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Posts Tagged ‘ traffic accidents ’

$16M Settlement to Motorcyclist Paralyzed in Crash with Fla. Cop Car

Image credit © iStockphoto.com/alexskopje

A 21-year-old motorcyclist and his family will receive a $16 million settlement after he was paralyzed when his motorcycle crashed into a police car that had pulled in front of him in St. Petersburg, Fla., in January.

The motorcyclist, Eli Ulibarri, was riding his motorcycle on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive about 7:40 p.m. on Jan. 12 when an unmarked police car from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office pulled out in front of him just south of 62nd Ave. North, according to a July 20 story in The Tampa Bay Times.

Ulibarri tried to avoid the crash by locking up his brakes, but was unable to avoid striking the sheriff’s car, the story said. The motorcyclist, who was wearing a helmet, suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured spinal cord, collapsed lungs and lacerations to his liver and kidney, according to the report. Ulibarri, who is now confined to a wheelchair, was heading home for dinner from his job in a grocery store when the crash occurred.

The detective who was involved in the crash, Cpl. Joe Miner, 46, was ticketed for failure to yield in connection with the crash and his driver’s license was suspended for a year, the paper reported. He pleaded no contest to the charge and was ordered to pay $618 in fines and court costs.

Following the crash, the sheriff’s office presented a check for $200,000, which is the maximum liability claim under Florida law, to the victim, the story reported. Later the family’s lawyer contacted the sheriff’s office to discuss additional damages, which ultimately resulted in the $16 million settlement, according to the story.

“I took the position from day one that we had 100 percent liability and that we needed to accept responsibility for this,” Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told the paper. “This is the only way we have to make it as right as it could possibly be.”

About $15 million of the settlement will be paid through the sheriff’s department’s insurance policy, while the $1 million self-insured deductible will be paid by county government, the story reported. The award will be made through a structured settlement.

These kinds of tragic legal cases occur every day when innocent victims are severely hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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$700K Settlement to Boy Injured in Car Crash at a School

The family of a California boy who had a leg amputated after being struck by debris from a nearby car crash while he was playing on a school athletic field has reached a $700,000 settlement in the case.

The boy, Adrian Grajeda, who was 10 years old at the time of the Oct. 23, 2013 incident, was playing in the athletic field of Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Palm Desert, Calif., when a car crashed into another car nearby, throwing debris at the boy and severely injuring him, according to a Dec. 8 story in The (Palm Desert) Desert Sun.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

His mother, Brandy Grajeda, filed a lawsuit against the driver of the car, Malcolm Paterson, who was 83 at the time of the crash, alleging negligence. Paterson later died in January 2015 before the case could go to trial and his wife, Evelyn, was named as the defendant in the lawsuit, the story reported.

Before he died, Malcolm Paterson was also charged with drunken driving and causing injury in a crash, but the charges were dismissed after his death, according to the story.

The settlement will pay for the boy’s medical bills and artificial limbs as he grows up, the story reported, with a portion of the award being held back until he turns 18 years old. The boy is an active athlete and received support and encouragement from his community after the incident, according to the story.

Malcolm Paterson had told prosecutors that he mistakenly pressed the accelerator pedal rather than the brake pedal as his Chevrolet Cruze automobile traveled south on Portola Avenue while approaching traffic which was stopped at a red light, the story reported.

“Paterson’s car collided with another vehicle, veered onto a sidewalk, crashed into a traffic signal and finally struck the steel perimeter fence of the elementary school on Rutledge Way in Palm Desert,” according to the report. “Debris from the crash struck Adrian, who was airlifted to a hospital, where his right leg was amputated. Other students were outside at the time, but no one else was hurt.”

Malcolm Paterson’s blood-alcohol level was .04 percent after the crash, which was below the legal limit of 0.08 percent, “but investigators said he was still driving impaired,” the story reported.

These kinds of tragic legal cases occur every day when innocent victims are severely hurt or killed in vehicle crashes and a wide range of other incidents through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in such an incident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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$2 Million Settlement to Family of Teen Critically Hurt in DUI Crash

Sergio Molina was laying in the bed of a pickup truck being driven by an intoxicated 16-year-old boy on the night of June 15, 2013, when the speeding truck slammed into a vehicle on the side of the road, causing a chain reaction crash that killed four people.

