Articles Posted in City Bus Accidents

Many Maryland truck accidents involve multiple vehicles, and determining which parties to name in a Maryland truck accident lawsuit is a critical decision that must be made early in the process. While courts will allow for plaintiffs to amend their complaint to add additional parties for a short period of time after the complaint is filed, plaintiffs have a limited amount of time to join parties. Additionally, plaintiffs normally must obtain the court’s permission to add additional defendants once the complaint has been filed.

Of course, plaintiffs should only name defendants if there is a good-faith basis for believing that they may be liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. However, it is important to conduct a thorough investigation to make sure that all potentially liable parties are included in the lawsuit. A plaintiff’s failure to include all necessary parties may result in decreased compensation in the event of a favorable verdict.

It is important that Maryland truck accident victims keep in mind that plaintiffs get one chance to file a lawsuit after an accident, and they will not generally be permitted to file a subsequent lawsuit based on the same underlying accident. Additionally, if a potentially liable party is not named in the plaintiff’s complaint, the plaintiff risks the chance that the named defendants will successfully shift the blame for the accident onto a non-present party. If this occurs, the jury may be persuaded that the named defendant is not at all liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, completely precluding a plaintiff’s chance of recovering damages for their injuries.

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Mass transit companies transport millions and millions of people each day on buses, trains, and trolleys. Most of the time, these companies hire dedicated operators who are experienced and knowledgeable. However, mass transit systems can be extremely large and complex, and sometimes mistakes are made.

Mass transit companies are often either owned and operated by the local government or operated through a contract with the government. When an accident occurs, there may be several liable parties, depending on the circumstances of the accident. In some cases, responsible parties may attempt to convince the court that they are immune from liability. In other cases, unfair settlement offers are made early in the process to try to make the case “go away” as cheaply as possible for the city or its insurance company. Anyone injured in a Maryland or Washington, D.C mass transit accident should consult with a dedicated personal injury attorney to discuss their case.

Trolley Accident in Philadelphia Injures 50

Earlier this month, an accident involving two trolleys in Philadelphia injured roughly 50 people. According to an industry news source, the National Transportation Safety Board – the government entity charged with the investigation of certain highway accidents – initiated a probe into the accident, looking at collision avoidance technology and the level of oversight of individual operators. The trolleys were operated by the local mass transit carrier, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). SEPTA is also responsible for the network of local above- and below-ground trains.

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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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Earlier this month in Laurel, one man was killed and another seven people injured after a tour bus and a pick-up truck were involved in an accident. According to one local news report, the accident took place on Md. Route 198, near the Amish market on Md. Route 197.

Evidently, the tour bus was carrying 58 people and was heading eastbound when it began to make a left-hand turn into a shopping center. As the bus began its turn, another driver approached the bus from the opposite direction, eventually crashing into the bus and injuring seven people aboard.

The driver of the other vehicle was killed as a result of the collision. The Mayor of Laurel told reporters and investigators that he wants an investigation conducted to see if there is anything that can be done about the dangerous intersection. According to reports, the intersection is a lethal one, and several serious and fatal accidents occur there each year.

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Earlier this month in Nottoway County, Virginia, a school bus driver was charged with reckless driving after he was involved in a serious collision with an oncoming dump truck. According to one local news report, the accident occurred at around 3:50 in the afternoon while the bus was taking students home. Twelve students were onboard the bus at the time of the accident.

Evidently, the school bus was heading north on Route 614 when it unexpectedly drifted out of its lane and into the eastbound lanes of Route 460, directly into the path of a Peterbilt dump truck. All 12 students, the driver, and one aide aboard the school bus were fine, suffering only minor injuries. However, the driver of the dump truck was taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, as was his 12-year-old passenger.

“Professional” Drivers and Accident Liability in Maryland

School bus drivers, like truck drivers, taxi drivers, and any other motorist who is paid to operate a motor vehicle, have a duty to their passengers as well as others on the road. While the specifics of this accident are not known, it seems reasonable to think that the driver of the bus was somehow distracted in the moments immediately preceding the accident.

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While it may be unreasonable to assume we, as pedestrians, are always safe so long as we do not walk blithely into an intersection or across a busy highway without looking, is it beyond reason that we should at least feel moderately safe from being hit by a car or commercial delivery truck when strolling along a public sidewalk or sitting inside a restaurant or other establishment? Our expectations of safety and security undoubtedly must be tempered by the knowledge that accidents do happen in places one would not necessarily expect.

To take it one step further, it is reasonable to assume that a slip-and-fall accident or other personal injury incident might happen in the absence of motor vehicle traffic. But people have been hurt, and some even killed, while minding their own business in a fast-food restaurant, at home or while standing and waiting at a street corner. Obviously, the closer one is to a public or even private roadway, the greater one’s chances of being involved in a car- or truck-pedestrian collision. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, we know these kinds of event can and do happen; the question is many times, when will they occur?

As pedestrians, we are all somewhat at the mercy of fate, unless of course one sequesters oneself at home, far from automobiles and other vehicles. And just as a bicyclist can be killed in a car accident or a motorcycle rider can be injured in traffic wreck, people on-foot should be aware of the ever-present dangers that a modern and mobile society present to those less protected against serious injury.

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As a personal injury attorney here in Maryland, I know how much the odds are stacked against pedestrians and bicyclists in cases of traffic-related accidents. Pitting oneself, as a virtually unprotected human being, against a two ton passenger car — not to mention being hit by a large commercial vehicle, such as a large box truck, semi tractor-trailer or even a metropolitan transit bus — is a situation few would want to experience.

