Family Awarded $90 Million for Pedestrian Accident Involving Unsafe Bus Stop
School kids are the most common victims of pedestrian accidents for a number of reasons that include less experience with distance and speed, smaller stature making them less visible and more distance covered on foot.
Despite these factors, motorists have an affirmative obligation to drive cautiously to avoid striking kids, particularly in high child pedestrian areas, such as near school bus stops, parks, malls and schools. When motorists neglect this duty, it can result in fatal child pedestrian accidents.
A recent example of such a tragedy involves a girl whose family was just awarded $90 million following a fatal pedestrian accident near a bus stop. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family of this young girl. The vehicle that collided with the young student hit the pedestrian as she crossed the street to her bus stop. The car then ricocheted into another vehicle before hitting another child pedestrian. While the second child pedestrian to be hit by the car survived with relatively minor injuries, the first pedestrian succumbed to her injuries after fighting valiantly for two weeks.
The judgment in this case was not just against the negligent driver but also against the school district. The school board had implemented a policy to promote safe transportation of kids to and from school. Under the policy, the school bus was supposed to pick up the girl on her side of the street so that should would not be forced to cross the busy street and risk a pedestrian accident. However, the school district never followed through on the safety policy.
The girl was a freshman in high school and would be graduating this year if the tragedy had not occurred. As the teen's devastated mother explained, "She was on her way .... She was doing the right thing. She was going to school. She was a good girl .... If she didn't have to cross the street ... she'd be graduating this year. She'd be going to prom this year."
Pedestrian accidents are particularly dangerous because physically the body is simply not designed to withstand impact from a projectile weighing thousands of pounds. This inherent vulnerability of pedestrians combined with the particular risk to kids is why drivers are supposed to exercise care and reduce their speed or stop in school zones and near school buses with flashing lights. School districts also have a legal duty to take reasonable care when locating and designing school bus stops to prevent an unreasonable risk to child pedestrians.
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