behind the bus. Initial investigation revealed that the 26-year-old driver of the Jeep was not paying attention, accelerated, and struck the rear panel of the school bus.
All students, who wore lap seatbelts, were taken to area hospitals. Seven students complained of pain, while others were also taken to area hospitals for observation. Neither driver was hurt. According to police, the students were taken to hospitals as a precaution, whether they sustained injuries or not. The driver of the Jeep Wrangler has been issued multiple traffic summonses.
In personal injury cases arising from motor vehicle accidents, recovery of damages is based on the theory of negligence. Under negligence laws, it should be established that there was a relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant that created a duty of care; that the defendant failed to exercise the care required; and that the plaintiff has suffered an injury or loss because of that failure.
In rear-end collision cases, the driver of the vehicle that rear-ends another vehicle is almost always at fault for the accident, unless the vehicle in front makes an unexpected, sudden stop. In this particular case, the injured passengers of the school bus have valid grounds to pursue a negligence claim against the driver of the Jeep Wrangler. Since minor individuals are unable to make a claim, their parents or adult family members may pursue a claim on their behalf with the help of a personal injury attorney.