Twelve people were also hurt in the crash in Fort Worth, Texas, that night, including Molina, who was thrown out of the pickup bed by the impact of the collision and landed on his head, causing massive and life-changing injuries.

Now 17, Molina and his family will receive a $2 million settlement to care for the teen, who was paralyzed by the crash and is only able to blink his eyes, according to a May 6 report by The Dallas Star-Telegram.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/

Molina’s parents, Maria Lemus and Sergio Molina, had sued the family of the teen who was driving the pickup truck, Ethan Couch of Fort Worth, according to the story. Couch’s pickup “swerved in the 1500 block of Burleson-Retta Road in southern Tarrant County, hitting a stranded motorist and three people who had stopped to help her,” the paper reported. “The pickup also plowed into a parked car, sending it into a Volkswagen Beetle driving in the opposite direction. Couch’s pickup flipped and smashed into a tree.”

The settlement calls for the liability insurance company of Couch’s parents, Fred and Tonya Couch, to pay $1.638 million to the Sergio E. Molina Special Needs Trust, the paper said. “The Couches’ insurer also agreed to purchase two sets of annuities to provide payments to the trust, beginning in July, of $1,515 monthly and of $1,837 monthly, both for life and guaranteed for 25 years.”

Settlements have also been made with the families of five of the other injured or killed victims in the crash, the paper reported. One remaining family is waiting for a jury trial in the case.

The pickup’s driver, Ethan Couch, was sentenced to 10 years’ probation and ordered not to drink alcohol, use drugs or drive during that time, the paper reported. He was also ordered to get treatment in a lockdown addiction facility.

The case received much publicity after Couch’s own lawyers “argued the youth suffered from ‘affluenza,‘ a condition where enormous wealth blinded him from responsibilities resulting from his actions,” according to a related story by Reuters. Affluenza, however, is not a diagnosis recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.

Also killed in the crash were Breanna Mitchell, whose car had broken down, and three people who tried to help her with her stranded vehicle, according to Reuters. The other victims who lost their lives that night were Hollie and Shelby Boyles, nearby residents who came out to help; and youth minister Brian Jennings.

Couch’s blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was more than three times the legal limit for an adult, Reuters reported.

These kinds of cases occur every day when innocent victims are hurt or killed in vehicle accidents through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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Elderly California Driver, 100, Hurts 11 Children and 3 Adults Backing Up Car: When is Safety An Issue with Older Drivers?

We all remember the freedom, the thrill, the excitement of getting our driver’s license as young people, and with it the wonderful realization that we could go anywhere, anytime, as long as we had wheels.

That exhilaration and freedom doesn’t go away as we get older, but unfortunately, our skills can deteriorate as we age, slowing our reaction times and reflexes and causing our eyesight and other senses to weaken.

It can create a dilemma for our loved ones and for government agencies – no one wants to pull driver’s licenses from older drivers without good reason, but older drivers can sometimes put themselves and others in danger by driving when their vehicle operating skills are no longer safe.

The issue was highlighted this week when a 100-year-old man in South Los Angeles accidentally struck 11 school children and three adults as he backed his car up across from a school shortly after he children were dismissed for the day, according to a story in The Los Angeles Times.

The issue of elderly drivers on the roads is again in the news. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/dszc

The victims, who ranged in age from 14-months-old to 48-years-old, were struck Aug. 29 by a Cadillac being driven by Preston Carter, who will turn 101 on Sept. 1, the story reported. The driver has a current driver’s license and no history of traffic violations, the California Department of Motor Vehicles told The Times. “Los Angeles Police Department traffic detectives were looking at whether Carter mistakenly hit his accelerator pedal instead of the brake shortly before he rammed into the crowd about 2:30 p.m.”

Three of the children remained hospitalized on Aug. 30, but were expected to recover, according to a story from The Associated Press.

Police believe that the driver simply made a “miscalculation,” a police officer told The Times. Carter allegedly told police that his “brakes had failed.”

