State Supreme Court Finds that Governmental Immunity Does Not Apply to School Bus Driver

Late last month, the Supreme Court of North Carolina released its opinion in a case stemming from an accident involving a school bus and another driver. The accident occurred back in 2007, when the plaintiff’s car was hit by a school bus that was in the process of transporting students to an athletic event. Approximately three years later, the plaintiff brought a lawsuit against the school board, alleging that the school bus driver was negligent and that his negligence resulted in the plaintiff’s serious injuries. This lawsuit was brought in front of the North Carolina Industrial Commission (“the Commission”).

Public school buses parked in a line with doors open

The defendant moved for a motion for summary judgment, claiming that the Commission did not have jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s claim. The plaintiff then appealed this decision, which was ultimately unanimously reversed. However, the defendant then went on to file a petition for discretionary review, which was permitted. The plaintiff argued that the school activity buses should be within the Commission’s discretion because the vehicle falls within the definition of a “public school bus or school transportation service vehicle.” The Supreme Court ruled that school buses, as described in the governmental immunity statute, and school activity buses, such as the one involved here, are two distinct categories, so these buses were not incorporated into the immunity waivers.

Jurisdictional Issues When Bringing a Negligence Suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act in New Mexico

As this blog has previously addressed, the Federal Tort Claims Act was created to limit the burden of excessive lawsuits against the government. However, with this Act come certain exceptions that allow individuals to bring suits against the government despite the statute. Issues may arise when there is a question as to what is actually covered by the Act and where to bring these types of suits.

In almost all cases, before an individual can bring a claim against the New Mexico government, they must first file an administrative claim. In New Mexico, this is usually accomplished by filing a Standard Form 95. Generally, the government has about six months to either admit or deny the claim. However, the plaintiff cannot file a complaint until there is an answer or the time has lapsed.

It is also important for personal injury plaintiffs to note that there is a limit to how much compensation they can recover under these types of claims. A plaintiff cannot claim damages for greater than the amount that they originally presented when filing the SF 95.

Have You Been Injured Because of the Negligence of a Government Employee or Governmental Agent in New Mexico?

It is very important if you wish to bring a claim against a governmental agency or employee that you act quickly. It is recommended that you contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm to assist you in bringing this claim. As was discussed above, there are several rules that must be followed that may drastically affect the outcome of your case. An attorney at the Fine Law Firm can assist you in these types of cases. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you suffered. This may include awards for your past and future medical expenses, as well as lost time away from work and compensation for any pain and suffering you endured. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Officials Believe Truck Driver Was “Sexting” Immediately Before Causing Deadly Crash, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, January 7, 2016.

Specific Limitations in Liability in New Mexico Governmental Tort Suits, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 22, 2016.