Articles Posted in Bus Accident

April is distracted driving awareness month—meaning more than ever, drivers should keep their eyes on the road, focus on driving, and put their phones and devices away while on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2019. Unfortunately, no matter how proactive and alert we are on the road, sometimes others aren’t—and when accidents take place as a result of careless distracted driving and cause injuries, those who are responsible must be held accountable.

According to a recent news report, a local bus crash caused by distracted driving left six students and a bus driver injured. There were 24 students on board when the bus stopped at a railroad track, as required by law, and a utility van rear-ended the bus. The students and driver were transferred to a local hospital following the accident, while the remaining passengers were transported by a separate bus back to school. According to the local sheriff’s office, the driver of the van was cited for failure to use care while driving.

As a Maryland driver, the law requires you to exercise reasonable care while driving your vehicle, but also for you to consider every vehicle within a foreseeable “zone of danger” and to other drivers, pedestrians, and passengers. Drivers are expected to drive at a reasonable speed considering how much traffic is on the road and to adjust their driving based on weather conditions. For example, a driver could potentially be liable for an accident for failing to use due care while driving the speed limit during poor weather conditions.

One of the best things about traveling via train or bus is having someone else drive and operate the vehicle while the passengers relax, read, sleep, or even get some work done. For this reason, many Maryland residents may rely on these modes of transportation weekly or even daily, to travel within and outside of the state or to get to work. But while the flexibility and ease of these forms of transportation are nice, passengers should remember that there is still the risk of a Maryland traffic accident. And when a bus or a train hits a truck, the accident can be catastrophic and maybe even fatal.

For example, take a recent truck accident involving an Amtrak train. According to a news report covering the crash, the accident happened around 4:30 PM one afternoon when a truck stopped inexplicably on the train tracks. Amtrak crew members aboard the train told investigators that as the train approached the truck, they blew the horn several times. The train was traveling at high speed, and unable to stop, so it hit the truck, causing a significant crash. The driver of the truck was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation is ongoing, and at this point, it is not clear why the truck driver did not move off of the tracks to avoid getting hit by the train.

It’s not clear from the news report how many others were injured, but in such a serious crash, there is clear potential to cause harm to the train passengers as well as the truck driver. Injured passengers in situations such as this one—in which the train or bus they are riding crashes into a truck—may not think that they have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit and may believe that the train or bus company is the one to handle that. But Maryland state law makes clear that anyone injured in Maryland truck accidents can file a personal injury lawsuit to try and recover for their accidents.

When most people think of filing a lawsuit after a Maryland bus accident, they usually picture that they will just be suing one person—whoever caused the accident. While this is true in some cases, there may be some other cases where it actually makes sense to sue more than just that person. For example, the agency, organization, or company that employed the negligent driver. For instance, negligent bus and truck drivers are often not driving their own vehicle on their own time, but instead are driving an employer’s vehicle as part of their job. In Maryland truck and bus accident cases, it is important to remember this option for suing a negligent party’s employer because often they may be able to pay more in damages than the negligent driver, meaning that Maryland plaintiffs may have more of an opportunity to fully recover for their injuries.

For a recent, high-profile example of when a plaintiff may consider bringing a lawsuit against both an employee and their employer, take a recent crash that made national headlines. According to NBC News, the crash occurred around 12:20 PM one afternoon when a tour bus carrying 48 people was driving to the Grand Canyon rolled and landed on its side. It is not clear what caused the accident, and it remains under investigation. However, what is clear is that one person was tragically killed as a result. Additionally, immediately after the accident, two others were in critical condition, and seven others were injured, such that they had to be taken to the hospital. An additional thirty-three people on the bus had minor injuries not requiring hospitalization.

While it’s not known at this time whether or not there will be litigation resulting from this injury, the accident sheds light onto an important aspect in Maryland truck and bus cases—holding employers liable for their employees’ actions. Maryland state law allows those injured in these circumstances to file a lawsuit against a negligent driver and their employer. So, if the employee was somehow responsible for the crash—if the bus driver was texting while driving, for example—then the driver and their employer may both have to pay the plaintiffs for their injuries. Often, the employer is better able to afford these lawsuits, meaning plaintiffs may have an easier time obtaining full recovery when they include an employer in their suit.

