FAMILIES of schoolchildren who were on board two buses which crashed in County Durham last month are taking legal action.
Two drivers and 28 children were taken to hospital after the crash on June 3 when buses carrying pupils to Tanfield School and St Bede’s School in Lanchester crashed head-on near Stanley.
Law firm Irwin Mitchell says it has been instructed to represent 15 children injured in the crash between a Go North-East double-decker bus and a single-decker operated by Stanley Travel, in Shield Row Lane, near the junction of the A693, close to Oxhill Inn.
In a statement, the company said that insurers for Stanley Travel had admitted liability for the incident, paving the way for a compensation settlement to be agreed for passengers on both vehicles.
Stanley Travel, however, was unable to clarify its position when contacted.
Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell say an investigation into the cause of this crash could prove crucial for improving the safety of vehicles in future.
Glen Edney, a specialist injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing passengers who were travelling on both buses involved, said: “This was a very serious incident in which a total of 13 ambulances were needed to help treat the schoolchildren.
“Thankfully no one was killed but many have suffered injuries with some suffering more serious injuries.
“It is also vital that we support the injured children with any treatment they need for their injuries and to help them overcome the trauma of the crash.
“We are now helping to investigate exactly what went wrong to provide answers to the families as to what caused the crash and so that we can learn from the incident to improve bus safety in future.”
A yellow double decker operated by Go North East was taking students to St Bede’s Catholic School, while the single decker Stanley Travel bus was going to Tanfield School.
Thirteen-year-old Sean Williamson, who was on the double decker behind the driver, suffered bruising to his legs and neck after a metal bar hit him during the incident.
Gerard Williamson, from Stanley, said: “When we found out about the crash I feared the worst. One bus crashing is bad enough but for two buses to hit each other, with so many children on-board, is simply shocking.
“He wasn’t one of most seriously hurt. But the thing that affected him most was that as he was getting off the bus he passed the driver and he thought the driver was dead, because he was covered in blood - so he had bad nightmares afterwards and still has flashbacks about that.
Mr Williamson added: “As parents the most important thing at the moment is making sure that our children are okay and get the help they need.
“But we also want to know exactly what happened so that any lessons can be learnt to stop this from happening again.”
There was no-one available for comment at Stanley Travel.