Luckily for everyone involved, no one was killed in this incident, which certainly could have been far more tragic.

But as it stands, it again brings to light the delicate issue of older drivers and when and how to decide if their declining skills mean that they should no longer be legally permitted to drive.

Several similar incidents occurred in the Philadelphia area in late 2011. Last December, an 80-year-old woman in Pennsville, N.J., rammed into an optician’s office that she was visiting when she hit the gas by mistake, while last November, an 84-year-old woman plowed into the Once Again Thrift Shop in Berks County, striking two toddlers, according to reports from The Philadelphia Inquirer. In another crash last November, a 79-year-old woman died when she drove off Route 73 and into a Marlton pond.

And in September 2011, an 89-year-old Haverford man killed his daughter and injured his wife when he ran them over in his driveway after he accidentally pressed the wrong foot pedal in his car, the Inquirer reported. In July 2011, an 85-year-old man drove his big Mercury Grand Marquis into a fast food restaurant at 8th and Market streets in Philadelphia, injuring six people inside the restaurant.

After this week’s crash, Carter’s daughter told news reporters that he will no longer be driving and will give his car away, according to a story by CNN.com. He didn’t have a history of any prior traffic violations on his driving record.

It is a difficult thing to tell someone who has been driving for decades that they should no longer continue to drive for safety reasons, but it is a necessary step at the appropriate time for many elderly drivers.

In Pennsylvania, drivers over 65 years of age must renew their driver’s licenses every two years by law, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  And by law, doctors and other medical personnel who are authorized to diagnose or treat disorders and disabilities such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and other debilitating conditions, must report such cases to PennDOT in writing so that the cases of those individuals are investigated, according to the NHTSA. Physicians and other medical personnel are given immunity from civil or criminal actions involving such drivers as long as they report such cases when they come to their attention.

To discuss the issue, PennDOT has created several online resources to help educate older drivers and their families about how to analyze and approach the matter together. PennDOT’s JustDrivePA.org Web site offers safety tips for older drivers, as well as warning signs for when older drivers should stop driving.

“Since driving is such a critical form of transportation for the older driver, it is also a very difficult decision to make,” the Web site states. “There is no clear cut factor to look at in terms of stopping driving; however, PennDOT continually seeks to balance the safety of our roadways with the impact of loss of independence, autonomy, and mobility of the older driver.”

Some of the safety tips include:

  • Having regular eye and medical exams to ensure that near and distance vision is adequate to drive safely.
  • Aging eyes become more sensitive to bright light and glare, so limit nighttime driving and try to avoid looking directly into headlights of approaching vehicles.
  • Avoid stressful driving situations such as rush hour travel, driving at night or driving in bad weather. Plan trips for daytime hours after 9 a.m. and before 5 p.m. to avoid rush hour traffic. Plan ahead. Know your route and try to stay on familiar roads.
  • Avoid travelling in bad weather, if at all possible.
  • Avoid taking medications before driving. Many medications, prescription and over-the-counter, cause drowsiness and can affect safe driving.
  • Make sure your driver’s seat and mirrors are properly adjusted prior to beginning a trip.
  • Maintain a safe speed and look ahead. Controlling your speed and looking down the road for possible hazards allow you to make adjustments before encountering a problem.
  • Always keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you. A four-second gap between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you is recommended.
  • When driving long distances, especially in winter, call ahead for weather and road condition updates.

Signs that it may be time for an elderly person to stop driving include:

  • Feeling uncomfortable, nervous or fearful when driving.
  • Unexplained dents and scrapes on the car, fences, mailboxes, garage doors, etc.
  • Frequent “close calls” (i.e. almost crashing).
  • Getting lost.
  • Slowed response to unexpected situations.
  • Being easily distracted or having a hard time concentrating while driving.
  • Difficulty staying in the lane of traffic.
  • Trouble paying attention to signals, road signs and pavement markings.
  • Trouble judging gaps in traffic at intersections or highway entrance/exit ramps.
  • Medical conditions or medications which may be affecting abilities to handle a car safely.
  • Frequent traffic tickets or “warnings” by traffic or law enforcement officers in the last two years.

