Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

More than a dozen victims and/ or their families have filed public notices against the state transit authority in New Jersey following a horrific bus accident in August that killed two and injured 12 others. The riders are seeking $115 million in damages, either for wrongful death or catastrophic injuries they alleged left them permanently disabled. bus

As one injury lawyer noted on behalf of one client, “every single aspect of her life” has been adversely impacted. That particular attorney, who has not yet detailed the full extent of his client’s personal injuries, has filed a claim for $35 million in damages. So far, that’s the largest potential lawsuit the authority faces following the crash. No lawsuits have actually been filed as of yet. With the notice of intent to file, the state and other defendants will have the opportunity to respond and, if they choose, to issue a settlement offer. Plaintiffs have to wait six months after filing the notices before they can file a lawsuit, though they do, under New Jersey law, have at least two years to file a lawsuit.

Plaintiff attorneys say they simply want to help their clients regain some semblance of a normal life after the transit bus they were on was broadsided by another bus whose driver allegedly ran a red light around 6 a.m. The 70-year-old driver of the commuter bus was pronounced dead at the scene. One of his passengers, a 49-year-old woman who was on her way to work, died later that day.  Continue reading

School districts across Florida – and the country – are responsible for ensuring the safe transportation of millions of students to and from class each day. In so doing, these districts, contractors and employers assume a duty of care to students to take reasonable measures to protect the safety and well-being of these minors. In some cases, that involves not just the transportation that occurs to and from school, but also for the planning and protections in place at designated bus stops and while children board or disembark from buses.schoolrules

Recently, an appellate court in Florida decided in Davis v. Baez that an injured student may proceed with her lawsuit against a school bus driver. The driver reportedly insisted student and her brother cross a busy, dark road before school to be waiting on the opposite side of the street – where the bus stop was located – when he arrived. He informed the students if they weren’t waiting at the stop on the east side of the street when he got there, he would leave without them. There were several problems with this, the first being that such protocol was against school policy, which dictated that students who needed to cross a busy street to get to their stop should wait for the bus, so the driver could activate the flashing lights and “STOP” arm and allow children to more safely cross. The driver, who worked for a transportation company contracted by the school district, conceded he had given the children this instruction, despite knowing it was against district policy.

As it turned out, this was district policy for good reason. One morning as the 18-year-old high school senior crossed the dark street from the west side to the east side with her younger brother, a car can speeding past and struck her. The incident occurred around 5:50 a.m. The bus had not yet arrived at the time of the incident. Plaintiff suffered severe injuries.  Continue reading

Tragedy struck recently on a highway in South Georgia when a tractor-trailer struck a school bus carrying 30 students, killing one and injuring 13 others.

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Authorities reported a 15-year-old girl was killed in the collision, which occurred in the southbound lanes of I-75. The crash occurred on a Monday afternoon. Investigators with the state highway patrol were still trying to ascertain the cause, though they did say charges are pending.

What they have been able to piece together thus far is that the tractor-trailer struck the rear of the school bus, which had just picked up students from a local high school and was transporting them to their homes. The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 58-year-old man from Illinois, was not injured. The driver of the bus, a 62-year-old local woman, suffered a leg injury and was taken to a local hospital in a private vehicle.  Continue reading

A serious bus accident in 2011 caused by a driver falling asleep at the wheel occurred during a brief grace period extended by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) after the bus carrier flunked its safety rating. bus4

Two of those who survived the bus accident were plaintiffs in Chhetri v. U.S., who alleged the government acted with gross negligence in allowing this derelict carrier to operate, despite its failure to fix serious safety problems.

In a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, it was held that the federal government could not be liable for this decision because it was discretionary, rather than ministerial. That means that rather than simply carrying out a certain duty according to statute, those involved had discretion in their actions. In those cases, the federal government (and most state and local governments) have not waived their sovereign immunity protections.  Continue reading