The Dreaded Carline and Legality

Students dodging cars to get to school.

It’s fair to say that as a society, we’re hoping to add ‘safety’ to the classic school offerings of reading, writing, and arithmetic. All this back to school hubbub leads us to wonder: What happens when accident claims are levied due to a mishap just off-campus? More specifically, how are car injury claims handled that arise when a crowded carline results in a minivan smashup? Suing for personal injury can be straightforward – or it can be incredibly nuanced. Read below as we examine possible outcomes of a school-based accident claim. 

School Carline Blues

Today, we tackle the parent’s bane of existence: the carline. Any parent who has ever entered the dreaded march of cars at the beginning or end of the day will agree: It’s a winding line of distracted driving. A crash ready to happen. An absolute backlog of overworked, exhausted parents and kids with more energy than ten cups of morning coffee. Lest you think we’re being dramatic, consider the following scenario that could lead to a legitimate personal injury claim. 

Personal injury scenario: Rachel is late for work and stuck in seemingly a never-ending line of vehicles outside school. Meanwhile, her fifth-grader is simultaneously finishing his peanut butter toast and his homework when the car in front slams to a halt just short of the crosswalk. The peanut butter toast flies through the air and lands in Rachel’s messy topknot; she’s caught off guard and she hits the brakes a few seconds late. The result? Two smashed cars, three dazed children, and one case of serious whiplash (Kevin, inside the car in front). 

Who’s at fault? 

Is it the school, the dictators of this horrendous daily vehicle ritual? Perhaps the driver of the Range Rover, Kevin, who is now apologizing profusely and offering to call his insurance company. After all, he braked suddenly. Isn’t it always the person who is rear-ended who is found innocent? Is it Rachel who will take the fall? Though she admittedly suffered a lapse of reaction time, she wouldn’t have needed to slam on the brakes if not for Kevin’s inattention to the crosswalk. 

Guessed that the school is not at fault? You are correct. However, if you guessed that Kevin is also not going to be held responsible, you are also likely correct. Rachel had time to react to Kevin’s stoppage. She didn’t. And now, what was already a frenetic day has become much worse.  

A good injury law firm will tell you that these cases are never cut and dry. Though popular belief, the rear-ender is not always the at-fault party. If you’re injured in the carline (or in any other vehicular accident) it’s important to consult personal injury attorneys who will fight for what’s just based on the situation.  

With that said, be careful out there in the carline, parents. It’s a time to keep your eye on the prize: getting your kids to school safely and without incident. Here’s to a safe school year!