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Coach BusSummer activities are in full swing.  Summer Camps are operating throughout Long Island and New York City. Travel sports leagues are running and taking kids all over the tri-state area.  Organizations like the Boy Scouts have camping trips upstate and across the region.  We take for granted that the used coach buses and school buses are well maintained. It is essential to know that the owners are following the local, state, and federal laws that apply to the safety of these vehicles.

Marc S. Albert Has the Experience You Expect from your Attorney

Due to the number of people that these buses carry, the safety regulations on the coaches and the drivers are quite strict. Any accident that occurs will involve a lot of people and potentially a high number of accidents and even fatalities.  In 2005, a Coach Canada bus from Windsor, Ontario was transporting 19 players, coaches and family members of the Windsor Wildcats. The Under-21 female Canadian hockey team boarded a Coach Canada bus in Windsor, Ontario for a trip that would take them into Rochester, New York for a hockey tournament. The events that would follow later that day would go down as one of the most memorable and tragic bus accidents in New York State history.

Coach Canada assigned new, 24-year-old Ryan Comfort, who had virtually no bus driving experience and minimal training to the charter trip. Comfort had slept a total of two hours in the 24 hours leading up to the crash. As he proceeded South on route 390, he lost control of the bus, and it barreled off of the roadway directly into an illegally parked 70-foot tractor-trailer on the shoulder. By all indications, Comfort had fallen asleep at the wheel. The tremendous impact between the vehicles sheered the bus in half and killed three passengers on the bus, team coach Rick Edwards, his 13-year-old son Brian Edwards and one of the player’s mothers, Cathy Roach. The tractor-trailer driver, Ernest Zeiset, and other bus passengers were also seriously injured.

Marc S. Albert represented ten (10) of the victims of the accident, including the Edwards family that lost husband/ father Rick and his 13-year-old son Brian in the crash.

Bus Accidents Tend to Include Multiple Injuries or Fatalities

As recently as March of 2019, a charter bus ran off the road in Virginia with 56 people on board.  Two people were killed in the crash. The remainder of the 54 survivors were all hospitalized with injuries, some life-threatening.  In this case, the driver was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Investigations Find Details and Get to the Truth

Due to the many layers of laws that are involved with bus safety, including international laws as in the 2005 case, there is often a question of who has jurisdiction and what laws are to be applied.  In the Canada Coach case, an argument had been made that Canadian law should have applied instead of New York State law.  The major difference between the two laws is that in Canada, the compensation that a jury may award to an injured plaintiff for pain and suffering as a result of an accident is capped. There is no cap in New York State.  Taking the issue to the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, Marc Albert successfully argued that his case should follow New York State law. Ultimately he was able to recover significantly higher damages ($36M in total) than he would have under the Canadian system.

When there is a bus accident, there are investigations to make sure that the bus had been properly maintained.  Investigators will be able to see if the company had properly registered the vehicles and the drivers. They check the history of the bus including maintenance and any repairs that had been made. Investigators will even check the bus to be able to see if the documented work had actually been done.  Investigators will also check the driver to make sure that they followed the laws regarding the number of hours of sleep and work.

Bus Driver Negligence

Many times the cause of a bus accident has more to do with the driver than the equipment.

  • Fatigued Driving – As with truck drivers, bus drivers are only able to drive for a certain number of hours.  Drivers are mandated for a certain amount of hours of rest before being able to drive again.  The Canada Coach driver had been shown only to have had 2 hours of sleep in the previous 24 hours.
  • Reckless or Drunk Driving – In 2017, a coach bus crashed into an NYC MTA bus killing three people and injuring 16 more.  Witnesses of the crash say that the coach bus was speeding and had run through a red light just before the crash.  The driver of the coach bus, in that case, had been fired from the MTA due to be being charged with a DUI.
  • Distracted Driving – drivers of coach buses are as prone as anyone to distractions.  Cell phone usage, programming a GPS, even eating while driving are issues that have been noted in accidents regarding buses.

Call The Law Offices of Marc S. Albert

When it comes to laws involving buses, there is a lot to consider.  Local, State, and Federal regulations can be confusing.  Marc Albert has been involved in significant cases involving buses and knows the laws involved.  Marc Albert is also a veteran attorney with a hugely successful track record of victories both inside the courtroom and out.  If you are involved in an accident where the laws seem to be overwhelming and even bringing a case seems like a daunting task, call Marc Albert.

Marc personally handles all of his cases and will walk you through the whole process.  Marc will take care of everything related to your case as it progresses.  You have to focus on your health and well-being, or that of your loved one who was involved in the accident.  With claims that involve a fatality, you already have so much to deal with.  Marc Albert will take care of the legal matters.

Call our office at 855-252-3788 for a free consultation.