Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

A few weeks ago, a New Mexico truck accident resulted in three fatalities and over 20 injuries. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the multi-vehicle collision occurred in the early morning hours on Interstate 25, near Bernalillo.truck

Evidently, a car ran into the back of a pick-up truck, starting a chaotic chain of accidents. After the initial collision, the disabled car remained on the highway, blocking several lanes. The driver of that car was ejected. As a result of the damage sustained in the collision, the car’s lights were no longer illuminated. The driver of the truck was able to pull off onto the median, out of the way of traffic.

As the damaged car and injured driver lay stationary on the highway, a passenger bus approached. The bus driver was apparently unable to see the ejected driver or unlit car until a moment before the two vehicles collided. The bus driver swerved in a last-minute attempt to avoid a collision, losing control of the bus and causing it to roll over onto its side. The bus slid across the highway and up against a roadside barrier cable. Moments later, a semi-truck approached the accident scene and was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision with the toppled bus.

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Although school busses are known as a relatively safe means of transportation, New Mexico school bus accidents are still a major concern for parents. And despite the clear research that seat belts help save lives in the event of a serious accident, only six states in the country require school busses be equipped with seatbelts. New Mexico is not among those states.

School Bus SafetyIn New Mexico, school busses are not required to have seatbelts. The state’s rationale is based on a 1987 study from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) claiming that most fatalities in school bus accidents would not have been prevented had the bus been equipped with seat belts. However, after a fatal school bus accident earlier this year, the NTSB seems to be reversing its previous position.

In May of this year, a New Jersey school bus was struck by a dump truck as the driver of the bus attempted to make a U-turn on the highway across three lanes of traffic. According to a local news report, when the truck collided with the bus, it ripped the bus from its frame. As a result of the accident, one student and one teacher were killed and dozens of others were injured. At the time, New Jersey was one of the six states that required lap belts on school busses.

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While many think of New Mexico strictly as a desert state, in reality, much of the state sees quite a bit of snow during the winter months. Snow, perhaps more than rain or wind, greatly affects a driver’s ability not just to see the road ahead of them, but also to safely and effectively control their vehicle.

Winter Road ConditionsWhile adverse weather conditions affect all drivers, they present an especially difficult situation for those who operate large commercial vehicles, such as semi-trucks and buses. Indeed, a significant number of New Mexico truck accidents are caused by adverse weather conditions and the driver’s failure to adjust their driving behaviors to the conditions of the road.

Notwithstanding the difficulties adverse weather conditions present to New Mexico truck drivers, the responsibility remains theirs to ensure that they are safely operating their vehicles. This means slowing down when the road conditions call for it. It may even mean pulling off to the side of the road and waiting for conditions to improve. When an accident is caused due to a driver’s failure to make reasonable adjustments, the driver may be liable for any resulting injuries.

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School buses are designed to be very visible to reduce the possibility of a driver not seeing a bus. This is illustrated by their bright color and flashing lights. In addition, the law specifically provides protection to school buses because they carry such precious cargo. One example is that it is illegal for motorists to pass a school bus while children are being picked up or dropped off.

School BusesWhile school buses are designed to be some of the safest vehicles on the road, they are not immune from being involved in a serious accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – an entity that was established following the Highway Safety Act of 1970 – is tasked with researching and studying highway and vehicle design and safety. According to the NHTSA, from 2006 to 2015, there were about 324,710 fatal car accidents, and of those, about 1,172 were related to school transportation. Sadly, there have been about 1,313 children and adults killed in school vehicle accidents. Over 100 of these accident victims were school-aged children.

When these accidents occur, aside from being emotionally devastating, establishing liability and recovering compensation can be very difficult. One reason is that there are many issues in play, including who caused the accident, why the accident occurred, and whether the school district, the bus driver, or another party may be held liable.

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Those who have been injured in a New Mexico bus accident may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries they have sustained in the accident. This compensation may include amounts for past medical expenses, as well as for any future medical needs. Additionally, successful accident victims often recover amounts for any lost wages, if applicable, as well as compensation for their pain and suffering.