Organizations such as the AAA (American Automobile Association) offer self-assessment tools for older drivers, including this self-rating form which can help an older driver realistically evaluate his or her motor vehicle skills.

There are even PennDOT-approved Basic and Refresher Mature Driver Improvement courses which are offered throughout the Commonwealth by AAA, AARP and by Seniors for Safe Driving.

Pennsylvania also has a Mature Drivers Task Force (MDTF), which was established in 2000 to ensure that mature drivers and pedestrians in Pennsylvania are safe and feel safe while traveling the state’s highways and interstates. “Mobility is essential to everyone’s quality of life,” according to the task force. “The loss of mobility can be devastating to the lives of older Pennsylvanians, and most of us want to drive for as long as we safely can. Many older people are capable, and have a lifetime of valuable driving experience behind them to draw upon.”

PennDOT has also put together a useful pamphlet, “Talking With Older Drivers: A Guide for Family and Friends,” to assist family members or friends when it is time to discuss these issues with elderly drivers in their lives.

It’s a touchy, difficult subject to bridge with the older drivers in our lives.

But it’s a discussion that we must have to protect older drivers who might be at risk, as well as other drivers, pedestrians and others in society who stand to be harmed by elderly persons who are no longer safe vehicle operators.

It’s a talk that every family needs to have with parents and older relatives as they age. We have to help make the difficult decision with our older relatives.

Compassion, understanding, love and concern are all a part of the discussion. It is not easy, but when the time comes, it is for the safety of everyone involved.

This has been a public service message from MyPhillyLawyer. When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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Unsafe Idea: Legislator Proposes Raising PA Turnpike Speed Limit to 70 mph

A proposal to raise the speed limit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike from 65 mph to 70 mph has been introduced by a legislator who argues that it makes sense because cars and roads today are safer than ever.

The problem is that’s ridiculous, based on all of the statistics that are available about vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities when it comes to higher vehicle speeds.

The bill was introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by Rep. Joe Preston, D-Allegheny County, according to a story in The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News. The measure was passed by the House transportation committee by an 18-4 vote and it is now being reviewed by House Republican leaders, according to the paper.

Preston told the Patriot-News that the higher speed limit is warranted because road improvements on the Turnpike have made the highway safer over the years. “When you spend 15,000 to 18,000 miles a year on the turnpike, you notice the difference,” he told the paper. “All I’m trying to do is give them the [leeway] to make it 70 mph if they so choose in different spots. It doesn’t change it. It just gives them the opportunity to change it.”

The speed limit on most of the Turnpike is 65 mph since the limit was raised back in 1995-96. Some sections around urban areas and toll plazas have a 55 mph speed limit.

And while Preston’s belief that a higher speed limit is supported by better roads and safer vehicle design, critics say that’s hogwash.

A tractor-trailer enters Pennsylvania in this stock photo. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/benkrut

“The fact is pretty clear – if you raise speed limits on an urban or rural highway, more people will die,” said John Ulczycki, a vice president with the Itasca, Ill.-based National Safety Council.  ”That’s not my opinion. It’s a fact that is so every time we raise speed limits.”

Overall, there has been a significant decrease in traffic deaths in the U.S. over last decade in many categories such as teen crashes, DUI crashes and truck crashes, but one area where fatalities have not decreased is in speed-related deaths, Ulczycki said.  ”Speed continues to be factor in one-third of traffic fatalities. Even with cars and roads getting better, those numbers are not going down. The legislator [who sponsored the bill] can talk about better roads and better vehicles. Yes, that’s all true and that’s having a real effect on safety, but it’s not affecting road deaths.”

A wealth of data points to a correlation between higher road speeds and increased fatalities, said Russ Rader, vice president of communications for the Arlington, Va.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “Because we’ve had this long experience of speed limits over time there have been many opportunities to study what happens when speed limits go down and up,” he said. “The research is clear that when you raise speed limits deaths go up and when you lower them deaths go down.”

If approved by the Legislature and governor, a higher speed limit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike will result in more crash deaths, Rader said. “A change like this will definitely allow people to get to their destinations faster, but the tradeoff is a road that is less safe.”