Although public transportation is generally safe, accidents do occur. They can occur on buses, trains, and other forms of transportation. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is the 13th largest public rapid transit system in the country, with buses, trains, and metro service. In the event of a Maryland public transportation accident, there are generally multiple people involved and often multiple responsible parties. In the case of public transportation, such as a city bus or train, injured victims may also run into the issue of immunity. Cities often have immunity from lawsuits unless the legal claim meets an exception. In addition, in cases involving cities, parties may have to act fast and file a notice of the claim to the appropriate authority within a certain period of time. Needless to say, Maryland public transit accident cases can be exceedingly complex.

If you have been injured in a Maryland public transportation accident, the first thing is to seek medical attention if you are injured. Injuries may also manifest after some time so it is good to get evaluated by a doctor after an accident even if you feel fine. Once you are safe and able to do so, if possible, it is important to document the scene, as well as your injuries and property damages. It is also important to get the names and contact information of involved parties as well as witnesses at the scene who may be able to testify in support of your case. Getting insurance and policy information from involved parties is also a good idea. You may need to file a claim with the insurance company before you can file in court.

Public Bus Accident Leaves Many Injured

Public transportation is becoming more and more popular for Maryland residents. Buses and trains offer many benefits—they are cost-efficient, environmentally friendly, and lessen the stress some may feel navigating Maryland highways. These forms of transportation are typically safe for passengers, but like any means of transportation, there are risks involved, and these vehicles do occasionally get involved in Maryland traffic accidents. Some passengers may find themselves injured after riding on a bus or train and may be wondering if there is any path to recovery.

For instance, take a recent accident from mid-August. According to a local news report covering the incident, a man in his early 60s was exiting the back of the bus when the door closed on his arm. As a result of his arm being stuck in the door, he fell to the ground, suffering a hip injury. Fortunately, the injury was not life-threatening, but hip injuries can be quite costly, painful, and inconvenient at that stage of life.

Following incidents such as this one, it is important for Maryland residents to know that they may have a path to recovery. Maryland state law was developed to provide those injured by someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or mistakes the option to file a personal injury lawsuit. Typically, these lawsuits must prove four things: 1.) the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, 2.) the defendant breached that duty of care through a specific act or an omission, 3.) the defendant’s breach caused the injury or incident, and 4.) the plaintiff suffered real harm as a result.

Summer is a popular time for people to get out of the state and take a vacation, either on their own or with their families. While vacations are meant to be relaxing and idyllic, it is important to remember that they, unfortunately, are not immune from the hazards of everyday life, including Maryland bus and truck accidents. Many vacationers will find themselves on a bus to get to their final destination, or as part of a tourist activity. However, a recent bus accident is a sobering reminder that accidents can happen, even during vacations.

The New York Times reported on the recent tragic accident, which took place in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada, just last month. A tour bus in Jasper National Park was specifically designed to carry visitors onto one of the continent’s largest glaciers. The bus was equipped with oversized tires for driving on ice and was climbing a rocky, steep road up to the Columbia Icefields when it rolled and plunged down an embankment. Emergency workers responded quickly, using helicopters and air and road ambulances to transfer the injured. In all, 27 people were on board, and 3 were tragically killed. In addition, 14 people were taken to nearby hospitals in critical, life-threatening condition, meaning there may, unfortunately, be more deaths resulting from this tragedy.

Those injured, and the family members of those who were tragically killed, may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the tour bus driver, or the vehicle manufacturer, or even the state park. Personal injury lawsuits can be incredibly complicated to pursue, even in the most straightforward of circumstances, and they become even more complicated in situations such as this one. For example, it is not clear what caused the accident, or whose fault it was. Additionally, it is common for agencies and organizations serving tourists to ask them to sign liability waivers. It could very well be that every visitor to the park, or at least those who get on the glacier tour bus, signed a waiver agreeing to waive all liability for any incidents that occurred. Sometimes these waivers are not enforceable, but it is difficult to know that ahead of time. Additionally, even if an individual does have the ability to file a suit, questions can arise about where to file suit—the plaintiff’s home state or where the accident took place? Because there are so many factors that go into these personal injury lawsuits, and because they can be incredibly confusing, Maryland plaintiffs who are injured whilst on vacation should contact a dedicated personal injury lawyer right away who can help them through the process.

Public transit is becoming increasingly popular in Maryland and across the United States. Public transportation options such as buses, trains, and subways allow people to travel relatively quickly and inexpensively, and is better for the environment than driving an individual car. However, just like any form of transportation, accidents can occur on public transit, and can lead to severe injuries or even death. In some cases, Maryland public transit accidents may be even more dangerous, because of the number of people in a vehicle.

