Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

$350,000 awarded for Pennsylvania teen's death at school bus stop

Immediate family members have the right to file claims against parties responsible for the death of a loved one. Surviving Pittsburgh spouses, children and parents bring negligence lawsuits, with the assistance of wrongful death attorneys, to seek financial comfort for unnecessary losses.

The parents of a 13-year-old Pennsylvania middle school student recently reached a $350,000 liability settlement with the child's school district and the driver of the vehicle that struck and killed the girl. All but $25,000 of the settlement will be absorbed by the district.

Defendants are not required to admit negligence or thoughtlessness when agreements are reached pre-trial. Legal costs and the possibility of damaging public testimony are often reasons that defendants settle rather than go to court.

The Erie County case involved a December 2011 traffic accident at a school bus stop. The victim and another teen were crossing busy Route 97 in anticipation of a school bus's arrival when a car struck the pair.

The bus stop was across from a mobile home park. The manager of the park and others had previously complained to the school district that children were forced to cross a dangerous road. The district had received requests to move the stop within two months of the fatal car accident.

Charges of reckless endangerment and vehicular homicide are pending against the driver, whose case is under review by the state Supreme Court. The school district acted on its own after the fatality to relocate the bus stop to the same side of the road as the mobile home park.

The victim's parents will receive about $226,000 of the $350,000 settlement.

Damage awards are based on a defendant's behavior at the time of an accident that immediately or eventually causes a victim's death. Juries are more likely to be convinced that monetary relief is appropriate when proof of a defendant's careless or reckless act is linked to a victim's fatal injuries and a family's subsequent financial hardships.

Source:, "$350K Settlement Reached in Pennsylvania School Bus Stop Death" Michelle Fisher, Nov. 18, 2013

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