And while today’s motor vehicles are in fact safer than older vehicles due to advances in air bags, passive restraints, electronic stability controls and more, today’s vehicle crash safety ratings refer to vehicles that are tested at 35 to 40 mph, not at the 65 mph being driven on today’s highways, he said.

“When you get up to these very high speeds you’re overwhelming all of the crash-worthy structures and safety equipment that is built into modern vehicles,” Rader said. “At ever higher speeds, you are increasing the likelihood of a crash and the severity when one happens.”

In addition, many vehicles on our roads are older and don’t have all the latest safety devices.

Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that deaths on rural interstates increased 25-30 percent when states began increasing speed limits from 55 to 65 mph in 1987. In 1989, about two-thirds of this increase — 19 percent, or 400 deaths — was attributed to increased speed, the rest to increased travel, according to the group.

“A 1999 Institute study of the effects of the 1995 repeal of the national maximum speed limit indicated this trend had continued,” the IIHS reports. “Researchers compared the numbers of motor vehicle occupant deaths in 24 states that raised speed limits during late 1995 and 1996 with corresponding fatality counts in the 6 years before the speed limits were changed, as well as fatality counts from 7 states that did not change speed limits. The Institute estimated a 15 percent increase in fatalities on interstates and freeways.”

A later study, conducted in 2009, found that the 1995 repeal of the 55 mph national speed limit  resulted in a 3 percent increase in road fatalities attributable to higher speed limits on all road types, with the highest increase of 9 percent on rural interstates. “The authors estimated that 12,545 deaths were attributed to increases in speed limits across the US between 1995 and 2005,” the report stated.

A similar effort to increase the speed limit was successful in neighboring Ohio last year, according to the Patriot-News story, when the Ohio Turnpike raised its speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph on the 241-mile span across northern Ohio. “The number of crashes during the first year of the higher speed limit rose by 5.6 percent from the year before, according to an April 29 story in The [Cleveland] Plain-Dealer,” the paper reported.

So what does this all mean?

On its face, the proposal to increase the speed limit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike is a bad idea because it doesn’t provide any true benefits for anyone.

Already, many motorists are exceeding the 65 mph speed limit, which essentially means that drivers are illegally operating their vehicles at 70 to 80 mph or more. Bumping the limit up by 5 mph is only going to encourage more speeding while not resulting in any true gains for residents.

Lower speeds mean greater safety and increased fuel economy, so raising the speed limit even more is counter to safety and efficiency.

It would be better for our legislators to be at work on bills aimed at helping our Commonwealth’s economy, school districts, local communities and residents, rather than on isolated side issues like the speed limit on the Turnpike.

If you or a loved one is seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, the skilled and compassionate attorneys and staff here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you. Call us anytime with your questions and concerns about any legal issues.

When Winning Matters Most, call MyPhillyLawyer.

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Court Radio: What You Need to Know About Bus Accidents and Bus Safety

Bus accidents have been on the rise, from school bus crashes to tour bus disasters to city bus incidents that have left passengers and people in other vehicles badly injured or killed.

On “Court Radio” at 7 a.m. on Sunday, the topic of bus accidents and what you need to know to protect yourself and your loved ones will be featured with our special guest, attorney Mandeep Singh Chhabra. Chhabra will join MyPhillyLawyer managing partner Dean Weitzman and his co-host David Rapoport on Court Radio to explain your rights in such accidents and how you can better protect the interests of your family.

Court Radio is broadcast live at 7 a.m. every Sunday morning on Philadelphia’s WRNB 100.3 FM, with a simulcast on Magic 95.9 FM in Baltimore. You can also listen live on the Internet at WRNB 100.3 or on Magic 95.9 via streaming audio.

A passenger bus sits on a roadside after a severe crash. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/airportrait

Just this week a spate of bus accidents has been in the headlines across the U.S.

Seventeen people were hurt when a Metrobus collided with a car early this morning in Washington, D.C., according to a report from WTOP FM 103.5 radio.

In another incident, a bicyclist was struck and killed by a school bus in Arlington, Fla., near Jacksonville, according to WOKV.com News.

Even the tour bus for the singer, Bucky Covington, was in a crash with a Goodwill truck in Birmingham, Ala.

