Articles Posted in Bus Accident

The truth is that most drivers roll through the occasional stop sign. However, the fact that running a stop sign is a common occurrence among motorists does not make it acceptable. Running a stop sign is a very dangerous driving behavior. In fact, drivers who run stop signs cause approximately 700,000 accidents each year. In roughly one-third of these accidents, someone is seriously injured.

When a driver runs a stop sign and causes an accident, that driver may be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result. However, several issues can arise in a personal injury case alleging that a driver ran a stop sign. Initially, the issue of credibility may come up, meaning that unless there are independent witnesses who can testify to what happened, a driver may offer up a self-serving version of what happened in the moments leading up to the accident. With the increase in popularity of private surveillance video, there is a chance that an accident is caught on camera, but that may only be revealed through an in-depth investigation.

Another issue that may arise is the injured motorist’s own role in the accident. In Maryland, any motorist who is even the slightest bit at fault for causing an accident is not permitted to recover compensation for their injuries. This means that a defendant may be able to avoid liability completely by shifting just a small portion of the blame onto an accident victim.

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Over the past several years, technology has advanced to the point at which almost every motorist has at least one electronic gadget with them at all times. Whether it be a cell phone or a GPS system, drivers have begun to rely heavily on these external gadgets to assist them in reaching their destination. While responsible use of a GPS system or a cell-phone navigation app does not necessarily present a safety issue, the reality is that drivers are not always responsible when it comes to using these items.

When a driver’s attention is removed from the road – even for a split second – the chance of causing an accident greatly increases. Indeed, it is estimated that one in four traffic accidents are caused by texting and driving. Some studies suggest that distracted driving is even more dangerous than drunk driving.

Despite the known dangers of distracted driving, motorists continue to use their phones when behind the wheel. In Maryland, it is illegal to talk or text on the phone while driving. Motorists can only use their cell phones with approved hands-free devices. While a violation of Maryland’s texting-while-driving ban will only result in a $40 fine for a first-time offender, there may be more significant penalties if an accident is caused as a result.

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Late last month, an accident between a pick-up truck and a bus resulted in 13 fatalities. According to a news report covering the tragic accident, the driver of the pick-up truck may have been texting in the moments leading up to the fatal accident.

Evidently, about 15 minutes prior to the accident, another motorist who was driving behind the pick-up truck noticed that the truck was swerving, crossing in and out of the oncoming lane of traffic. The motorist called the sheriff’s department in two neighboring counties, telling authorities that the driver should be stopped due to his dangerous driving. However, authorities did not respond in time.

The pick-up truck eventually veered into oncoming traffic, directly into the path of a church bus with 14 occupants inside. The driver of the bus was unable to avoid the truck, and the two vehicles collided head-on. Twelve of the passengers aboard the bus were pronounced dead at the scene, and another was pronounced dead a short time later at the hospital.

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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.

Drivers 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.

The 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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A deadly accident involving two commuter buses in New Jersey earlier this month left at least two people dead and 17 injured, with seven in critical condition. According to a national news report, the accident occurred on the streets of Newark, New Jersey when one bus failed to yield to another at a busy intersection, causing the crash. The crash occurred during the morning commute, and both buses were carrying passengers at the time of the tragic collision. The driver of one bus and a passenger on the other were killed, and several passengers from both buses were injured. According to the article, no charges have been filed, and the cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Financial Compensation for Victims of Accidents Involving Public Transit

Although the cause of the bus accident remains under investigation, it appears that one of the bus operators caused the collision. Since most public transit vehicles are owned and operated by a state or municipal organization, those injured or killed in an accident are required to follow distinctive procedures to seek compensation for injuries that resulted from the negligence of the at-fault driver. Many states have passed laws that restrict victims’ ability to collect full compensation in claims against government employees or agencies, and specific procedures must be followed closely for victims to obtain the compensation that they deserve.

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Bus drivers, like taxi drivers, Uber drivers, and truck drivers, have a duty to their passengers as well as to others on the road to ensure that they are safely operating the vehicle at all times. This duty requires that drivers obey all the rules of the road and posted traffic signs, as well as using common sense when operating their vehicles. When a driver of a commercial vehicle fails to exercise the necessary level of care, and an accident results, that driver may be held liable for his negligence through a personal injury lawsuit.

