Eighteen Students Taken to Hospital after School Bus Crash
Eighteen children were taken to the hospital after an accident involving a school bus and a semi-truck in West Palm Beach this morning. According to the Palm Beach County Fire and Rescue, none of the children appear to have serious injuries and were taken to the hospital as a safety protocol. Because the students are all minors and there were no parents present, the William T. Dwyer High School when the crash occurred.
According to the police, the accident took place at the intersection of 45th Street and Congress Avenue at around 6:40 a.m. The West Palm Beach Police spokesman stated that both the bus and semi-truck were traveling westbound on 45th Street when the truck turned right onto Congress Avenue. The school bus clipped the truck as it was making the turn, causing the damage. This caused two additional minor accidents at the intersection with other vehicles. All lanes on 45th Street are now open, but two lanes on Congress Avenue are still blocked at this time. It is unclear at this moment the full extent of the damage caused by this accident to the vehicles and the children inside of the bus.
Filing Personal Injury Claims Against the Government
Unlike most personal injury claims, accidents involving state entities require that the victims operate under a different set of rules when it comes to collecting compensation for their claims. Under Florida law, state entities generally have sovereign immunity from lawsuits filed by citizens except for specific situations where they waive their rights to immunity. State entities include everything from government offices and vehicles to state schools and school buses.
In Florida, a person or the parents of a minor victim may file a lawsuit against the state for personal injury damages if the accident was caused by negligence or a wrongful act or omission, the victim can be compensated with money damages, and the circumstances are such that if the government entity had been a private party they would be liable under the normal personal injury laws.
However, the state does impose some restrictions on personal injury lawsuits filed against Florida government entities. The first restriction is that the individual actor cannot be held liable for the harm caused, and instead the claim must be filed against the larger entity that employs the person. Second, damages are limited to $200,000 for a single state entity or $300,000 against multiple state entities. Third, the state may appeal any resolution of a case, and lastly if the lawsuit is filed against a state university it must be filed where the campus is located.
Personal injury lawsuits filed against a state entity must provide notice to the state within three years of the date of the accident and allow a 180 day investigation period before the lawsuit is filed. If the claim is denied by the state, the victim has three years to file the lawsuit with the court from the date of the accident, unless it is a wrongful death claim, where the family only has two years to file the lawsuit.
Call Our Office
To learn more about filing personal injury claims against a Florida state entity, call or contact Gary Roberts & Associates today to schedule a free appointment to discuss your case with an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorney.