South Carolina Hit-and-Run Near School Bus Stop Leaves 12-Year-Old Injured

A 12-year-old girl is recovering in Greenville after being struck by a vehicle at her school bus stop as she was attempting to board. The driver of the sport utility vehicle that struck her is a 53-year-old man who lacks a driving license, authorities say. He was later located and arrested and charged with unlawfully passing a stopped school bus, driving without a license and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.schoolbus4

According to news reports, the bus was stopped on Highway 150, and it was shortly before 7 a.m. The 12-year-old walked across a private drive in order to board the bus. Meanwhile, the offending driver, in his 1996 Chevrolet sport utility vehicle, drove off the right side of the road in order to pass the bus. That’s when he struck the girl.

Although her injuries were deemed minor in comparison to what they could have been in the situation, she may well have cause for legal action against at least three parties here.

First, if the facts as presented by local news are accurate, this driver violated several traffic laws and was operating a vehicle without a license. This may be grounds for a finding of negligence per se. This is a doctrine whereby an act is considered negligent by virtue of the fact it violates a certain law or regulation. Usually in a case like that, action would be taken against the driver’s insurance company. However, because this driver was operating a vehicle without a license, it’s more likely than not that he did not have proper insurance coverage. That leaves a few options for plaintiffs in pedestrian accident lawsuits.

One could seek to hold the driver personally liable and responsible to pay compensation. The tough thing about this option is that while it may be relatively simple to obtain a judgment in this situation, actually collecting on it is a different matter. Many drivers who lack insurance have neither the resources nor the assets to pay a significant injury judgment.

We might then turn our attention to the owner/ insurer of the vehicle. If it belonged to someone other than driver – and the owner was aware this driver had no license and/or a poor driving history and allowed him to take the vehicle anyway – the vehicle owner and/or the insurance company that covers the vehicle could be held liable for negligent entrustment.

More likely than not, this driver is uninsured. In those situations, our Greenville personal injury lawyers suggest identifying whether the victim was covered under an uninsured/ underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policy.  In many cases, pedestrians who have automotive insurance (or, as in this instance, may be covered under a parent’s policy) can still collect insurance money even though he or she was not driving or in a vehicle when they were struck.

Other options might include determining whether the school district or driver breached any duties of care (though it doesn’t appear on the surface they did) or whether there may have been some negligent road design or maintenance that contributed in some way to the crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that between 2004 and 2014, there were 1,214 fatal crashes deemed school transportation related. Of those, 21 percent were non-occupants, such as bicyclists and pedestrians.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Driver charged after child hit by SUV on way to school bus, troopers say, Dec. 3, 2015, By Stephanie Towers, WYFF4.com

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Mansfield v. Real Estate Plus Inc. – Landlord Duty to Tenant in Stair Rail Collapse, Dec. 9, 2015, Greenville Injury Lawyer Blog

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