x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Dh1 million sought for boy injured in school bus accident

The family of a boy who was injured when a school bus ran over him has filed a lawsuit seeking Dh1 million in damages and compensation for medical expenses.

DUBAI // The family of a teenage boy who was severely injured when a school bus ran over him last year has filed a lawsuit seeking up to Dh1 million.

Ali Sultan, a lawyer for the family of Shahroz Khan, 14, said they would be suing the school, its insurance company and the bus driver.

The civil suit seeks damages and compensation for medical treatment on behalf of Shahroz, a Pakistani student.

The first hearing in the case took place yesterday at the Dubai Court. The case has been adjourned until May 24.

“The boy still has problems walking and it will take time for him to get fixed medically,” Mr Sultan said.

“He is very young and spent a lot of time in hospital, and he will still need more care. We have said it will be Dh800,000 to Dh1 million for his treatment. We have left it to the court to decide the exact amount.”

Shahroz and the Indian student Aslam Basha, 11, pupils at Central School, Dubai, were hit by the bus on June 21 last year as they waited outside the school in Al Nahda area.

Both boys were in the intensive-care unit of Rashid Hospital for more than 10 days. They were treated for fractured limbs, broken ribs and internal bleeding.

School authorities said the students had completed their first-term examinations and were waiting for their school bus to take them home at the time of the incident.

But in a bus parked nearby, a driver turned the ignition key to switch on the air conditioner.

The vehicle, which was in gear, lurched forward and ran over the boys.

School authorities terminated the driver’s services and he served two months in prison.

Shahroz remained in hospital for two months and needed a walker for support until this year. He has undergone five surgeries and physiotherapy for his crushed foot, dislocated hip and fractured thigh bone.

“He still requires a walking stick and will need two more operations because there is no strength in his right foot,” said a relative, who did not want to be identified as the case was in court. “It could take him six months to a year to walk normally.”

Shahroz’s parents took him out of the school but are yet to finalise a new one.

Meanwhile, 10 months after the accident, Aslam has returned to school in time for the start of the Indian academic year.

He was released from hospital three weeks after the accident and began walking by November. His parents kept Aslam home on medical advice to help injuries to his chest and legs to heal.

Now all this Grade 7 pupil wants to do is play cricket with his friends.

“I love batting and bowling and finally I can play with my friends,” Aslam said. “My mother is scared that I’ll hurt myself and keeps telling me to be careful.

“I can’t carry too much weight on my back so I make sure I carry fewer books to school. But I have no pain now.”

It was hard work last year studying at home to pass exams, he said.

“I had a tuition teacher and my parents got copies of my friends’ notes,” Aslam said.

“I didn’t really want to see my report card. All I know is I passed and I am in the next class.”

School authorities said Aslam’s medical fees were covered by insurance but they declined to give details.

Last year’s school fees have been waived for both boys.

“It was a very unfortunate accident,” said Rasul Syed Mirza Ghalib, the school principal.

“It’s the parents’ wish how much they want to claim and it’s up to the court now to decide.”

For Aslam, the recurring nightmares of the accident have stopped. He tries not to think of the accident but remembers it often when he sees a bus approaching.

“My nightmares of the bus hitting me are over but on the first day at school I was a little scared to go near a school bus,” he said.

“But now it’s better, I don’t get too scared.”

rtalwar@thenational.ae