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Humboldt University College Preview Weekend Ends in Fiery I-5 Bus Crash

On April 10, 2013, 44 high school students from Southern California boarded a Silverado Stages charter bus to visit Humboldt State University. However, the college preview weekend didn’t go as planned. At 5:30 p.m., the Arcata-bound bus was struck by a FedEx tractor-trailer on I-5 outside the town of Orland. After the bus crash, both vehicles burst into flames. Ten died, including two drivers, three chaperones, and five students. Thirty students sustained injuries.

Bus Accidents Don’t “Just Happen”

Each year, an average of 8,000 people are injured in large bus accidents; 20 die. Bus accidents occur because drivers are exhausted or distracted, because buses are poorly maintained, or because buses lack important safety features. The National Safety Transportation Board (NSTB) is investigating the Orland bus crash, the drivers, and their vehicles in order to understand exactly what happened.

The investigators will comb through the scene of the accident and the resulting wreckage. They will retrieve information from the bus’s black box data recorder and from the drivers’ cell phones. The investigators will analyze samples of each driver’s blood. They will even look at whether the teens heard emergency procedures when they first boarded the bus. The investigation will be thorough, but it could take as long as six months.

Years of experience have taught us that there are usually multiple factors that contribute to major bus crashes. There is evidence that the FedEx driver didn’t brake after he crossed the median. Road conditions may also have contributed to the accident.

The NTSB is also trying to determine if there should have been a concrete barrier in the median between the northbound and southbound lanes. Finally, the vehicles themselves may have also influenced the outcome of the crash. The NTSB is looking at fire suppression and safety features in both the FedEx truck and the tour bus.

Ostroff Law is Fighting for Your Rights

Once fault is determined, the responsible party will be liable for the injuries and deaths that occurred in the I-5 bus accident.  Both FedEx and Silverado Stages are acting now in order to protect themselves after the investigation. If you or your child was on the Humboldt University college tour bus, company representatives may offer you monetary compensation in exchange for signing a waiver.

Before you sign any papers offered by FedEx or the bus company, consult an experienced bus accident attorney. Your claim may be worth a lot more than the company is offering, especially if you or your child suffered a serious injury, permanent disability or disfiguring burns. You don’t want to sign away your right to compensation.

The lawyers at Ostroff Law have represented hundreds of accident victims against the largest bus companies in the country. We can help you get the justice you deserve, including payment for your medical bills, pain and suffering, long-term disability, and property damage. Contact our bus crash lawyers to discuss your case. There is no obligation and no charge.

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