Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

seattle bus accident lawyerTwo people were killed and one person was seriously injured last night when a Sound Transit bus apparently had some type of mechanical failure, went through a red light and struck an SUV in a Kirkland intersection around 9:33pm.

The accident occurred as the bus exited Interstate 405 at Totem Lake in Kirkland. The bus was exiting onto 128th Street when it struck a Ford Escape SUV driven by Kendall L. Rotta.

The bus driver showed no sign of intoxication and he said the bus experienced a brake failure which prohibited him from stopping.

Killed in the accident were Robert H. Rotta, 76, who died at the accident scene and Elizabeth E. Rotta, 75, who died at Harborview Medical Center.

The driver of the SUV, Kendall L. Rotta, 51, was taken to Harborview with serious injuries.

There were 35 passengers on the bus at the time of the accident and an unspecified number suffered minor injuries.

The Washington State Patrol, in a media release, is asking witnesses to the accident or events leading up to it to contact  Detective Sergeant Jerry Cooper at (360) 805-1192 or Detective Ben McBride at (360) 805-1195.

An investigation into the metro bus accident will certainly look at maintenance records to determine if mechanical failure was a factor in this tragic motor vehicle accident.
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Several lawsuits have been filed by victims of the December 2012 tour bus accident in Oregon which claimed nine lives and injured up to 39 people.

Many of the injured suffered horrific injuries as well as the horror of witnessing the death of their friends.

Named in the lawsuits was the operator of the bus, Mi Joo Tour & Travel and the bus driver, Haeng-Kyu Hwang.

Victims of the crash allege that the bus driver exceeded the maximum hours of service allowed by Federal Law. They said that the Hwang drove up to 12 hours or more a day on the nine day tour. Federal law places a limit of 70 hours of driving per week. Victims also allege that Hwang ignored signs warning motorists of dangerous road conditions on a section of the Oregon road referred to as “Deadman Pass” and drove to fast for the icy conditions.

The U.S. Department of Transportation regulates the maximum driving time for passenger-carrying vehicles. The tour that Hwang was driving was a nine-day tour of Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona and Idaho. Hwang was the only driver on the tour and he was forced to drive between 10 and 10 hours each day to make the tour itinerary.
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Our Seattle bus accident lawyer recently learned that the Seattle Police department is investigating a pedestrian accident in which a 40-year-old woman was struck by a King County Metro bus on the 14300 block of Lake City Way Northeast in Seattle.

The bus accident occurred around 4:25pm and the woman was transported to Harborview Medical Center. Harborview is a Level III trauma hospital which serves the entire Pacific Northwest.

Police are investigating the cause of the pedestrian accident. We hope that the woman’s injuries are not too serious but it appears as if the woman was thrown up onto the passenger window of the bus.

Bus accidents are serious events for the entire community. Although accidents do occur, it is extremely important for an investigation to determine the cause of the accident to determine if it was operator area, the pedestrian made a bad decision or a combination of the two. Although King County Metro has an exemplary safety rating, so far in 2012, there have been more than 200 accidents involving Metro buses.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in Seattle bus accidents and the family of those who have died.
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Now that school is back in session it is important that parents and teachers teach children school bus safety to prevent accidents when getting on and off of the school bus.

Children need to be taught that school busses have blind spots in a ten foot radius all around the bus and while they can see the bus, the bus drive may not be able to see them. It is important that children be safe when getting on and off the school bus because this is the time when they are at risk of being run over.

seattle bus accident attorney

  • Arrive to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
  • Wait for the bus on the same side of the street as the school bus door.
  • Stand six feet, or three giant steps, back from the curb.
  • Use handrails when entering and exiting the bus.
  • Make sure that the student has no drawstrings or loose straps on jackets or backpacks that could get caught on the bus.
  • Upon getting off of the bus, the student should take five giant steps away from the bus.
  • If the child has to cross the street in front of the school bus, they should walk at least five feet in front of the bus and make eye contact with the bus driver.
  • If the child drops something while getting off of the bus, they should not stoop to pick it up.

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A Milton middle student’s quick action averted a bus accident when he took control of a the bus after the bus driver stopped breathing. The student took the wheel from the bus driver and brought the bus safely to a stop and removed the ignition keys.

The bus incident occurred in the 1900 block of Milton Way around 8am as the bus driver was driving the students to Surprise Lake Middle School in the Fire School District.

A school district employee started CPR on the bus driver who was then taken to Federal Way’s St. Francis Hospital. His condition is unknown.

School Bus Driver Requirements
School bus drivers are highly trained professionals and they are required to complete a two-week training course prior to employment and then participate in an in-service training annually. They are required to have a medical certificate and undergo a medical examination every 24 months. Bus drivers also go through a criminal background check.

While hundreds of thousands of school children travel on school buses every year, school bus accidents do occur. Approximately 19 children are killed and 12,000 children are injured in school bus accidents annually.
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A Colorado jury has awarded the estate of Eric Coleman, who was struck and killed while riding his motorcycle when a Principal Wellness Co. turned in front of him, a $4.5 wrongful death award.

Coleman, who was 44 at the time, was riding his motorcycle with his wife, Leola, as a passenger, when a 15-passenger van driven by Kristal Ehle, crossed a double yellow line and into Coleman’s path. Unable to avoid an accident, Coleman struck the side of the van and was killed.

Coleman’s mother filed suit against Ehle and Principal Wellness Co. on behalf of her son’s estate. Wrongful death statutes allow the family of a deceased person to sue if someone’s negligent or criminal act caused the death of their loved one.