Bus SeatsIn order to establish liability in a bus accident case, an accident victim must establish several elements. Essentially, the accident victim must show that the bus driver owed them a duty of care that was violated by some action of the bus driver. Alternatively, an accident victim can also establish liability by showing that the bus driver should have taken a necessary action to prevent an accident or injury but failed to do so. Additionally, the accident victim must be able to show a link between the bus driver’s alleged negligence and their injuries.

While it may seem straightforward to establish liability in a New Mexico bus accident case, in reality, the task can often be quite complex. For instance, there may be a question as to whether the bus driver was actually negligent, or a question of whether the bus driver’s employer should also be named in the lawsuit. These questions are important for accident victims to consider in advance of filing their lawsuit.

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During this time of year, many companies and organizations host holiday and end-of-the-year parties. In an attempt to avoid to avoid drunken or fatigued driving, many companies enlist the assistance of private buses to transport employees. However, even though hiring a private bus or charter company is generally a good idea because it is economical and efficient, accidents can still occur.

Bus InteriorWhen a New Mexico bus accident occurs, it may be confusing to determine who are the responsible parties and how fault should be apportioned. In these situations, there are often several entities that can be held liable for the accident, including the bus company, the bus driver, the touring company, and potentially even an employer that arranges the transportation.

When a company hires a company to transport employees to various locations, the company has a duty to ensure that the driver is trained and experienced in transporting large numbers of people on a bus. If the company did not perform due diligence in the selection of a transport company, the company may be held liable.

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According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), approximately 25 million school-aged children ride school buses in the United States, either to or from school or to or from other extracurricular activities. As a result, there are almost half a million buses that travel over 250 million miles a day. These vehicles carry our most precious cargo and for the most part are some of the safest vehicles.

School BusIn fact, school buses are specially designed with a “compartmentalization” technology, which is a protection system designed to make sure students stay safe. However, a recent report by the NTSB indicates that although school buses are some of the safest vehicles, the compartmentalization system is not enough to avoid all risk of injuries or death in a New Mexico school bus accident.

Crash simulations have shown that seat belts could prevent a significant number of serious injuries and death. When put this way, it is odd that seat belts are not mandatory on school buses. The NTSB has now recommended that school buses should have a three-point seat belt to ensure that if the school bus is involved in a crash, the impact will be mitigated because of the school bus’ design.

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New Mexico bus accidents happen. And sometimes, the person responsible for causing the accident does not have the ability to pay for the damages themselves and may not even have adequate insurance coverage to ensure that the victims are properly compensated.

School BusFor this reason, it is very important that all bus accident victims are extremely diligent when it comes to investigating their claims, and they should take every precaution to ensure that all potentially liable parties are named in the complaint. A plaintiff’s failure to name all of the appropriate parties may result in a plaintiff being under-compensated for their injuries or, worse yet, being unable to collect compensation at all.

Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, employers can be held liable for the negligent acts of their employees in some situations. Before an accident victim is able to recover damages from a negligent employee’s employer, they must first show that the employee was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident. In New Mexico, this can be shown by establishing:

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School bus drivers are entrusted to safely transport children to and from school, a job that carries an incredible amount of responsibility. However, school bus drivers, like all other motorists, are human and can make mistakes. When a bus driver is involved in a New Mexico school bus accident, an in-depth investigation is nearly always conducted by the authorities to determine if the accident was due in any part to the bus driver’s negligence.

School BusesMost of the time, school bus drivers travel the same route day after day, enabling them to become very familiar with the route. Other times, however, a bus driver may be assigned a temporary route, or a construction project requires that a bus driver take a different route. In these situations, it is incredibly important for the bus driver to safely travel the route and follow all posted traffic laws along the way. This may mean slowing down, pulling over, or traveling the route in advance to ensure that the students are safe along the journey.

When a bus driver does cause an accident, and students are injured as a result, the parents of the injured students are entitled to seek compensation for their children’s injuries through a New Mexico personal injury lawsuit.

