Fatal Bus Crashes, Injuries Common on Casino-bound Tour Buses in Southern California
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Two tour buses, heading to and from California casinos, crashed Thursday afternoon in separate accidents on the Interstate 15 freeway resulting in one death and more than 40 injuries while calling into question the overall safety for bus passengers.
“Passengers not only put their trust in bus drivers, but in the companies that own and maintain these vehicles,” said Attorney West Seegmiller. “Also, federal safety inspectors have repeatedly failed consumers by allowing poorly maintained vehicles to stay on the road.”
Casino operators and others contracting bus companies, may be held accountable for the safety of passengers heading to their venues as they have a business relationship with various tour bus companies. These destinations frequently offer bus passengers and tour bus companies incentives when passengers are brought to them.
Indeed, fatal and injury crashes involving casino tour buses and other tour buses have been making news this year.
Fatal Yacaipa Bus Accident
One of the most egregious incidents took place in San Bernardino County this past February. A tour bus heading down Highway 38 from Big Bear Lake killed eight people and injured 30 others after its brakes failed and the driver plowed into two cars in Yacaipa. A recent report, released November 7, 2013, revealed that none of the brakes on the bus were in working order. Yet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which oversees inspection of tour buses, did not remove the vehicle from operation, the report said.
Additionally, Scapidas Magicas, the Tijuana-based tour bus company that owned the ill-fated bus, had a history of maintenance problems. The federal inspection agency knew this and permitted them and other US companies to continue operating and putting passengers and other motorists at risk.
Los Angeles Bus Accident
Passenger safety is also in the hands of various bus drivers who are often under pressure to meet deadlines. Just this past August, 52 passengers were injured on the 210 Freeway near Irwindale when the bus driver made an “unsafe lane change” and hit a passenger car before it overturned into a ditch. The bus was headed to the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino.
Temecula Bus Accident
In September, the driver of a casino-bound bus carrying 18 passengers told authorities his brakes failed just before he veered off the road in Temecula and crashed into some bushes and boulders injuring 10 people. The passengers, who were headed to Casino Pauma in San Diego County, suffered minor injuries and treated a local hospital.
Corona Bus Accident
Yesterday, about 2:30 p.m., a tour bus operated by privately-held Sina International in Walnut, California, left the Pala Casino and crashed on the 15 Freeway in Corona injuring 24 passengers and the driver. Initial reports indicated the driver was traveling at 65 mph, too fast for wet roadways. He struck the center divider and the vehicle overturned.
Fatal Pala Mesa Bus Accident
A second bus crash yesterday, also about 2:30 p.m., on the Interstate 15 Freeway killed one woman who was partially ejected through a window and injured 21 other passengers in Pala Mesa. The bus was on route to the Valley View Casino & Hotel in San Diego County when it overturned near State Route 76 on the rain-soaked road.
“Bus drivers have a duty to their passengers to maintain a safe speed based on road conditions,” said Seegmiller, whose law firm specializes in bus litigation. “They have a moral duty to protect these people, but often they are pressured to be on time by supervisors and casino operators who are motivated in turn by their bottom line.”
The bus, which originated in Panorama City I the San Fernando Valley, was operated by Five Star Bus Charter Inc. in Bell whose business was suspended by the California Franchise Tax Board on Nov. 28, 2013.
Passengers Hurt in Bus Accident File Lawsuit
Passengers who are injured in a bus accident have grounds to file a lawsuit against those responsible for their injuries including the bus company.
Those injured in a bus accidents may experience a range of injuries from minor cuts and bruises to broken bones, neck and back pain and brain and spinal cord injuries. Medical costs are significant and often those injured lose time off work causing serious financial hardship. The families of those passengers killed in a bus accident suffer a tremendous loss and may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one.
Here’s what you can do if you are hurt or have lost a loved one in a bus accident. To protect your legal rights it’s important to seek immediate medical attention and contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in bus accidents.
We have attorneys available to discuss your potential case at 1-855-275-9378. A legal consultation is free and our firm does not get paid unless we obtain a verdict or settlement for you.
(Copyright ©2013 The Seegmiller Law Firm. All Rights Reserved.)