Earlier this month, a tragic school bus accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee claimed the lives of six children and injured many others. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the driver of the bus has been arrested on vehicular homicide charges.

Kids Boarding BusThe accident occurred after school on the students’ ride home. Evidently, the bus driver was operating the vehicle at a high rate of speed on a road that was not a part of the driver’s route when he lost control of the bus and struck a tree. The force from the collision was so great that it bent the bus in half upon impact.

The Bus Driver Had a Checkered Driving History

According to the most recent news report covering the accident, the school bus driver had been the subject of several student and parent complaints in the past. In fact, there were reports that the driver had been driving too fast, had become agitated and aggressive with students, and had even intentionally come to a quick stop to make the students fall out of their seats. The driver had also been involved in another school bus accident just two months before.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Mississippi issued a written opinion in a chain-reaction truck accident case, affirming judgment in favor of the allegedly negligent truck driver and his employer. In the case, Ready v. RWI Transportation, the court determined that the plaintiff’s injuries in a subsequent accident not involving the defendant were not a foreseeable consequence of the defendants’ negligence. As a result of the decision, the plaintiff will not be permitted to pursue compensation for their injuries.

Truck MirrorThe Facts of the Case

A truck driver employed by RWI Transportation caused an accident when he made an improper lane change on a Mississippi highway. As a result of that initial accident, the truck and another vehicle were left incapacitated and came to a rest while blocking the highway. Traffic was slowed, and a significant traffic jam formed.

About 30 minutes later, while traffic was still moving slowly, Ready approached the traffic jam and crashed into the back of another vehicle that had come to a complete stop as a result of the traffic jam. Ready filed a personal injury lawsuit against RWI Transportation and the driver of the truck involved in the initial accident. Ready claimed that the truck driver’s negligence was the cause of the subsequent accident that resulted in his injuries.

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Earlier this month in South Carolina, four Maryland residents died after the vehicle in which they were riding was struck from behind by a semi-truck. According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, the victims included three siblings aged four, five, and seven, as well as another woman. Her relationship to the children is unknown.

Semi-TruckThe accident took place on Interstate 95 at around 4:00 in the morning. Evidently, the accident victims were heading southbound on I-95 in their 2001 Ford Taurus when an approaching semi-truck rear-ended them. The force from the collision pushed the car into a nearby ravine, where it struck several trees before coming to a rest. The truck also ended up in the ravine, falling on top of the car and trapping the occupants in the rear of the vehicle.

The driver and the front-seat passenger of the vehicle were able to escape, although they suffered serious injuries. However, all four people in the rear of the car were pronounced dead by emergency workers. The driver of the semi-truck suffered minor injuries. Police are still investigating the cause of the accident.

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Bus drivers, like other motorists, have a duty to operate their vehicles in a safe manner. However, unlike drivers of personal vehicles, most bus drivers are commercially licensed and are operating as “common carriers.” Simply put, a common carrier is a person or company that transports passengers for a fee. Examples of common carriers include buses, taxi-cabs, and semi-trucks.

Bus AisleDrivers always have a duty of care to ensure that they are safely operating their vehicles. This includes a duty to all other motorists on the road, as well as to the passengers inside the driver’s vehicle. However, the duty that a common carrier owes to its passengers is greater than the duty a member of the general public owes to a passenger.

Lawsuits brought against common carriers in the wake of a serious or fatal accident must meet several criteria before the injured party is entitled to compensation. Primarily, the injured party must show that the common carrier was somehow negligent. This most often is proven through evidence showing that the carrier was somehow careless or reckless in the operation or maintenance of the vehicle.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in California issued a written opinion that may be of interest to anyone who has recently been injured in a bus or shuttle accident. In the case, Huang v. The Bicycle Casino, the court held that a free shuttle offered by a casino for the benefit of its guests may mean that the casino is acting as a common carrier, giving rise to a heightened duty to keep passengers safe. While the court reserved judgment on that specific issue, the court did hold that the casino does have a duty to protect the passengers, even from other unruly or unsafe passengers.

Shuttle BusThe Facts of the Case

The defendant casino offered a free shuttle to its patrons. The shuttle held about 40 people, and due to the shuttle’s popularity among patrons, there would often be a line of passengers waiting at various stops. On the day in question, Huang was waiting with between 40 and 70 others, all hoping to get a seat on the shuttle. As the shuttle pulled up, all the patrons ran to board the shuttle and secure a seat. However, as Huang stepped onto the shuttle, the crowd behind her surged, causing her to misstep, fall, and injure her ankle.

Huang filed a negligence lawsuit against the casino, claiming that as a common carrier, the casino had a duty to ensure safe boarding of the shuttle. Common carriers, such as buses, trains, and taxis, are in the business of transporting the public and owe a higher duty to passengers than a regular citizen who may offer a friend a ride as a courtesy. In response to Huang’s claims, the casino argued that it was not acting as a common carrier in operating the shuttle, and any duty it did owe to Huang did not include the duty to prevent negligent or aggressive actions by other passengers on the shuttle. The trial court agreed with the casino and granted its motion for summary judgment. Huang appealed.