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While seeking financial compensation after any traffic accident can be a lengthy and frustrating process, perhaps no other type of accident is more frustrating than a New Mexico hit-and-run accident. For starters, the responsible party may not be located for days or weeks after the accident – if at all. This puts accidents victims in a difficult spot when it comes time to pay for the myriad costs associated with being an accident victim.

Passing BusEven when a hit-and-run driver cannot be located, however, hit-and-run accident victims may have a means of recovering compensation for their injuries through their own insurance company. New Mexico law mandates that all drivers carry a certain amount of insurance coverage, including $25,000 per person for two people, for a total of $50,000. Thus, a driver with even the bare minimum amount of insurance in New Mexico can file a claim for compensation under their own insurance policy up to these limits. Of course, it is recommended to carry more than the minimum amount of insurance, in the event that injuries from an accident exceed $25,000 per person.

Driver Flees Scene After Bus Accident

Earlier this month, one man was arrested after he initially fled the scene of a bus accident and then returned a short time later. According to a local news report, the accident occurred when the bus driver attempted to make a left turn through an intersection and clipped another vehicle that was waiting to make a turn in the process. Thankfully, no one was injured; however, witnesses say that it was very clear the accident involved property damage, and the bus driver must have known that he was involved in a collision.

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Earlier this month in Bavaria, Germany, an accident between a passenger bus and a semi-truck resulted in 18 deaths and dozens of injuries. According to a national news report covering the tragic accident, a tour bus full of seniors enjoying a summer holiday crashed into the back of a truck that had slowed down for an approaching traffic jam.

Passenger BusEvidently, the accident occurred at around seven in the morning, on a day with fair weather and good visibility. Reports indicate that the bus, which was carrying 48 seniors between the ages of 66 and 81, was immediately engulfed in flames as it collided with the truck. Several people were able to evacuate the bus in the moments after the accident. However, firefighters told reporters that by the time they got to the scene, no one else was able to be removed from the wreckage, due to the extreme heat given off by the burning bus.

The accident is still under official investigation, and a final report has not yet been released. However, at this early juncture, it seems as though the bus driver was either distracted or had fallen asleep behind the wheel. There is no indication that he suffered a medical event in the moments leading up to the accident. However, since the bus driver was among those who were killed in the accident, authorities will not be able to obtain his side of the story.

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New Mexico statute 66-8-102 prohibits people from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. Drivers who are impaired, whether due to the influence of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason, offer strong evidence of negligent conduct if they are involved in an accident.

School BusNormally, the levels of intoxication shown in the blood are admitted into evidence for the drivers involved in the accident, and sometimes for passengers as well. This may be true even if the person is not intoxicated beyond the legal limit. The question of whether a person’s level of intoxication may be admitted into evidence depends on whether the person could have avoided or mitigated the accident by exercising due care—that is, by being sober and alert. Drivers may also be considered impaired for other reasons, including fatigue, a physical disability, or driving without a license.

Intoxication and Punitive Damages

Driving while intoxicated or impaired may also give rise to punitive damages. If a defendant’s conduct is found to be willful, wanton, malicious, reckless, oppressive, or fraudulent, punitive damages may be imposed in New Mexico. Reckless conduct means acting intentionally with utter indifference to the consequences. This may be shown by demonstrating that a defendant was intoxicated while driving.

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When an accident occurs and a lawsuit is filed, the jury’s main purpose is to apportion liability and award damages. To do this, the jury must determine who was at fault for the incident and the resulting damages. In some circumstances, the negligent party is very evident given the surrounding facts; however, in certain situations, determining liability can be a bit murkier. In these situations, it is possible that the plaintiff may be found at fault for some or all of the accident. The outcome in a case in which the plaintiff is at fault can vary greatly depending on the state in which it occurs. Generally, there are four theories of negligence when determining liability:Pie Chart

  • Pure contributory negligence
  • Pure comparative negligence
  • Modified comparative negligence (50% rule)
  • Modified comparative negligence (51% rule)

New Mexico applies the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. This means that any injured party can file a lawsuit against any other party involved in the accident, regardless of the injured party’s percentage of fault. In these situations, the jury will make a determination as to the fault of each party involved and then apportion liability and damages in accordance with that level of fault. If a plaintiff is found to be partially at fault in causing the accident that resulted in their injuries, the plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by their own amount of fault. Since New Mexico employs pure comparative negligence, there is no bar to recovery even when a plaintiff’s fault exceeds 51%.

