Close Menu
Home > Blog > Personal Injury > A Closer Look at School Bus Stop Arm Violations

A Closer Look at School Bus Stop Arm Violations


99 percent of motorists agreed that passing a school bus on the left when children are getting on or off is the most dangerous traffic violation. Actions speak louder than words, and in this case, the actions broadcast the opposite message. At least one stop arm violation per day happens somewhere in King County. Quite simply, most drivers want to reach their destinations as quickly as possible, and they don’t particularly care about the risk their hurried driving imposes on other people, even children.

Ignoring a stop arm, or red flashing lights on a school bus, is clearly illegal. Therefore, a Seattle personal injury lawyer can typically use the negligence per se rule and establish negligence as a matter of law. However, these cases still have liability issues, as outlined below. Only the best lawyer can sort through all these issues and obtain maximum compensation for your serious injuries.

Possible Responsible Parties

This question is complicated. Possible responsible parties include the tortfeasor (negligent driver), school bus operator, school bus route planner, and victim.

The aforementioned negligence per se rule applies if the legal violation substantially caused injury. Seattle personal injury lawyers sometimes call substantial cause but-for cause. For example, bad weather might contribute to a car accident, but bad weather does not substantially cause accidents. Lots of drivers operate in bad weather and don’t crash. Driver negligence, usually aggressive or impaired driving, substantially causes these wrecks.

School bus operators could be negligent as well. Bus drivers cannot simply pull over, put up their stop arms, and expect motorists to stop. Instead, they must pull over at safe, assigned locations. If traffic is particularly heavy on a given day or there’s a mud puddle at the door, the assigned location isn’t a safe location.

School bus driver errors are common. Frequently, bus drivers wear two hats. They must safely operate vehicles and control sometimes unruly children. SO, they have one eye on the road and one eye on children.

Route planners are in the responsibility mix as well. They must choose safe pickup and drop-off points. Usually, designating bus stop locations is a discretionary function, which means these government workers could be responsible for damages.

An attorney cannot discount a child’s negligence. School bus drivers cannot stop anywhere they please, and children cannot run across the street without looking both ways.

Injury Compensation Available

Multiple responsible parties have minimal effect on a victim’s compensation. Washington is a pure comparative fault state. Even if the victim was 99 percent responsible for an injury, the tortfeasor is responsible for a proportionate share of damages.

Compensation is available for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Count on a Diligent King County Lawyer

School bus stop arm injury claims are very complex. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Seattle, contact the Emerald Law Group. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.


Facebook Twitter LinkedIn