In a Florida community a couple of hours north of the Tampa Bay area, the driver of a semitrailer that crashed into a parked school bus full of children was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison. The accident took place in 2014 and injured seven children and the driver of the bus. The 37-year old truck driver recently pleaded guilty to four counts of reckless driving with serious bodily injury but blamed the trucking company for failing to properly maintain the truck.
According to authorities, the semitrailer struck the school bus as it was slowing to drop off students. Police reported that the school bus had yellow lights flashing and the stop arm was extended when the semi truck struck it from behind. A police trooper testified that eight of the 10 brakes on the truck were defective, making it dangerous to be on the roadway. Records show that the truck driver's license had been suspended twice and that the truck driver had received five driving violations since 2007.
Family members testified concerning the toll the accident and resulting serious injuries have taken on the children and their families. One of the children injured in the accident sustained an open skull fracture and, according to his mother, will not be able to achieve his goals of playing football or becoming a marine as a result. The parents of another of the children testified that their daughter wanted to be a cheerleader in college but because her leg was crushed in the accident, will be unable to do so. The little girl showed the scar on her leg to the court.
When victims have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, such as a truck accident, the truck driver and trucking company may be liable to compensate victims for their damages. It is also helpful to keep in mind that criminal charges and citations may be viewed as evidence of negligence.
When victims have been harmed in a commercial vehicle accident, they may face lifelong changes and struggles. Victims may be able to receive compensation for their damages, including present and future damages, provided certain requirements are met, but it is important to remember that there are time limits that apply to claims so it is essential for victims to understand how to get the help they need.
Source: News4Jax, "Trucker sentenced to 20 years in Bradford County school bus crash," Nicole Snyder, et al., Aug. 17, 2016