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There are few accidents more deadly than head-on collisions. In fact, depending on the type of vehicle involved in the accident and the age and physical condition of the passenger, survival rates in head-on collisions are typically less than 50%. While head-on collisions are dangerous, they are one of the easiest types of accidents to avoid if both parties are paying sufficient attention to the road.

Bus SeatsHead-on collisions are most commonly caused by one driver failing to pay attention to the road ahead of them. This may be because the driver is distracted by a passenger or is texting on their cell phone. In other cases, head-on collisions are caused by drunk or intoxicated drivers who have a difficult time maintaining control of their vehicle. In either case, a drunk or distracted driver can be held liable for any injuries resulting from a head-on collision through a New Mexico personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

New Mexico Wrongful Death Lawsuits

As noted above, most head-on collisions are fatal. Thus, many of the personal injury cases that are brought in the wake of a head-on collision are wrongful death cases. A New Mexico wrongful death case must be brought by a personal representative of the deceased person. If successful, any proceeds from the lawsuit will be distributed among the deceased’s heirs according to New Mexico Statutes 41-2-3. Generally speaking, the surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren of the deceased have priority. Secondary beneficiaries include siblings, parents, and the survivors of the deceased’s parents.

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According to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 135 people are killed in school transportation-related crashes each year. Most of these fatalities occurred between the hours of seven and eight in the morning and between three and four in the afternoon. For example, between the years of 2003 and 2012, over 1,200 people were killed in school transportation-related accidents, many of these children. While this statistic only amounts to approximately half of one percent of the total 348,253 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes that occurred between those years, the thought of these accidents is terrifying.

School BusThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for many years did not find seat belts were needed on school buses. However, that position has recently changed. Federal law does not require seat belts on most school buses, which some say sufficiently protect students due to the way they are designed. However, school buses do not always protect children in certain types of crashes or rollovers. For this reason, many safety organizations now recommend seat belts on school buses.

While federal law does not require seat belts, more and more states are beginning to require seat belts in school buses. This year, many states have introduced legislation that would make seat belts mandatory, at least in newly manufactured school buses. However, some lawmakers question whether seat belts may slow students down to evacuate in an emergency. Right now, only six states — California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas — have laws requiring seat belts on school buses, and even then, some of these states have not provided the necessary funds for the schools to complete the required upgrades.

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The California Court of Appeals recently released a decision that upheld a trial court’s ruling to set aside their previous dismissal of an injury case filed by a woman who was hurt in an accident involving a passenger bus that was allegedly caused by the dangerous and reckless conduct of the bus driver. The plaintiff’s claim was initially dismissed after her attorney failed to respond to a motion to dismiss the case or attend the hearing to argue against it. However, the court set the dismissal aside after her attorney swore in a statement to the court that the mistake was his own fault. Using a provision that is relatively unique to California law, the court set aside the dismissal without evaluating the attorney’s failure to respond to the motion or attend the dismissal hearing. Since the appellate court upheld the trial court’s decision, the plaintiff will be able to have her day in court, and her claims against the defendant will proceed toward a possible settlement or trial.

Bus InteriorThe Plaintiff Suffered Injuries as a Passenger on a Greyhound Bus

The plaintiff in the case of Gee v. Greyhound is a woman who was hurt when the passenger bus on which she was traveling was involved in a crash that she blamed on the bus driver. After the accident, she consulted an attorney and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the company operating the bus as well as the driver, seeking damages for the injuries she sustained in the crash. In response to the lawsuit, the defendant sought to change the venue of the claim to another county where other plaintiffs had filed lawsuits based upon the same incident, and their request was granted. In addition to the venue change, the plaintiff was ordered to pay certain fees related to the change of venue, which her attorney failed to do.