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Truck drivers, like all other motorists, have a duty to other motorists on the road to ensure that they operate their vehicles in a safe and responsible manner. This includes only driving when it is safe to do so as well as taking precautions to ensure that their vehicles are safe. A driver’s failure to take the necessary precautions increases the chance that a serious or fatal accident will occur and also exposes that driver to civil liability for any injuries that occur as a result of his negligence.

Truck on HighwayLiability in a trucking accident may also extend to the company that employed the negligent truck driver. In some cases, a trucking company overlooks safety violations, fails to conduct adequate background checks, or otherwise employs unqualified truck drivers or dangerous vehicles. In these situations, the trucking company may be held liable for the accident victim’s injuries in addition to the truck’s driver.

Georgia Trucking Company Ordered to Remove Trucks from Operation Based on an “Imminent Hazard to Public Safety”

Earlier this month, a Georgia-based trucking company was ordered to remove its fleet from the road after a series of serious safety violations. According to an industry news source, the most recent incident involved a truck driver who was speeding around a curve and lost control of his vehicle. The truck then crashed into a woman’s home, causing an explosion and subsequent fire. Sadly, the woman in the home was killed as a result, and four others present were seriously injured. In all, four homes sustained property damage.

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Large trucks are necessary to a city’s economy. They bring goods into the hearts of all of the nation’s largest cities, including Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. However, the small city streets in these cities are not necessarily designed to accommodate large trucks, some of which can be upwards of 70 feet long. This is especially the case in Maryland, where some streets were planned hundreds of years ago. Adding to the danger is that in many urban areas, there are large numbers of bicyclists and pedestrians who share the roadway with these large trucks.

Truck on HighwayNotwithstanding the potential difficulties of operating a large truck in an urban environment, the duty to safely operate the truck always lies with the truck’s operator. It is incumbent upon truck drivers to make sure they follow all posted traffic signs. In some cases involving negligent hiring or the absence of necessary safety equipment, liability may also extend to the trucking company. For example, if a trucking company hires a driver with a checkered driving history, and that driver then goes on to cause a fatal accident, the injured party may be able to argue that the company was negligent in vetting the driver before hiring him.

In Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., people injured in serious truck accidents have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit, seeking compensation for their injuries. In cases in which a truck accident results in a fatality, the victim’s surviving loved ones can bring a wrongful death case against the responsible parties, seeking compensation for the loss of their loved one. In either case, the assistance of a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney is critical to a case’s success.

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Late last month, two republican lawmakers witnessed a major semi-truck accident and acted as first responders, providing assistance to the accident victims until emergency responders arrived. According to one local news source covering the accident, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Representative Joe Heck of Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District were on their way back to their hotel in West Virginia when they witnessed the accident.

Stormy HighwayEvidently, Heck, a board-certified physician, and Rubio witnessed a west-bound semi-truck cross the median after the driver had lost control. After crossing into the median, the truck then struck three cars traveling in the opposite direction. The two lawmakers stopped their vehicle and provided assistance until emergency responders arrived. They pulled one man out of an overturned car. Sadly, a 62-year-old man was pronounced dead by Heck as a result of the collision. The others injured in the semi-truck accident are expected to make a full recovery.

Police do not believe that drugs or alcohol were involved in the fatal accident. However, according to witnesses, it is possible that the semi-truck hydroplaned and lost control as a result, leading to the accident.

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City streets can be difficult to navigate, even for those motorists who are driving small vehicles and who are accustomed to driving on them. However, the difficulties of traveling on city streets increase exponentially when the vehicle being driven is a large truck. For example, the driver of a large truck may have difficulty seeing pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorists in his blind spot. Similarly, some smaller city streets may require a trucker to make a multi-point turn just to safely navigate his route.

Semi-TrucksDespite the difficulties truck drivers have when operating their rigs in the city, it is a critical part of their job, and they should be able to operate their vehicles safely on all roads. When a truck driver fails to take into account the size of his rig or is negligent in the operating of the vehicle, a serious injury or death can result. In these cases, a Maryland personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit may be used by the aggrieved victims to seek compensation for their injuries or losses.

Flat-Bed Truck Strikes and Kills Cyclist on City Street

Earlier this month in Chicago, a bicyclist was killed when she was struck by a flat-bed truck. According to one local news report covering the tragic accident, the young woman was riding her bicycle on the side of the road, between the truck and the curb, when the accident occurred.

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All truck accidents are different. Some are straightforward accidents in which a driver’s fault is apparent. However, other accidents present a more difficult task when it comes to determining who was at fault, or what happened in the moments leading up to the collision. This is especially the case when all of the parties involved are seriously injured or killed as a result of the accident.

Truck TiresHowever, the fact that the police cannot piece together what caused an accident will not prevent any of the accident victims from filing a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for their injuries. In fact, it is quite common for a personal injury case to rely solely on circumstantial evidence. Of course, physical evidence, eyewitness testimony, or a police officer’s account of the accident is preferred, but this is not always available.

Police Unsure of Cause in Truck Accident that Killed Two, Injured Two Others

Earlier this month, two men were killed and another two injured in an accident between a dump truck and a pick-up truck. According to one local news source reporting on the collision, the accident occurred at around 7:15 in the morning when the occupants of the pick-up truck were on their way to work. The accident was so chaotic that it was unclear who was driving the pick-up truck.

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