The Family of a 7-year-old boy with special needs who was left on a Palm Beach County School Bus for over 5 hours alone wins a verdict or did they?

The parents of a seven-year-old special needs child filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court against the Palm Beach County School District after their child was left on a school bus for over five hours alone in the heat of the day.  The child was found only when a mechanic went onto the bus to perform scheduled maintenance.  The trial started Monday, December 2.  On December 5, the jury awarded the plaintiffs a $424,600 verdict.  Given the child’s psychological damages and the anguish the parents suffered, this verdict was truly welcomed.  But this is only the start of the fight for this very caring family.  Because the defendant in this case was the Palm Beach County School Board, it falls under a law protecting government entities called Sovereign Immunity. Per the law the School Board is only responsible for $200,000.00 for a single claimant and up to $300,000.00 if there are multiple claimants. For the family to recover the full verdict awarded after four days of trial they will either need to obtain a claims bill, which requires approval by the Florida House of Representatives, the Florida Senate and the Governor or the School Board must agree to pay the amount above the Sovereign Immunity limit.  Although the family went through the full due process of law, went to trial and received a verdict by a jury of their peers, they may never see the full compensation the jury awarded.

This tragedy happened on October 12, 2015.  Despite the School Board firing the bus driver and the bus attendant for failing to follow their policies and procedures, the family was never compensated. The family hired Nelson Baez with the West Palm Beach law firm of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath to represent them in this matter. After the School Board’s numerous Motions to Dismiss and attempts to prevent this case from going to trial, Attorney’s Nelson Baez and Lance Ivey assisted the family to obtain the much deserved verdict on December 5, 2019.

Nelson Baez will continue to fight to make sure the family receives the full verdict amount which the jury deemed the family deserves. Unfortunately, this fight could take years. In the meantime the family must continue to pay medical expenses for the child.  “The child has gone through emotional trauma and requires continuous supervision to ensure his safety as well as his own personal care taking” stated Mr. Baez. The parents are relieved that after years of advocating for their son the jury recognized their suffering and validated their efforts. Nonetheless, when the family will receive their deserved compensation is unclear. In the meantime, the parents continue to live with the damages their child suffered. 

So why is this law still in place?  A question that has been asked by so many who have lost loved ones or have been injured by law enforcement, school buses, or other types of governmental employees. The discussion goes on but the injustice to those harmed remains.

The law firm of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, is uniquely qualified in these types of tragic cases. The firm has litigated against school boards, municipalities and other governmental entities on behalf of their clients. If you are interested to know more about this case call Mr. Nelson Baez at (561) 820-2245 or email him at

About Nelson Baez:

Nelson Baez is an attorney at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath.  Nelson Baez is a civil trial attorney representing clients in personal injury and wrongful death litigation cases including automobile accidents, products liability, medical malpractice and premises liability. Mr. Baez is a former president of the Palm Beach County Hispanic Bar Association, a board member of the Palm Beach County Justice Association and recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as a Top 40 Under 40 civil trial attorney in Florida. Mr. Baez is of Puerto Rican decent and fluent in Spanish. After four years as an Assistant State Attorney in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit he joined Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath in 2013.

All communications regarding the civil litigation of this case should be directed to attorney, Nelson Baez at the law firm of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath.

About Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey and Fronrath:

The law firm represents the plaintiff in personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, motor vehicle accidents and nursing home abuse cases. Their national reputation for representing and Fighting For The Rights of those who have been injured is well known.

For more information on Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, call the West Palm Beach office at 561-655-1990 or go to The law firm’s office is located at 515 N. Flagler Dr., West Palm Beach, FL 33401.