Negligence: School district was not negligent in its operation of school bus

The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, recently held that a school district was not negligent in its operation of a school bus, as would support a negligence claim brought by a student’s parents, in an action seeking to recover damages for personal injuries the student sustained when he stood up from his seat while the school bus was decelerating and his face struck the back of the seat in front of him.  The incident occurred on the plaintiff’s ride on school bus home following his first day of kindergarten at his elementary school.  As the bus was decelerating, the plaintiff stood up from his seat and his face struck the back of the seat in front of him, causing the avulsion of one of his permanent front teeth.  The incident was captured on a video recording-which contained both speed and time data-taken from a camera located at the front of the bus.  The bus, including its braking system, was functioning properly at the time of the incident. The bus driver was qualified, experienced, and properly trained to operate a school bus.  The bus was traveling within the speed limit, did not decelerate in an improper manner, and was otherwise operated in accordance with the applicable policies and procedure. Read the Court’s Opinion.

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