First Student Inc. is under fire in a lawsuit alleging it was negligent when a student was injured on a bus ride home from school in 2009.
When most families put their child on a school bus, there is a certain expectation that their child will return home at the end of the day without incident. Unfortunately for a family in the Mt. Pleasant Area School district, that was not the case. Back on October 1, 2009, a child was allegedly injured on a bus ride home from school, and now her family is filing a lawsuit against First Student Inc., the company that provided bus transportation services for the Mt. Pleasant Area School district at the time. At the time of the incident, the student was only in kindergarten.
According to the suit, which was filed earlier this month in Westmoreland County court, the student “was launched from her seat after the driver suddenly braked in an effort to stop disruptive behavior during a ride home.”
Vincent J. Barbara of Somerset County is representing the family. He said, “the child was helpless to the forces of inertia and was sent flying off her seat to the floor and into the metal bracket of the partition in front of her.”
Eventually, the driver “stopped the bus and found the child on the floor, bleeding from the head, and gave her a paper rag to hold against the wound before continuing on with the route,” according to court documents.
When the child arrived at her stop, her grandfather greeted her and was alarmed to find “blood on her dress and socks as she held the rag against her head.” As a result of the incident, the student was “blinded in her left eye, sustained a concussion, head, and facial lacerations and suffered a brain injury.” The suit argues that First Student “was negligent in the training of its driver and failed to have cameras on the vehicle to monitor behavior.” Additionally, it alleges the driver, “who was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was not sufficiently trained to provide first aid to student passengers.”
The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages. When asked about the statute of limitations, Barbara noted that while the incident happened years ago, “the filing falls within the state’s statute of limitations.” Greensburg lawyer Larry Kerr agrees and said “the statute used by Barbara to file the lawsuit is well established Pennsylvania law.” He added:
“It says that injuries to a minor, if a person was under 18 at the time, and means the last day to file a lawsuit is two years after the child’s 18th birthday.”