In addition to the driver of the bus, truck, or taxi, the company that employs the driver may also be liable in some situations. When an employee causes an accident while working within the scope of his or her employment, courts may consider a claim against the employer as well as the employee. The legal doctrine that allows these claims is called respondeat superior. A court may also consider a claim for negligent hiring if the accident victim can show that there was evidence the company should have taken into account when making the hiring decision, such as past citations or suspensions.

Fatal Bus Accident Caused by Driver’s Aggressive Passing Results in Four Deaths

Earlier this month in California, a bus accident claimed the lives of four people inside. According to one local news report covering the tragedy, the accident injured a total of 18 people. Evidently, the driver of the bus was attempting to pass another vehicle before the lane the bus was in ended. The bus driver thought that the other driver was going to slow down and allow the bus to pass him before the lane ended. However, the other driver did not slow down and continued at the pace he was traveling. The bus was run off the road and collided with a support beam for an overhead sign, resulting in the accident that claimed four lives.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Delaware issued an opinion in favor of a young plaintiff who was injured when she was struck by a car as she was about to board a school bus. In the case, State Farm Mutual Insurance Company v. Buckley, the girl’s family sought recovery from the insurance company that insured the school bus. The court allowed the girl’s recovery because, although the physical collision did not involve the bus, the court determined the school bus was “involved” in the accident because the bus driver signaled for the student to board the bus.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was waiting for the school bus to take her to school. When the bus showed up, the driver stopped the bus and signaled for the girl to board the bus. As she began to cross the street to board the bus, however, a car struck the girl. It was determined that the driver of the car was at least partially at fault for the accident.

The girl’s family sought financial recovery through the insurance company that had insured the school bus. The insurance company contested the claim because the school bus was not involved in the physical collision, and the girl was not aboard the bus when she was struck. The girl’s family claimed that the girl was relying solely on the bus driver’s cue to board the bus, which involved the bus in the accident.

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Commercial carriers, such as buses, trucks, trains, and taxi-cabs, all have a duty to their passengers to operate their vehicles in a safe manner and do everything reasonable to ensure a safe trip. This duty extends to others sharing the road with the common carrier as well. On occasion, however, a bus driver’s attention drifts away from the road, or a truck driver dozes off in the middle of a long journey, putting his passengers and others on the road at an increased risk. When this type of conduct results in an accident, that driver can be held legally responsible for his actions in violating the duty he owed to his passengers and others.

This type of case, generally brought under the legal concept of negligence, relies on an accident victim showing that the common carrier was negligent in attending to the duty he owes his passengers or others on the road, and that the breach of that duty resulted in the passenger’s injuries and damages. If this can be established, the injured party may be entitled to receive monetary compensation for the injuries they sustained in the accident. Such compensation is not normally limited to out-of-pocket expenses and may include additional amounts for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

Minibus Accident in France Claims 12 Lives

Earlier last month, a devastating accident in France involving a minibus and a truck resulted in 12 Portuguese tourists losing their lives. According to one local news source covering the tragic event, the accident occurred while the minibus was taking the passengers from Switzerland back to Portugal.

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Unlike most other vehicles, most busses do not have safety belts. In addition, they are large, slow to come to a stop, and can be very difficult to control. It is for these reasons that bus drivers are required to obtain special licenses that permit them to operate these potentially dangerous vehicles, called commercial drivers licenses. In addition to extra licensure requirements, bus drivers are held to a high standard of care when operating their vehicles. This stands true for other commercial vehicle operators as well, such as taxis and large trucks.

Bus drivers have a duty to each of their passengers to take reasonable precautions to ensure a safe trip. Of course, this includes remaining free from the intoxicating effects of alcohol or drugs, even prescription medications. Additionally, in Maryland and Washington D.C., there is a hand-held device ban in place, prohibiting all drivers from using cellphones for texting or talking while behind the wheel. Bus drivers should constantly keep their full attention on the road, and should refrain from talking to passengers, or talking to other drivers over the radio.

When a bus driver causes an accident that results in injury to his or her passengers, that driver may be held liable for any injuries caused through a Maryland or Washington D.C. negligence lawsuit. In addition, it is also possible that the driver’s employer may also be held liable, depending on the circumstances of the accident and the employer’s involvement, if any. Typically, employer liability may arise when a bus driver is negligent in carrying out his or her assigned duties.

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