Pedestrian roadway accidents involving cars and trucks can result in some pretty serious bodily injuries on the part of the hapless person on foot or riding a bike. Simply being knocked over by a motor vehicle that passes too close can cause an individual to fall to the tarmac, potentially causing broken bones or even a concussion; closed-head injuries are not uncommon in such collisions between people and vehicular traffic.

As Baltimore car, truck and motorcycle accident lawyers, I and my legal staff have met numerous individuals hurt or severely injure in a random car or trucking-related wreck. In pedestrian-related collisions, the people traveling on foot are rarely the winners; many people do, in fact, suffer extensive injuries that may require days or weeks in a hospital bed. Expensive medical treatment is sometimes followed by a fair amount of physical therapy in order to get the victim back to some semblance of normalcy once back at home.

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For most of the drivers here in Maryland and Washington, D.C., maintaining the safety of oneself and one’s vehicle occupants involves more than a modicum of active participation. In short, to survive in this part of the country a drive must, out of necessity, watch out for the other guy.

What this means for the average passenger car, light truck and motorcycle rider is to be certain that your vehicle is well-maintained, tuned up and mechanically safe and sound. We won’t go into a discussion on the dangers of defective vehicle equipment here, but suffice it to say that a percentage of roadway wrecks are sometimes found to be a result of poorly designed safety components and other critical systems, such as steering and braking systems (an area of law known as Products Liability).

As Maryland personal injury lawyers, I and my legal staff understand the causes of many traffic accidents and how easily a quiet Sunday drive can turn into a serious and sometimes life-threatening event. Keeping a vehicle in good running condition is a basic requirement for safe driving. This goes as much for automobiles as it does for commercial trucks, usually more so.

Speaking of trucking-related accidents, one cannot argue with the laws of physics when it comes to serious traffic accidents involving semi tractor-trailers, such as Kenworths, Peterbilts, and Mack Trucks; not to mention large box trucks and rather heavy and extremely dangerous tanker trucks.

Many passenger car occupants, not to mention motorcyclists, are killed on a tragically frequent basis when they become caught involved in a crash with a commercial delivery vehicle or 18-wheeler. Those smaller, lighter and less substantial motor vehicles are hardly a match for a fully loaded semi, commuter bus or dump truck. Injuries from car-truck collision can take months or years to recover from, both physically and financially, which makes prevention a no-brainer.

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Never for a moment assume that you are safe riding public transportation. This is a statement that is fast becoming gospel to many people who read the paper, scan the web or watch the evening news. Trains, planes and city buses carry large numbers of passengers daily without incident, but when something does go wrong there can be multiple victims with injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening.

It doesn’t take much to critically injure a person. Consider that most parents these days won’t let their child ride a bicycle without a helmet for fear that their son or daughter may be hit by a car or simply fall off their bike and hit their head. What is the difference between a child falling several feet to the ground and a bus passenger being thrown into a seat back or other hard object in the event of a traffic accident? Actually, very little.

Especially when it comes to bus riders, with no seatbelts and little warning that a crash is imminent injuries such as cuts and bruises are commonplace, with broken bones, internal injuries and head or neck trauma always a possibility.

In fact, being injured as a passenger on a city or charter bus as a result of a traffic collision or other motor vehicle collision is more common than some people would imagine. As Maryland automobile accident attorneys, we know that it’s very easy for the average person to assume public transportation is safe and worry free. Even as personal injury lawyers, we see that most commuters take for granted that bus drivers and train operators are trained professionals who pride themselves on doing their jobs with a high degree of safety, not to mention the wellbeing of passengers as a primary thought.

Although most drivers of public conveyances are thoughtful and dedicated professionals, even the best cannot predict when and where an accident will occur. This is why, as difficult as it may be sometimes, we as passengers must ultimately put our faith in bus and train operators or not travel on public transportation at all.

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As reported not long ago, pedestrians in Maryland’s urban areas are apparently some of the most at-risk groups in the nation. This is not a distinction that many would be proud of, but it is a fact that persons on foot and riding bicycles here in Baltimore, or over in Annapolis, Rockville or Washington, D.C., have a high likelihood of being struck by a car, SUV, pickup or commercial deliver truck than pedestrians in other states.

As Maryland personal injury lawyers, we can understand the pain and suffering that can occur following an pedestrian-automobile collision, much less a crash involving a bicycle and commercial truck, or city bus. And apparently the MTA (Maryland Transit Authority) also understands the risks.

No long ago, news articles reported that 10 so-called talking buses were being put into service here in Baltimore with the intent to reduce the chances of tragic pedestrian accidents. According to reports, the MTA is running tests of this talking bus technology, which is designed to warn people that one of these large vehicles is bearing down on them.

The idea is to alert individuals who might otherwise be distracted and not aware of the presence of a city bus amidst all the noise and activity in a metropolitan area. While the concept may seem a little silly to some, it’s no joke that many people have been seriously injured or even killed by commuter buses in the past.

According to the news reports, the “voice” of these buses is female and announces to everyone within earshot a repeating message of, “Pedestrians, bus is turning.” Bus drivers have apparently noticed a distinct difference in that way that people on foot react to the rather authoritative warning. The test buses are equipped with one of two different systems during the trial period.

Out of the 100-plus fatal pedestrian accidents in Maryland, the percentage of city bus-related pedestrian deaths in Maryland are rather small, however the MTA’s actions speak volumes. Back in February, publicity from the death of a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner’s office shined the spotlight again on the MTA.

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