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Snow and Ice School Bus Accident in Missouri - Is the State at Fault?

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Snow and Ice School Bus Accident in Missouri - Is the State at Fault?


According to the Transportation Research Board about 6,000 injuries a year are caused by school bus accidents, including 20 deaths. Obviously, accidents are more likely when roads are covered by snow and ice. If you or your child has been injured in a school bus accident, a St. Louis personal injury lawyer might be able to hold the state of Missouri accountable.


Negligent Driving


Every driver is expected to drive with “reasonable care” on public roads. A school bus driver, by contrast, is held to the highest standard of care with respect to the safety of the children because (i) he is a professional driver and (ii) he has custody of the children riding the bus. This elevated standard of care makes it much easier to find the driver liable for any injuries to the children on the bus, even if snowy and icy were a partial cause of an accident. A river can also be held liable for injuries to pedestrians or passengers in other vehicles.

How Missouri Might be at Fault


There are a number of reasons why the state of Missouri might be at fault for a school bus accident:


  • Negligent driving by the bus driver. If the state government is the driver’s employer (as is usually the case with public schools), the state of Missouri can be held jointly liable for the accident, even if the state itself was not directly at fault.

  • Failure to promptly and properly clear the roads after a heavy snowfall or an ice storm. In this scenario, Missouri can escape liability if it shows that its failure to clear the roads was reasonable (there was not enough time, for example).  

  • Failure to declare a “snow day” to keep children out of school during inclement weather.


Missouri’s Sovereign Immunity Law


When you sue the state of Missouri, you are essentially suing all Missouri taxpayers. For this reason, Missouri limits a citizen’s ability to sue the state government, by relying on the legal principle of sovereign immunity. Fortunately, Missouri has partially waived its sovereign immunity with respect to certain  personal injury lawsuits.


The Loophole

Depending on the circumstances, the auto accident exception to Missouri’s sovereign immunity protection might apply to a snow and ice school bus accident in St. Louis. In Missouri, government entities are allowed to purchase liability insurance against auto accident liability. If you sue the state of Missouri for an auto accident, you can recover up to the amount of the limits of the insurance coverage purchased by the political subdivision that you are suing.  

Taking Legal Action

Winning a lawsuit or a settlement in a snow and ice school bus accident can be tricky because of Missouri’s sovereign immunity limitations. Regardless of whether you are seeking compensation in your own name or on behalf of an injured child, you will need the services of an aggressive and committed St. Louis personal injury lawyer. At The Law Offices of Alvin Wolff Jr. & Associates, we don’t stop fighting until you receive justice. Call 314-241-2500 or use our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation with

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