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Operating a large vehicle involves a significant amount of training and expertise. Large trucks and buses have the ability to cause serious damage if the vehicle is involved in an accident. In fact, there are many situations each year in which a truck or bus accident claims the lives of several people all at once. The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is aware of the great responsibility it is to undertake a career driving a large motor vehicle and has created certain rules and regulations that govern these occupations.

School BusIn New Mexico, generally, in order to receive a driver’s license, individuals need to pass a written exam, pass a driving test, and then pay a fee. However, if someone is planning on driving a large vehicle or one that will be carrying passengers or cargo, the driver must apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Specifically, school bus drivers have a very unique set of rules and requirements that pertain to them. These individuals must become specially certified and trained as a school bus driver, which includes:

  • Passing a criminal background check;
  • Maintaining a clean driving record;
  • Passing an additional written exam that focuses on school buses specifically; and
  • Passing a driving test while operating a school bus.

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The State Supreme Court in Delaware recently released its opinion regarding an accident that occurred on March 27, 2012. Evidently, a student was injured when she was struck by another vehicle as she was boarding a school bus. The student waited for the signal from the school bus driver to board as she was crossing the street, and as she did so, the third-party vehicle hit her.

School BusThe bus was insured by an insurance company, and the student brought a claim to receive personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. PIP benefits are an extension of car insurance that is supposed to cover medical expenses for those other than the insured when the insured causes an accident. They are often referred to as “no-fault” coverage because an injured party should be able to claim benefits whether or not the accident was the injured party’s fault.

The insurance company argued that they should not have to pay out these benefits because their insured was not at fault for the accident. However, the Superior and Supreme Courts disagreed. The courts cited the state statute that explains that these benefits should be applied “to each person occupying such motor vehicle and to any other person injured in an accident involving such motor vehicle, other than an occupant of another vehicle.”

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Bus drivers, taxi cabs, and train operators all share one thing in common, and that is a duty to their passengers. While all drivers have a duty to others on the road, these “common carriers” also have a heightened duty to ensure that the passengers they are transporting for pay enjoy a safe trip. When a common carrier lapses in this duty, the individual driver as well as the company employing him may be held liable in a New Mexico lawsuit.

up-in-clouds-1556517Lawsuits against common carriers rely on a breach of the common carrier’s duty to its passengers. Commonly, this is established through some kind of violation of the law or showing that the driver was somehow negligent in the operation of the vehicle. This can be shown through direct evidence, such as a blood-alcohol report indicating a driver was legally intoxicated at the time of the accident, or though circumstantial evidence.

Circumstantial evidence is evidence that tends to prove something but requires a fact-finder to make an inference to reach the ultimate conclusion. For example, if a driver inexplicably crosses over the center line and into traffic without any explanation, and no evidence of a medical emergency was presented, a fact-finder may determine that the driver had fallen asleep behind the wheel. This is similar to what happened in a recent accident that claimed 12 lives in France.

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Late last month, the Supreme Court of North Carolina released its opinion in a case stemming from an accident involving a school bus and another driver. The accident occurred back in 2007, when the plaintiff’s car was hit by a school bus that was in the process of transporting students to an athletic event. Approximately three years later, the plaintiff brought a lawsuit against the school board, alleging that the school bus driver was negligent and that his negligence resulted in the plaintiff’s serious injuries. This lawsuit was brought in front of the North Carolina Industrial Commission (“the Commission”).

Public school buses parked in a line with doors open

The defendant moved for a motion for summary judgment, claiming that the Commission did not have jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s claim. The plaintiff then appealed this decision, which was ultimately unanimously reversed. However, the defendant then went on to file a petition for discretionary review, which was permitted. The plaintiff argued that the school activity buses should be within the Commission’s discretion because the vehicle falls within the definition of a “public school bus or school transportation service vehicle.” The Supreme Court ruled that school buses, as described in the governmental immunity statute, and school activity buses, such as the one involved here, are two distinct categories, so these buses were not incorporated into the immunity waivers.

