Tour buses are considered an economical and safe mode of traveling to vacation spots all over the United States — but when an accident does happen, they usually involve serious injuries and a lot of people all the same time.
This was the situation faced by the occupants of a charter bus this week in the Mojave Desert after their bus collided with two vehicles coming from the opposite direction.
The charter bus was heading to Las Vegas from Fresno when it crashed. All that’s known at this time is that the driver of the bus crossed the yellow line and drove into the wrong lane of traffic. The bus was heading at such a high rate of speed that when it plowed into an oncoming car and sports-utility vehicle it simply “shredded” the two smaller vehicles. The bus itself rolled over, eventually landing upright.
In the end, 1 person — the driver of one of the smaller vehicles — lay dead and 26 people were injured, 9 critically. Fire and rescue officials from surrounding areas scrambled to find ways to transport and treat the wounded.
When an accident like this happens, there will undoubtedly be a complex investigation to determine exactly what caused the bus to drive into the oncoming traffic. The odds are good that driver fatigue or distraction played a part, since those are both likely reasons for a driver drifting into the wrong lane.
Regardless of the reason, there are likely to be lawsuits over the damage done to the passengers of the bus and those in the other vehicles. The surviving close relatives of the deceased victim will likely end up filing a wrongful death claim over their lost loved one.
Because the bus is a common carrier, passengers are owed the highest degree of care possible — which means that the driver alone may not end up being responsible, even if he or she did fall asleep or get distracted. The tour bus company could also be liable for the negligent actions of its employee. For that matter, even the company booking the tour might potentially be liable if they knew or had reason to know of problems with the bus company.
If you’ve been injured due to an accident involving mass transit, like a bus, talk to an attorney today about how you might recover for your injuries.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “1 killed, 26 injured in tour bus crash in Mojave Desert,” Veronica Rocha and Frank Shyong, Feb. 27, 2017