Respondeat superior/Vicarious Liability

The suit was brought against Principal Wellness under the doctrine respondeat superior. Respondeat superior “let the master answer” is a legal doctrine that holds an employer responsible for the negligent actions of employees if they were performed in the course of their employment.

The lawsuit claimed that Principal Wellness was negligent in hiring training, supervising and entrusting Ehle with the company’s van. The plaintiff claimed that Principal Wellness failed to properly screen Ehle for employment. Had they screened her for her past driving record, they would have found that she had four previous moving violations including two for speeding, one for failing to stop for a school bus and one for being involved in an accident. In addition, she was cited once for speeding while driving a Principal Wellness van.

The plaintiff also claimed that Ehle was not properly trained in driving a 15-passenger van. 15 passenger vans are larger than most passenger vehicles and can be a challenge for inexperienced driver around corners, backing up and performing other maneuvers.
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washington school bus accident lawyerOne child was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia after a school bus accident in downtown Olympia around 2pm today reports The Olympian. The injured student was under observation after a head injury.

According to the report, the Tumwater School District school bus collided with a Nissan Maxima at the intersection of State Avenue and Adams street. The school bus was taking students to Simmons Elementary School in Tumwater after a field trip to the Capitol. Both drivers claimed to have a green light.

The Olympia Police department is asking witnesses of the accident to contact officer Cori Schumacher at 360-753-8300.

Local authorities usually are the ones to investigate school bus accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which oversees school bus safety, usually only investigates school bus accidents with fatalities.
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This time of year, school groups, church groups, and colleges use 15-passenger vans to carry passengers to field trips, camping trips, retreats, trips to the airport and sight seeing. Group trips by passenger van can be very enjoyable and an economical way for groups to travel. However, special attention needs to be paid to safety because 15-passenger vans are sensitive to loading. When overloaded and with inexperienced drivers at the wheel, 15-passenger vans may be at higher risk for rollover accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides some safety tips for those driving and responsible for 15-passenger vans.

Tire Pressure

15-passenger-van accident lawyerIt is important to ensure that tire pressure on both front and back tires be at manufacture recommended levels. Tire inflation should be checked before each and every trip and tires that are 10 years and older should be replaced.

Driver Training

Drivers of 15-passenger vans should be experienced drivers with valid driver’s license. Drivers should be well rested before driving. Many institutions have driver training for vans since 15-passenger vans are longer and wider than passenger cars and drivers must rely on side mirrors for changing lines.

Drivers should have some behind-the-wheel experience because the heavier vans require additional braking time and they do not respond to steering as other vehicles do.


Passengers should be sure to buckle-up for every trip. Passengers should also avoid distracting behaviors which could take the driver’s mind off of the road.


15-passenger vans should not be overloaded because overloading can make the van unstable.

Vehicle Maintenance

Owners of 15-passenger vans should make sure the vans are well-maintained and insure that the suspension and steering components are inspected at the manufacturer’s schedule.
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A jury has awarded Ashely Zauflik $14M for injuries she sustained in 2007 when she was hit by a school bus and dragged under it.

Zauflik was 17-years-old and a high school junior and awaiting the school bus along with a crowd of other students when the school bus driver mistook the gas pedal for the brake, jumped the curb and ploughed into the students, dragging Zauflik nearly a quarter of a mile.

seattle bus accident attorneyZauflik was the most critically injured of all of the students. She suffered crush injuries to her left leg and doctors had to amputate her leg above the knee. She also suffered other fractures and injuries to extremities and injuries to her internal organs. Doctor’s put her into a medically induced coma for a month after the accident.

Zauflik’s recovery has not been an easy one and she is currently in a wheel chair or uses crutches because she has not been able to afford a high-tech prosthesis which costs upwards of $65,000.

The $14M jury award consisted of $3M for past and future medical expenses and $11.M in non-economic damages including the disfiguring injury and for pain and suffering.

The school district conceded that the driver was at error in the pedestrian accident after a National Transportation Safety Board review of the accident found that the brakes were not properly adjusted.

Problem with the School Bus Pedals

Prior to the negligence trial, Zauflik reached a confidential settlement with four separate companies who responsible for the manufacture and design of the school bus and it’s braking system. It appears that the design of this bus has the pedals too close together which may have been a factor in this bus v. pedestrian accident.
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Students on a New Jersey school bus knew their bus driver wasn’t right so they called their parents from their cell phones. They told their parents that their school bus driver was falling asleep and weaving in traffic.

Parents called the authorities at Westampton Middle School who called police. Police arrested Carole Crockett, 46, on suspicion of driving under the influence as well of other charges including endangering children’s welfare. When they tested her, her blood alcohol level was at .25% which is almost three times the legal limit of .08%.

This is not the first time we have seen cases where a school bus driver was drunk with children on board. In March of this year, Betty Burden, an Orange County school bus driver, pled guilty to driving under the influence with 45 students on board her bus. In this case, Burden escaped prison but she was sentenced to 480 hours of community service and 2-1/2 years probation.

Bus drivers should meet a higher standard than other drivers and should exercise diligence to protect the lives of their passengers. If passengers are injured due to the negligent action of a bus driver, they can file suit asking for compensation for their damages including medical costs and for pain and suffering.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in bus accidents and motor vehicle accidents due to the negligence of another.

N.J. school bus driver Carole Crockett charged with drunk driving, endangering students,
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Passengers and families receive $3.25 million settlement in bus accident that killed 2

Kentucky rollover school bus accident claims life of first grader

NY tour bus driver was drunk driving prior to fatal pedestrian accident
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