Tour Bus Crash in Western New York Impacts Washington DC Residents
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Jul 18, 2011 in Negligence
Unfortunately there was another terrible tour bus accident in New York this weekend that has killed and/or injured residents of the Washington, D.C. area. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those involved in the crash. The purpose of this blog post is to provide some preliminary information to the Washington, D.C. Victims of the bus crash that may be helpful. This does not create an attorney client relationship, though. If you are interested in hiring a car accident lawyer for the crash, call us at (888) 213-8140 or email me at KGoldberg@GoldbergFinnegan.com. Whether victims of the crash hire our firm or another firm, I strongly suggest that the victims and families of those killed hire a lawyer promptly for this kind of serious accident case.
The Bedore tour bus was carrying passengers from Washington, DC to the Niagara Falls area of New York. Two passengers were killed and 35 other Bedore passengers suffered injuries--news groups have reported that the passengers were mostly from India. The accident happened in Steuben County, NY on Interstate 390. While the cause of the crash is still under investigation, preliminary indications are that it was caused by either a tire blow out or by the tour bus driver falling asleep (a passenger has reported that the driver fell asleep.)
Our law firm has been actively involved in prosecuting and investigating the May 31 tour bus crash in Virginia. The tour bus industry is under intense scrutiny by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as there have been a huge uptick in fatal accidents on tour busses. Frankly, the tour bus industry needs to do a much better job of regulating itself, making sure that its busses are safe and properly inspected, and making sure that the drivers are not overworked and have adequate training and supervision. At first glance, it appears that the company that owned the tour bus, Bedore Tours (DOT # 16811) out of North Tonawanda, NY, has a satisfactory safety record (satisfactory as of 2/10), further investigation is necessary to confirm this.
To learn more about the safety record of Bedore Tours, you can look on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Website, or click here to see the relevant reports Bedore Tours FMCSA.pdf.
Although we do not know for sure, it seems that the bus crash was likely caused by driver inexperience, the driver falling asleep at the wheel, failure of Bedore to conduct proper safety inspections and maintenance of the bus.
Public Records indicate that the Bedore Tour Bus that crashed in New York had only $5,000,000.00 in insurance coverage to cover all claims relating to the crash. While $5 Million Dollars sounds like a lot of coverage, this is basically the minimal limits for this kind of tour bus, and unfortunately, may not be enough to properly compensate the Washington, D.C. District of Columbia individuals and families off of those injured and/or killed in the crash. The insurance policy probably also has Med-pay and/or PIP coverage that may cover up to a certain amount of medical bills and/or funeral expenses (often with this kind of insurance policy it is a low amount of Med-Pay coverage, likely $2,000.00-$5,000.00 per passenger).
The Washington, D.C. victims of the Bedore Tour Bus crash should notify their auto insurance carrier of the bus crash and talk to a lawyer about possibly making a claim for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in case the liability coverage on the bus/driver is not adequate to cover all losses. Also, the Washington, D.C. victims may have PIP coverage on their auto policies that may cover medical expenses but making a PIP claim in Washington, D.C. can be tricky, must be done within 60 days of the loss and you will possibly give up your right to pursue a liability claim. Victims should speak to a lawyer before making a PIP claim on any auto policy issued in the District of Columbia. For more information you can call a personal injury attorney from our law firm at (888) 213-8140.
Again our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those affected by this tragic accident. My advice is that anyone injured in the tour bus crash, and the families of those killed in the crash should hire a lawyer who can hold those responsible for the crash accountable and make sure that the victims are properly compensated. We are here to help and the consultation is free. (888) 213-8140.
Kevin I. Goldberg
Goldberg Finnegan, LLC