Los Angeles Bus Accident Case Review

In this blog, we will review an actual case that attorney Scott J. Corwin settled on behalf of an injured bus accident injury victim.* Note that although the accident took place outside of California, Scott was retained to fight for the rights of the seriously injured Los Angeles resident.

A Bus Crashes Due to Driver Inattention

A 46-year-old construction worker (for purposes of this post, we will call him Bob) took a bus trip to visit a friend in Ontario, Canada—a lengthy trip that began in Dover, Delaware. The trip was going as planned until 4:00am, when the driver fell asleep while the bus was in the process of making a turn.

The bus left the roadway and rolled down an embankment, flipping over twice before finally coming to rest upside-down. Of the 53 passengers on that bus, 40 sustained injuries. It could have been much worse, given the extent of the accident and wreckage, which was so severe that two counties had to send in their fire departments to get it under control.

Bob was one of the passengers who had to be extricated from the wreckage. He was then rushed from the scene by emergency life flight medical helicopter to the local medical center. His injuries were extensive, including traumatic brain injury and a neck injury for which future surgery would be required. He was hospitalized for nine days and transferred to an acute rehabilitation center for an additional 25 days.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has hours of service regulations intended to prevent exactly what occurred during this bus accident. It is important to note that while there was a second bus driver assigned to this long trip—a fairly standard practice, so that one driver can relieve the other during the long hours on the road—for some reason, the second driver failed to relieve the first. This despite later statements from several passengers that they noticed the primary driver was dozing off just prior to the accident. If his exhausted condition was obvious to the passengers, it certainly should have been to both the driver and the reserve driver, yet neither took appropriate action.

Consulting an Experience Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney

Bob retained Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation, to seek damages stemming from the accident. After consulting with Bob and medical experts and reviewing the hospital’s reports on the extent of Bob’s injuries, our attorney, Scott, realized that given Bob’s career was in construction, he would never be able to return to this line of work. Additionally, because of the TBI, Bob would likely require assistance with activities of daily living for the remainder of his life.

When presented with this information, the defendant accepted responsibility for the accident, yet still tried to find ways to get out of covering Bob’s injuries and damages.

Injury Claims and Counter-claims

Scott alleged on Bob’s behalf that the defendant was negligent in the operation of the bus, and that they acted with reckless disregard for the safety of the passengers, in that the second driver failed to relieve the first before he fell asleep behind the wheel after driving too long according to FMCSA regulations.

Although the defendant did not dispute what occurred, they tried to reduce their liability by arguing that the nature and extent of Bob’s claimed injuries, including his need for neck surgery down the line and that he had sustained a traumatic brain injury, were exaggerated. They further contended that if Bob had suffered any physical impairments, they were the result of an alleged “long history” of drug and alcohol abuse rather than stemming from the catastrophic bus accident, pointing to a blood test after the crash that showed Bob had cocaine in his system at the time of the accident. The defendant also disputed the extent of Bob’s lost earnings, claiming he had a sporadic work history and had been in and out of jail for alcohol and drug related offenses for a decade.

Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer After a Crash

Scott was undeterred by these counter-claims, which had no merit with regards to the injuries Bob had suffered. After all, he was not the one driving at the time of the bus accident.

Scott lined up expert witnesses, including a neurologist, neuropsychologist, neurosurgeon, and rehabilitation medical professionals. With their assistance, he developed a compelling case that Bob had sustained multiple neck fractures requiring cervical spinal fusion surgery along with a TBI. Scott then calculated a total claim amount based on Bob’s past and future medical bills, past and future loss of earnings, and additional care he would require for life.

Ultimately, like most strong accident lawsuits, the case was settled before going to court. Thanks to the compelling evidence Scott assembled, the case instead settled at mediation for $2,782,954. While Bob might sadly never be the same since he took that fateful bus trip, at least he would be able to receive the ongoing treatment he required, and enough money to pay his living expenses, given his inability to work again.

Don’t Wait—Call a Competent Car Accident Lawyer Today

Even after a seemingly cut-and-dried accident where one party is clearly responsible for an accident, you cannot assume they will do right by you. Don’t depend on the person or entity who injured you. Get help from an attorney with more than 30 years of experience to hold them accountable. Contact Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation, to determine everything you are due and then do what it takes to ensure you receive fair compensation.

*Disclaimer: Every case is individual. Past performance on one case is no guarantee of the same or similar results on another.

Contact our office today by calling (310) 683-2300 or filling out the online contact form to discuss the details of your case and learn more about how we can help you. We offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to reach out to someone from our team right away.