The deadly, multi-vehicle PA Turnpike crash on January 5, 2020 began when a bus driver failed to negotiate a corner, drove up an embankment, rolled over. Two trucks then struck the bus, followed by a passenger car. Five people died in the collisions, and more than 60 were injured.
What Passengers Should Do After a Bus Crash
As soon as you’ve gotten to the doctor, hospital, gotten the care you need, even if you’re still in the hospital, you or someone in your family should get ahold of a lawyer to take care of you. Some of the most important evidence we get in your crash are gonna be obtained right after your crash. We win more cases right after an accident than we do in front of a jury, by obtaining the evidence we need to win for you. In fact, if you think about crime scene, and why the police lock it down for 48 hours, that’s why, they wanna preserve evidence. We wanna get to the evidence before it disappears. And there’s many types of evidence, pictures, witnesses, getting to the scene to reconstruct a crash before the vehicles involved are repaired or destroyed.
What NOT to Do After a Bus Crash
When a person sustains serious injuries in an accident, the insurance company involved will try to take advantage of the situation. These companies know that most people are unfamiliar with their legal rights and the value of their injury claim.
That’s why it is important to avoid talking with the insurance company before speaking with a lawyer. Adjusters can often persuade victims to settle for far less than what their claim is worth. However, insurance companies pay almost triple in cases in which a lawyer represents the victim.
If an insurance adjuster does happen to catch you on the phone, what you say matters. For example, it’s important to avoid any of the following statements:
- “I’m sorry” or anything that sounds like an apology or admission of fault.
- “I am fine.”
- Explaining the cause of the accident.
- Agreeing to release medical records.
- Accepting the initial settlement.
Review “Five Things You Should Never Say to the Insurance Adjustor” to find out why these statements can be damaging to your claim.
Ostroff Injury Law Investigating Fatigue as Factor in Jan. 5 Pennsylvania Turnpike Crash
Jon Ostroff has litigated numerous cases in which fatigue contributed collisions involving buses and commercial trucks. He represented 23 victims who were injured or killed in a bus and truck crash on I-80 in October 2013. This crash occurred when a Greyhound bus operator slammed into the rear of a highly visible tractor-trailer. After a seven-week jury trial, Ostroff proved that Greyhound failed to enforce rules intended to assure its drivers receive sufficient rest before and during long, evening bus routes. Like the January 5, 2020 crash, the 2013 Greyhound collision involved a long, nighttime route between New York and Ohio and a high-speed collision by a driver who failed to appropriately react to clearly visible objects. Ostroff also represented victims in a 2009 crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that occurred when a Greyhound bus driver fell asleep, failed to negotiate a bend in the highway, and struck a concrete divider, severely injuring passengers.
Jon Ostroff, founder of Ostroff Injury Law, indicates that fatigue may have caused the crash. “Having reviewed the preliminary information about the incident,” Ostroff said, “I have every reason to believe that the now deceased bus driver was too tired to be behind the wheel.”
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, large buses – including school buses, motor coaches, transit, and van-based buses that transport nine or more passengers – were involved in 227 fatal crashes in 2016. Those crashes resulted in 264 fatalities. Drivers who get fewer than five hours of sleep in a night can have a four-times increased crash risk.
Bus companies are responsible for ensuring their drivers are fit to transport passengers, including establishing and enforcing safety rules as well as training their drivers to assess and manage their own fatigue. However, bus companies often fail to actively manage and enforce policies intended to prevent fatigued drivers from causing crashes. Their passengers, for whom they are responsible for safely transporting, often pay the ultimate price.