According to CBS News and an Associated Press report, on Sunday, February 3, 2013, a busload of travelers headed back to Tijuana, Mexico after a day trip of skiing at Big Bear found themselves in the midst of a catastrophic accident when their tour bus driver lost control of the tour bus, rear-ended a sedan and hit a pickup truck with a trailer attached. Described as “shocking” by a California Department of Transportation spokeswoman, the tragic bus accident that resulted in 7 deaths and 38 injured passengers continues to be the subject of a vehicle accident investigation.
Investigation is Underway to Determine If Brake Failure Played a Part in This Tragedy
The accident happened approximately 80 miles east of Los Angeles on State Route 38 around 6:30 pm as the bus travelled south, leaving the San Bernardino National Forest. Emergency responders found the bus, frontend crushed and turned sideways, on Route 38; the sedan had flipped, and debris and litter was scattered along the roadway. Some passengers were trapped on the bus and had to be removed by emergency crews before the investigation could get underway. Injuries from the bus accident ranged from minor to severe, with five people reported to be in critical condition. The driver of the truck was reported to be in an extremely serious condition.
The bus driver claims that the bus had been having brake problems, and officials who will conduct the vehicle accident investigation will most likely consider whether or not brake failure may have been the cause of the accident as well as other scenarios. KATU News reported that inspection reports from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicated that the bus involved in this accident had 22 safety violations during the last year that included issues with brakes, tires and the bus’ windshield. In fact, the report showed that the bus company that owned the bus failed “more than a third” of its safety inspections in the previous two years.
The marketing director who set up the trip stated that he believed that faulty brakes were definitely involved in the cause of the accident. Once the vehicle accident investigation is complete, we’ll know if he is correct or not. Occurring less than a day after 35 people were injured from a bus accident in Boston, Massachusetts when a bus driver drove a busload of high school students and their chaperones into an overpass after evidently ignoring the height limitation warning, this week has proven to be a very hazardous time for bus travelers.
A Death that Results from the Negligence of Another May Qualify as a Wrongful Death
Every accident in which someone is hurt is both emotionally and financially devastating. In cases where a death occurs like those in last week’s California bus accident, the ramifications are magnified and often not realized until surviving family members attempt to resume their lives after the event. That’s when contacting a personal injury lawyer experienced in wrongful death claims can often help families meet those financial needs through the filing of a lawsuit against the at-fault party. A wrongful death lawsuit is somewhat different from other types of personal injury lawsuits in that the party who brings suit is not the actual victim of the injury, but is a third-party, surviving dependent (spouse, child, beneficiary, etc.).
Oregon’s wrongful death statutes (ORS § 30-010 et. seq.) allow a lawsuit to be brought by certain family members and beneficiaries when the death of someone is caused by a wrongful act or omission by another. Damages that may be awarded to the loved ones of a wrongful death victim may include expenses such as:
- Medical bills (doctor’s services, nursing services, hospital services)
- Burial expenses and memorial service expenses
- Compensation for the decedent’s for disability, pain, suffering and loss of income preceding death
- Compensation to dependents of the decedent for lost wages
- Loss of companionship and “society” of the decedent’s services
- Sorrow and grief
- Punitive damages
Contact the Experienced Portland, Oregon Personal Injury Lawyers at Shulman Dubois LLC for Assistance
While the winning of a wrongful death lawsuit will not undo the tragedy of the loss of a loved one, it may provide some much-needed financial relief to a grieving family whose lives have been forever changed by the death of a provider. To learn more about wrongful death lawsuits or to schedule an appointment with an experienced Portland personal injury lawyer, call 503-222-4411.