Unfortunately, bus accidents are much more common than you would think. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) there are approximately 300 bus accidents each year. The recent tragedy near Palm Springs, California involving the USA Holiday bus returning to Los Angeles from Red Earth Casino in Thermal, California, is a terrifying reminder that these types of accidents occur much more often than we realize.
At approximately 5:17 am, the large bus was returning from Red Earth Casino in Thermal, CA., about 35 miles into its 135 mile drive on Interstate 10 back to Los Angeles. According to survivor reports, most of the passengers were asleep at the time of the collision. California Highway Patrol had been slowing cars in order to assist road workers in bringing wire across the freeway. The bus was unable to slow down, and collided with a semi-truck in front of it, killing 13 people aboard the bus, including the driver and owner of the bus, and seriously injuring another 31 passengers. Although it remains unclear as to the specific cause of the accident, the investigation has revealed that the bus was driving much faster than the semi-truck in front of it, made clear by the 15 foot deep impact into the rear of the large semi-truck.
The Law Offices of Vann H. Slatter wish to extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the victims of this horrific tragedy and their families. Please know that we are here to help you in any way that we can.
Over the course of a 35 year career as a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, I have seen many of these types of accidents. Once the immediate shock and trauma of the accident has settled, the first question typically asked is: “WHO is at fault?”. There are multiple parties who may be at fault in these accidents, including:
•The bus driver
•The bus management company
•The manufacturer or retailer of the bus equipment
•The party that performed maintenance on the bus
•Other negligent drivers on the road
•A government entity, if it was a public bus
Since there are often so many possible responsible parties, these cases can be difficult to investigate and litigate.
The second question is usually: “HOW did this happen?” There are also many different variables that can account for the cause of the accident, such as:
•Drug or alcohol intoxication
•Improper maintenance of the bus
•Defective equipment on the bus
•Improper maintenance of the road
•Reckless driving or fatigue of the bus driver or other drivers on the road
Often, the answer lies in a combination of these factors. No matter who is at fault or how the occurred, the weight, speed, and number of people typically on board a bus more often than not produce catastrophic damage in these accidents.
The third question that should be asked is: “WHAT do I do NOW?”
If you or a loved one is involved in a bus accident, we know that it is an extremely challenging time- physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. It is important to know the steps to take to ensure that you or your loved ones get the compensation they deserve. Because of the complexities of these cases, it is important that you consult an attorney experienced in catastrophic accidents such as these, who will know the right steps to take and allow you to focus on helping yourself or your loved ones heal. First, there must be a thorough investigation, a gathering of evidence and medical records and bills. Then there is the proper preparation of a settlement demand or the lawsuit itself. One thing is certain, these cases are not resolved quickly if your attorney does a proper job to protect the rights of the family.
For over 30 years The Law Offices of Vann H. Slatter have been helping the victims of catastrophic accident such as bus collisions get the compensation they deserve. We know the steps to take, and will fight to get you or your loved ones the compensation you deserve. If you or someone you know has been injured in a bus accident, please call us today for your free consultation at (310) 444-3010 or toll-free at (888) 293-0404.