Pennsylvania – January 11, 2021

A Port Authority bus driver was placed on a three year probation for involuntary manslaughter after causing the fatal injury of a University of Pittsburgh student.  The driver struck the student who was walking in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, and pleaded guilty to recklessly endangering another person.  The statute of limitations for cases against government entities is often shorter than individual state time limitations, making it important for bus accident victims to seek legal counsel in a timely manner.

Fatal crashes.

The number of buses involved in fatal crashes decreased by 1% from 234 to 232 in 2017. When individuals think of the hundreds of buses traveling across United States roadways every day, these percentages do not seem as high as one would imagine, but the size of a bus impacts catastrophic outcomes when a bus is involved in an accident, especially when a pedestrian is hit. Legal counsel will utilize expert testimony by accident scene re-constructionists, financial professionals, and medical professionals who can convey the need for higher awards based on wrongful death losses to surviving family members and loved ones.

Duty of care.

Legal responsibility for common carriers mandates a higher level of care because of paid  services to the public.  Non-commercial drivers are required to operate vehicles with reasonable care, but a common carrier must utilize  a higher degree of care to ensure the safety of passengers, and the public they serve.  When bus drivers, or companies do not observe the higher duty, it can be considered an act of negligence when injury, or property damage occurs.  A personal injury attorney will be able to outline the special rules that apply when a passenger is injured as a result of a bus accident.

Wrongful death damages.

Personal injury claims resulting in death arising out of motor vehicle accidents usually highlight unexpected, and long term expenses that are incurred as a result of the loss caused by the accident.  These expenses may include medical treatment up to the time of death, lost wages for future earning capacity, loss of consortium, counseling for emotional distress, funeral, and burial expenses.

Pennsylvania insurance.

An accident attorney can explain Pennsylvania’s  “modified comparative negligence” rule, where an individual can still recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit, but the amount of compensation will be reduced by an amount that is equal to their percentage of fault, but a plaintiff can only seek damages from the defendant if they are less than 51 percent at fault. The state also has a “no-fault” component where victims can access payment from their own insurance companies to cover certain expenses related to the accident.  According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), if a bus carries over 15 passengers, the bus must carry at least $5,000,000 in liability insurance coverage. Buses carrying fewer than 15 passengers must carry at least $1,500,000 in insurance coverage. While these amounts are considered to be the minimum limits, it is rare that buses will carry more than $5,000,000 in insurance.

Hire legal counsel.

Experienced accident lawyers can fight for damage recovery for families suffering wrongful death loss. The laws and regulations related to motor vehicle accidents can be difficult to understand without the assistance of Scanlon & Wojton Attorneys at Law,  who can assist victims of personal loss resulting from pedestrian fatality after a bus accident in Pennsylvania.

Scanlon & Wojton, Attorneys at Law

Phone:  (412) 918-1241

Fax: (412) 235-7275

The Mitchell Building
304 Ross Street, Suite 510
Pittsburgh, Pa 15219

Sources:

https://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/00.071.002.000..HTM

https://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/00.085.053.000..HTM

https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/school-bus-safety

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/safety/data-and-statistics/413361/fmcsa-pocket-guide-2018-final-508-compliant-1.pdf

https://apnews.com/article/pittsburgh-accidents-0b91f598b0444b51c0d30fb594761be4