Jurisdictional Issues When Bringing a Negligence Suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act in New Mexico

As this blog has previously addressed, the Federal Tort Claims Act was created to limit the burden of excessive lawsuits against the government. However, with this Act come certain exceptions that allow individuals to bring suits against the government despite the statute. Issues may arise when there is a question as to what is actually covered by the Act and where to bring these types of suits.

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A double-decker tour bus crashed earlier this month in San Francisco, startling many bystanders and seriously injuring several passengers. According to one national news report, the driver of the tour bus lost control and ended up causing destruction across almost two city blocks. A witness reported that they saw the tour bus driving very fast – what seemed like over 40 M.P.H. – through an intersection. The witness also stated that the bus looked “like it was going out of control.”

double-decker-1447643-300x224The bus ended up slamming into a bicyclist, hitting two pedestrians, and then colliding with several cars, all without stopping. The tour bus finally ended its path of destruction when it came to a stop in the middle of a construction site in the popular Union Square, an area known for its shopping and hotels.

Witnesses told reporters that the accident sounded as though a bomb went off and that it seemed like the bus did not have brakes. After the bus finally stopped, over 20 of the 30 passengers were injured, and eight individuals were taken to local hospitals. As of the time of publication of the article, four people were still in critical condition following the accident.

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France recently experienced one of the largest truck crashes in the country’s long history. According to a national news report, over 40 people, mostly seniors, were killed while they were on a day trip visiting a countryside town. Evidently, this was the worst road disaster the country experienced in over 30 years.

old-blue-bus-2-1451006According to initial reports, a tourist bus crashed into a truck carrying logs and other timber materials. Witnesses and local residents of the town told investigators and news reporters that the location of the accident occurred at a very dangerous bend in the road. After the truck and bus slammed into each other, they both caught on fire and became engulfed in flames.

An investigation is ongoing to determine the actual cause of the accident. Some stated that the timber driver lost control of his truck and was left in the middle of the road, and when the bus approached the driver was unable to avoid an accident. Some conflicting reports stated that the bus driver was able to get some people off the bus. Townspeople reported seeing massive amounts of smoke from miles away. The two large vehicles were basically incinerated and completely black when emergency crews were finally able to get the flames under control.

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Late this month, a New Mexico bus driver was caught on camera eating a burrito immediately prior to causing a serious accident. The driver caused a multi-car pileup when he was traveling down a city street because he failed to notice the vehicles in front of him coming to a stop. According to one local news source, the bus driver ended up slamming into the back of the vehicle directly in front of him, subsequently causing a domino effect.

on-bus-1452762.jpgWhen emergency personnel and officers arrived, the city bus driver claimed that he was texting right before the accident occurred. Interestingly, video cameras caught his actions right before the accident happened, and he was not texting. The driver was actually eating a burrito at the time of the accident. Video footage shows him eating the burrito with both of his hands and taking sips of his drink. It was clear that he was distracted but not because of the actions he originally claimed.

One of the individuals involved in the accident has brought a civil lawsuit against the city. The city has not terminated the city bus driver, even though they admitted that city bus drivers are not supposed to be drinking or eating while operating a city bus. The city claims that they retrained the driver and that he has not been involved in an accident since.
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Earlier this month in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a truck slammed into the side of a bus as a result of a serious accident. Local news reports have video footage of the accident as it occurred because there was a camera inside the bus. According to one news source, the truck was approaching a bus near Central Avenue and Unser Boulevard. Footage reveals that the truck neared the left side of the bus before the accident occurred. The truck driver proceeded to run a red light and slam into the side of the bus.

bus-on-the-run-1170123-m.jpgThe camera inside the bus showed the bus driver unfortunately getting slammed by the truck and subsequently smashing through the window. Luckily, no one besides the driver was on the bus at the time of the accident. However, both drivers had minor injuries. Furthermore, reports indicate that the bus driver was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. Traffic in the area was at a standstill and delayed for hours as personnel attempted to clean up the area.
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Authorities have reported that a 72-year-old Texas man is facing felony charges after he rear=ended a school bus near Kirbyville, Texas earlier this month, injuring several children. According to an article released by The Beaumont Enterprise, the school bus was stopping along U.S. 96 to allow a student to get on board when the tractor trailer crashed into the back of the bus.

matt-on-truck-197163-m.jpgPreliminary reports cited in the article state that the bus was flashing all of the lights on the back to indicate that it was stopping to pick up a child when the accident occurred. Six of the 53 students on the bus were injured in the crash and hospitalized, although fortunately none of them sustained life-threatening injuries.

