Brooksville Wrongful Death Lawyer :: Death of Hillsborough County Girl Prompts Hernando School Board to Review Safety Procedures

November 14, 2012

field trip

Brooksville, FL – Hernando County school board members have been prompted to reevaluate their own safety measures after the death of a Hillsborough County special-needs girl on a bus earlier this year.

The county’s superintendent said now is the time to review safety procedures with board members, district and school staff to avoid tragic accidents, like the death of the second grade student who passed away after being improperly positioned in her wheelchair while riding a bus home from school.

Her family has filed a lawsuit against the Hillsborough school district. The family claims both the driver and the aide failed to call 911 after the 7-year-old, who suffered from a neuromuscular disorder making her neck and other muscles weak, had a medical emergency.

The school district has since made it clear to drivers that they are to always exercise good judgment and common sense should an emergency arise on a school bus. This includes dialing 911 every time a medical emergency arises.

Hernando County school board members have discussed the district’s policy and whether or not bus drivers are supposed to call the transportation office rather than 911, which is what the Hillsborough bus drivers were apparently required to do.

According to the district’s transportation director, bus drivers are told to pull over and immediately report their location to dispatch and their reason for pulling over. Once dispatch confirms the location, they then make a call to 911. If for some reason dispatch cannot be reached, drivers should call for emergency assistance.

In the Hillsborough County case, neither the aide nor the bus driver called 911 after the bus pulled off the road. Reports indicate that the driver followed protocol and dialed dispatch while the aide called the girl’s mother twice from her cell phone.

When the mother boarded the bus a few minutes later, she called 911. The child died the next day at a local hospital.

After the Hernando County school board’s discussion, it was agreed that emergency procedures needed to be further reviewed and discussed with transportation, ESE and other staff at a later date.

It is emotionally devastating when your child is injured in any type of accident. It is even more heartbreaking when you learn the injury was suffered at school or on a school bus. When you send your child off to school in the morning, you never expect them to be injured in the very place they are supposed to be free from harm. However, serious accidents can occur that can result in your child suffering severe personal injuries or even wrongful death.

If your child suffered an injury at school or on a school bus due to the negligence of a staff member, you may be able to pursue compensation for your losses. Schools are responsible for protecting students and when they fail to live up to their duty, they should be held accountable. While it can be hard to file a claim against a private or public school system, an experienced attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options.

It is important to be aware that evidence must be collected before it disappears, and there are time constraints placed on how long you have to file a claim. A Brooksville Wrongful Death Attorney at Whittel & Melton can begin helping you with your claim right away. If your child was seriously injured or suffered from an accidental death in Hernando County, contact us today online or call 352-666-2121 for a complimentary consultation.

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