Yellow school buses are generally regarded as a benign presence on New Jersey’s roads and highways, but occasionally they become involved in serious motor vehicle accidents.

For example, a wrongful death case out of Monroe Township, Gloucester County, involving a school bus and its driver was recently settled for $7 million. The money is to be paid to the estate of a man killed when the bus ran a traffic light and hit his car. A look inside the case shows how lax performance standards and other factors turn these buses into serious traffic hazards.

What happened

The victim was sitting in his car at a traffic light at the intersection of Tuckahoe and Glassboro Roads. Just as the light turned green, a school bus struck his car. The man in the car, who was on his way to work, was killed instantly. The bus was operated by Student Transportation of America, and on that day, it was being driven by a woman from Glassboro. The case was investigated for possible criminal conduct, but prosecutors found no basis for a criminal proceeding.

A history of careless driving

In announcing the settlement, the plaintiff’s attorneys pointed to the driver’s poor driving history. She had been fired by three student transportation companies, including on a previous occasion by Student Transportation of America. She had also been found guilty of careless driving in 2014. In one of these prior cases, investigators said that the woman had been inattentive and had been following too closely.

People who suffer an injury or lose a loved one in similar circumstances often consider seeking damages from the party whose negligence caused the accident. The advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer can provide significant assistance in evaluating the evidence and in negotiating with the other party.