The felony charges that the driver of the truck is facing are very serious, for he could be imprisoned for up to two years and fined up to $10,000 if he is ultimately convicted of the charges. Unfortunately for the driver of the 18-wheeler, the criminal charges are not the only legal problems that he may encounter. Because of the nature of the crash and the injuries caused, the truck driver may also be subject to substantial civil liability if the families of the injured children choose to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
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A semi-truck smashed through the median on Interstate 35 near Davis, Oklahoma and crashed into a bus carrying 15 players from the North Central Texas College women’s softball team last month. Tragically, four of the players were killed as a result of the night-time collision. According to an article, the initial investigation suggested that there was no sign that brakes were applied or that the driver tried to steer away from the crash before it occurred. It initially appeared that the truck drove straight as the road curved to the right and continued into oncoming traffic.

baseball-glove-713628-m.jpgAccording to state investigators, the driver told them that he was distracted by something in the cabin, but the article suggests that the investigators were not entirely convinced by the truck driver’s story. As the investigation continues, the data recorder can be retrieved from the truck, and it can be determined if the brakes were applied before the accident. Authorities have also sought a search warrant to search the contents of the truck in response to the truck driver’s explanation.

It appears that the authorities are suspicious that the truck driver may have been asleep or inebriated at the time of the crash, and the details of the driver’s explanation are not yet clear enough to determine if the driver has admitted fault for the accident.
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Last Wednesday, a multiple-vehicle collision left the passenger of a pickup truck dead after the truck was rear-ended by a South Texas College bus and burst into flames. According to an article by The Monitor, the vehicles were traveling eastbound along Expressway 83 in Donna, Texas, when the pickup truck slowed down in anticipation of an upcoming wreck.

coaches-922577-m.jpgThe South Texas College bus failed to slow down, crashing into the pickup and causing it to burst into flames. Bystanders helped the driver of the pickup escape shortly after the wreck, but the passenger remained trapped inside and did not survive. An eyewitness said that he noticed the pickup slowing down, but the bus “just kept going, like it didn’t have brakes.” After hitting the pickup truck, the bus crashed into a business, damaging a sign and some outdoor merchandise. According to the article, the driver of the bus suffered minor injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital, where a blood sample was collected.

The Dangers of Buses and Trucks in Traffic
The bus involved in this accident was used to shuttle students between two campuses of South Texas College, and it travels along high-traffic routes, as do many other buses and large vehicles. When buses and semi-trucks travel on city streets and in congested areas, they present a unique danger to drivers and pedestrians who are at risk from accidents involving the larger vehicles.

Based on the witness statements in the article, it appears that the brakes on the bus were either not functioning properly or that the driver was distracted and failed to apply them in time.

Even if the brakes were functioning properly, and the driver applied them as soon as he could, large vehicles like transit buses cannot stop as quickly as other vehicles, and the crash may have been unavoidable under the circumstances. In whatever way the accident occurred, the large size and weight of the bus likely contributed to the pickup truck bursting into flames and the ultimate death of the passenger inside.

How to Deal with the Loss and Expense of an Accident
When a family member is seriously injured or killed in a traffic accident, their loved ones quickly realize how expensive a tragedy can truly be. Victims are saddled with medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, and other costs. Worse than the financial burden, the loss of a loved one can have a tremendous affect on the well-being of an entire family. When faced with all of the grief, costs, and expenses associated with an accident, the victims of an accident often realize that the amounts offered by insurance companies to compensate them for an accident are not even close to enough to cover all of the expenses they will face. Often, victims must hire an attorney and file a New Mexico accident lawsuit to get serious consideration from an insurance company.
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