In February, an 11-year-old girl was killed and her two sisters were critically injured in a school bus accident in New Jersey when the bus was struck by a dump truck just south of Trenton.

Even more serious tour bus accidents have been in the news often in the last few years.

Last March, two people were killed when a privately owned tour bus crashed into a guardrail and a concrete embankment on the New Jersey Turnpike and veered into a drainage ditch on the side of the highway, according to a story in The Star-Ledger newspaper in Newark, N.J.  Forty other passengers were injured on the bus, which was heading to Philadelphia from Chinatown in New York. MyPhillyLawyer is representing two passengers on this bus.  The tour bus company involved in this crash has one of the worst driver safety records in the bus industry, according to a story in The Star-Ledger.

And last August, another tour bus struck the rear of a tractor-trailer rig that had run into the rear of another truck on a traffic-snarled, southbound section of the New Jersey Turnpike, The  Star-Ledger reported. The driver of the bus died several days after the crash due to critical injuries, while at least 16 other people were injured.

In another incident last June, four bus passengers died in Virginia when the discount tour bus they were traveling on swerved off Interstate 95 about 30 miles north of Richmond and overturned, according to an Associated Press story on NJ.com.  That bus company, Sky Express Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., was shut down indefinitely by the U.S. Department of Transportation in May, according to CBS 3 New York.

The worst tour bus crash last year in the U.S. also occurred last March when 14 passengers were killed and 19 others were injured when a Manhattan-bound bus overturned on a Bronx highway, according to a story in The New York Times. The passengers on the bus were returning to New York’s Chinatown after a night of gambling in a Connecticut casino.

MyPhillyLawyer recently settled a bus accident case for $175,000 for a client who was seriously injured when a school bus driver crashed into her car as the bus made a left turn. Upon investigation by MyPhillyLawyer, the bus driver had failed some of his training by the bus company but was still out on the roads.

In another case involving a SEPTA bus in Philadelphia, an elderly man was killed when he was thrown on his head as he stood riding inside a bus that stopped quickly as it tried to avoid a crash with another vehicle.

So what do you do if you are in an accident as a passenger on a bus or if your vehicle is struck by a bus? How can people protect their rights?

One thing that depends is what the laws are in the state where the accident occurs, said Chhabra, an attorney with the Annapolis, Md., law firm of Cochran, Cochran & Chhabra.  Laws for such cases are different in Pennsylvania and Maryland, he said.

“A lot of buses in Maryland are state-owned or owned by local governments,” which subjects such cases to special rules regarding lawsuits, he said. “There’s a notice requirement that has to be given to the state” to notify the government if you are intending to sue after an incident involving a vehicle operated by the state. “The regular statute of limitations [of three years] doesn’t apply.”

The notice requirements are very stringent, he said, and can be as short as six months. A plaintiff injured in a crash with a state-operated vehicle still has a three year statute of limitations in which to file a lawsuit, but the notice requirement means you also have to inform the state that a lawsuit will be filed or you lose your ability to sue, Chhabra explained.

Chhabra earned his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore and earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston University.

Be sure to tune in for Court Radio at 7 a.m. Sunday to hear more about bus accidents and your rights with co-hosts Dean Weitzman and David Rapoport and their guest, Mandeep Singh Chhabra. And remember to call in with your own questions and comments.

About Court Radio

Listeners can call in with their legal questions to 800-539-1479 or they can email their questions to AskDean@CourtRadio.com. Participants are asked to only ask or submit ONE question each time so that all callers have a chance to discuss the legal topics that are on their minds.

Court Radio is the place to ask your legal questions and get real answers from lawyers with a deep background in the law, from personal injury to contracts and estates, insurance and much more.

Most weeks, Dean brings in a special guest to answer your legal questions and provide information on a dizzying array of legal topics, all with humor, good advice and at no charge to callers. You can even listen to past shows and their featured guests by downloading or listening to stored podcasts.

A production of WRNB-FM radio in Philadelphia, Court Radio is brought to you each week by the law offices of Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., which is known throughout the Philadelphia area as MyPhillyLawyer.

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