Articles Posted in Bus Accident

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.

Intoxicated driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents. Of course, many Maryland DUI accidents are the result of drivers drinking too much alcohol or taking illegal or recreational drugs before getting behind the wheel. However, many prescription drugs impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle as much as alcohol or street drugs.

Under the law, a driver who is intoxicated by prescription drugs can still be negligent and held responsible for an accident victim’s injuries. A recent case discusses a tragic bus accident in which an intoxicated driver killed a young boy.

According to the court’s opinion, a young boy rode his bike into the street without stopping, right into the path of a school bus. The school bus had just stopped, and was proceeding to go through the intersection when the driver heard and felt the bus hit something. The driver slammed on the brakes, exited the vehicle, and learned that she struck the young boy. The boy later died from his injuries,

Bus drivers carry enormous responsibility in that they are trusted to safely transport dozens of people each time they get behind the wheel. Because of this weighty responsibility, bus drivers are classified as “commercial drivers” and must obtain a commercial driving license. And while the vast majority of bus drivers are well qualified and buses are usually relatively safe for passengers, Maryland bus accidents are not uncommon.

When it comes to determining potentially liable parties in a Maryland bus accident, the obvious place to start is with the driver. Bus drivers have a legal duty to safely operate the vehicle at all times. This duty extends not just to bus passengers, but also to other motorists on the road.

Most bus drivers work for a company, whether it be a coach business, tour company, or a government agency. In many cases, these organizations can also be liable for injuries caused by their bus drivers. Under a legal theory named vicarious liability, an injured motorist can seek to hold the employer of a negligent bus driver responsible for their injuries. The theory is premised on the idea that the employer should not be able to avoid liability when a negligent employee causes an accident while acting on behalf of his employer.

The Nation’s Capital draws millions of tourists each year. While the area benefits from the tourism revenue, tourists can also make the city, as well as the surrounding areas, feel overly crowded, especially in the summer months. In addition, the influx of tour buses creates a serious hazard for Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. pedestrians, motorists, and bicyclists.

While tour buses are probably best known for causing minor annoyances, such as taking up several parking spots on already crowded streets or stopping at inconvenient locations to pick up and drop off passengers, the reality is that tour buses have the potential to cause major catastrophes. Of course, Maryland bus accidents can affect the passengers on the bus, but inattentive bus drivers also put pedestrians and other motorists at risk.

When a tour bus is involved in a serious or fatal Maryland traffic accident, those who were injured in the accident can pursue a Maryland personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties. If the accident resulted in the death, the accident victim’s family members may be entitled to compensation through a Maryland wrongful death lawsuit. Determining which parties are responsible can be tricky; however, this determination is also imperative because serious Maryland bus accidents may result in significant liability that may exceed the insurance limits of just one party. Commonly named parties include:

  • the bus driver,
  • the company that owns the bus, and
  • other motorists who may have contributed to the accident.

Of course, depending on the facts surrounding the accident, there may be additional liable parties.
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Each day, thousands of students ride Maryland school buses to and from school. For the most part, these trips are short and uneventful. However, each year there are a significant number of Maryland school bus accidents. While most of these accidents involve low speeds and do not result in serious injury to the students, that is not always the case.

Student Killed in Bus Accident on the Way Home from Championship Football Game

Earlier this month, a fatal bus accident in Arkansas claimed the life of one student and injured 45 others. According to a local news report, the accident occurred on an empty highway at around 2:40 in the morning.

Evidently, the bus was carrying a youth-football team that had played a championship game earlier that weekend. The bus departed from Dallas, Texas and was traveling back to Memphis Tennessee. After the accident, the driver of the bus told police that she lost control of the vehicle as it drifted off the side of the road. Once off the roadway, the bus rolled over onto its side. One nine-year-old boy died from the injuries he sustained in the accident, and 45 others were injured. Most of those on board the bus were children; however, there were a few adult chaperones.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that presents an interesting issue that commonly arises in Maryland bus accident lawsuits. The case presented the court with the task of determining if the instructions given to the jury regarding the aggravation of the plaintiff’s pre-existing injuries were supported by the evidence presented at trial. Ultimately, the court concluded that there was no evidence suggesting that the defendant’s actions aggravated the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition, and thus it reversed the jury’s verdict.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a passenger on a bus when a motorist pulled out in front of the bus, leaving the bus driver with an inadequate distance to stop. The bus collided with the vehicle, and the plaintiff was injured as a result.

The plaintiff complained of lower back pain and stiffness, which he claimed was a result of the accident. Ultimately, the plaintiff was diagnosed with disc degeneration. The plaintiff later filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle that pulled out in front of the bus.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a car accident case discussing the admissibility of certain evidence presented by the defense. Ultimately, the court concluded that the evidence was properly excluded and affirmed the $1.2 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The case is important for Maryland public transit accident victims because it illustrates the importance of expert testimony, as well as the importance of keeping potentially harmful evidence out of the jury’s consideration.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a car accident with a public transportation vehicle. Although the damage to each vehicle was minor, the plaintiff suffered lingering injuries as a result, including bulging discs.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the transportation authority, arguing that the negligence of the driver caused his injuries. In its defense, the transportation authority presented the testimony of an expert witness who planned on testifying regarding the “severity of the impact.” Evidently, the expert’s area of study involved the forces that are present in car accidents and how those forces relate to commonly experienced forces someone may experience in everyday life. The expert was not to present any medical evidence or opinion.

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