Ten people were hurt in a multi-vehicle crash in Davie involving schoolchildren, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Sept. 21. According to the paper, a van belonging to Nob Hill Academy, a preschool and after-school care center, failed to stop when it approached a stopped school bus in the right-hand lane of Stirling Road. However, a minivan and a car had stopped for the bus; the Nob Hill van hit those vehicles. The crash pushed the minivan into a median and caused the van to go over the median into the westbound lanes of the road. Seven children sustained minor injuries; three adults were hurt, with one woman hospitalized in critical condition. Thirteen other people were treated and released at the scene.
My best wishes go out to the woman who was seriously hurt. As a Cooper City car crash attorney, I am pleased that this accident was not worse, particularly since Nob Hill Academy cares for very young and vulnerable children. But by the same token, the crash calls the judgment of the van’s driver into serious question. All drivers should stop for school buses — because it’s the law and because children may be walking nearby — but drivers of other school vehicles ought to be especially aware of that rule. And even without a school bus in the picture, drivers should pay enough attention to slow for stopped traffic ahead.
Legally, the driver of the van is likely at fault for apparently failing to do those things. But because the van’s driver was probably at work at the time, the school may be held legally liable for the crash as well, under a legal doctrine called vicarious liability. The school may also be held responsible if victims can show that it was negligent in its hiring and supervision of the driver. Legally, employers are responsible for the actions of employees working in the “course and scope” of their employment. That includes the actions of drivers who are performing job duties, driving a company vehicle — or both, as in this case. This means the school and its insurance company are financially responsible in any Hallandale auto accident lawsuit the victims choose to file.
At Cohn, Smith & Cohn, we have more than 25 years of experience helping victims of serious car crashes that were no fault of their own. Typically, our clients have lost a loved one or suffered a debilitating injury, such as severe burns, chronic pain or brain injuries. In many cases, they are also thrown off their financial footing by the accident, facing high medical bills that their savings won’t cover even as insurance companies deny coverage or even blame them for the crashes. Our Opa-Locka car accident attorneys even the playing field, helping accident victims fight for the settlement money they’re legally entitled to. In many cases, we can secure fair compensation for our clients without filing a lawsuit — but if necessary, we are not afraid to take the fight to court.
If your family is struggling financially and personally after a car wreck caused by someone else’s carelessness, Cohn, Smith & Cohn can help. To set up a free, confidential consultation, please contact us through our Web site or call our main office in Hollywood at (954) 431-8100.