For example, recently a bus crash made headlines when multiple people were injured. According to a local news report covering the collision, a bus was driving along its normal route when a tow truck driver allegedly lost control of the vehicle. The bus driver swerved out of the way to avoid an accident with the tow truck, but in doing so caused the bus to crash into a building. Fortunately, no one was killed, but six individuals were injured and had to be hospitalized after the crash.

The crash illustrates that no vehicle is immune from getting into a Maryland traffic accident. In the aftermath of an accident such as the one above, it can be difficult for injury victims to understand how the accident occurred, who is at fault, and whether or not they have a path to recovery.

Criminal charges are not filed after many Maryland truck accidents. Yet, in cases where criminal charges are filed after an accident, that evidence may be admissible in a civil proceeding. Generally, in the event that a driver pleads guilty in court to a criminal offense or a traffic citation, evidence of the guilty plea may be admitted in a subsequent civil proceeding in Maryland. In contrast, if a driver pays a fine for a traffic citation without going to court, generally evidence of the payment of the fine cannot be admitted in a subsequent civil proceeding in Maryland. Courts in Maryland have held that the payment of a fine is less significant than a guilty plea in court and is not an express acknowledgment of guilt. If evidence of a guilty plea is admitted in a personal injury case, that evidence may still be rebutted or explained.

In a criminal case, the culpability of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In contrast, in a civil case, the liability of the defendant must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a less demanding burden of proof. This means that even if no criminal charges were filed, a civil lawsuit may still be viable because the burden of proof is easier to meet and evidence that was inadmissible in a criminal trial may be admissible in a civil case.

Notably, however, under Rule 5-403 of the Maryland Rules of Evidence, even if certain evidence would otherwise be admissible, it can be excluded from the trial if the probative value of the evidence is substantially outweighed by the danger of prejudice it poses. Evidence may also be excluded for other reasons. Whatever the circumstances, a plaintiff may have to fight to get the evidence admitted and to combat the defendant’s narrative of lack of culpability despite the offense.

To hold another person accountable in a Maryland truck accident claim, a plaintiff must prove that the other person caused the plaintiff’s injuries, at least in part. Proving these facts is part of establishing the essential elements of a negligence claim.

In Maryland, a negligence claim requires proving that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the defendant failed to meet the relevant standard of care, the plaintiff was injured because of that failure, and the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff damages. Proving causation requires proving both legal cause, and cause-in-fact. Cause-in-fact means proving that the defendant’s conduct actually caused the injury, whereas legal cause means showing that the defendant should be held liable for the plaintiff’s damages. A court may decline to hold a defendant responsible even where a plaintiff proves that the defendant’s conduct was the cause-in-fact of the plaintiff’s injuries, based on policy considerations and fairness. Such a decision usually involves considering whether the injuries were a foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions.

A plaintiff generally has the burden to prove all elements of a negligence claim, including causation. The standard for establishing causation, like all elements of a negligence claim, is whether it is more probable than not that the defendant’s acts caused the plaintiff’s injuries. A mere possibility that the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries is insufficient to prove causation. This means that in a Maryland truck accident claim, a plaintiff cannot simply declare that there was a crash and that the plaintiff was injured in the crash—a plaintiff has to point to the defendant’s specific acts that were negligent, that those acts resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries, and that those injuries were a foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions. If a plaintiff fails to prove causation, the claim will be dismissed.

While many Maryland truck accident cases do not require testimony from an expert witness, some do. Typically, these are the cases that present complex issues regarding causation. When a plaintiff intends on calling an expert, it is reasonable to assume that the defense will also present their own expert. It is important that Maryland personal injury plaintiffs anticipate testimony from a defense expert.

In a recent state appellate opinion, the court discussed the permissible scope of expert witness testimony that was designated as impeachment evidence. Impeachment is a term used to describe a party’s attempt to discredit an opposing witness by showing the jury that their testimony is biased or flawed.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was arrested and placed in a county bus for transport. During the transport, the van struck a concrete barrier and the plaintiff was injured as a result. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the county. The plaintiff had been in one prior accident, and was involved in another accident after the bus accident, but before this case went to trial. The plaintiff provided notice that he was calling a medical expert.

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