Philly Charter Bus Crash Poses Questions About Out of State Lawsuits
On May 15th, 2017, 29 people were injured in a bus crash on I-95 during a field trip to Washington, D.C. The 8th grade students of Philadelphia’s C.W. Henry School were traveling southbound on a Werner Coach charter bus when another driver in a blue Honda crossed lanes in front of the bus, clipping the front of the bus. The bus was forced off the road surface, crashed into an embankment and a tree, and landed on its side. It may have tumbled and overturned multiple times.
Two of the occupants, a student and a teacher, were airlifted by Medevac for emergency treatment. Fortunately, no one was killed in the accident, but some of the injuries were quite serious. When you’re injured in an accident, especially if it occurs out of state, getting the compensation you need and managing the interstate injury case can be a hassle. The experienced personal injury attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm can help you figure out what to do – and where to do it – if you experience a similar incident.
Where is an Accident on an Interstate Highway Handled?
When you are the victim of a car accident or a truck accident on an interstate highway, it can be confusing to determine where exactly the accident occurred. This determination is essential because considerations regarding proper forum and venue –factors that determine the proper court fort the action — must be made before the lawsuit is filed. Unfortunately, the scene following an accident can be chaotic and you may not immediately understand the exact facts or the full impact of the accident. It is highly recommended that you take your case to an attorney to make sure your case is properly managed from the outset
It is essential to keep in mind that the place where the lawsuit is filed will have multiple effects on your case. Perhaps the most important consideration is that the laws of different states might mean different legal outcomes. That is, even the rules regarding the admissibility of evidence can change from state to state and have a potentially large impact on your case. Furthermore, practical considerations regarding the ease and convenience of handling the case are always important. For instance, if you must file a case in a state far away from home, you might have difficulty getting to and from court, making the process harder for you and your family.
Therefore, one of the goals of a personal injury attorney is to weigh the factors, circumstances, and law to help you file your lawsuit in an appropriate court where your likelihood of success is not adversely impacted. You can typically file a lawsuit in any state where the parties are essentially “at home.” For the students in this bus crash, that would likely be Pennsylvania – their home state. The bus company, Werner Coach, is a Philadelphia company, meaning it would also be “at home” for a lawsuit filed in a Pennsylvania court. Additional considerations should be made regarding the proper county in which the lawsuit would be.
On the other hand, the driver of the Honda is not a Pennsylvania resident because he is reportedly from College Park, Maryland. Therefore, this driver may attempt to challenge a lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania state courts. The driver of the Civic may attempt a motion for a change of venue or forum to federal court on diversity grounds or to Maryland state court based on the state’s nexus to the accident. Learning the facts of the case, assessing them under relevant law, and making legal arguments in your best interests are just some of the ways a personal injury lawyer can fight for you.
How Can I Get Compensation for a Bus Accident?
Buses and other transportation companies often have top-tier insurance policies that are able to fully cover the injuries of passengers. Since this accident appears to have been caused by the at-fault driver in the blue Honda, under Maryland and Pennsylvania rules, his insurance could ultimately cover the injuries.
However, the insurance policy for the driver of the blue Honda may not carry enough coverage to provide compensation for every injury in the accident. If this is the case, the bus company’s insurance might be able to cover the rest of the injuries. Moreover, the bus company or injured parties may have purchased an insurance policy or supplemental insurance coverage for “uninsured or underinsured motorist” (UI/UIM) coverage. When the driver who caused the accident has no insurance or too little insurance to pay for the injuries, the victim’s UIM/UM insurance can usually cover additional costs above the at-fault driver’s policy maximums. However, insurance companies may also try and disclaim UM/UIM claims.
Philadelphia Bus Accident Lawyers
The attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm help victims who are injured in car accidents, truck accidents, and bus accidents throughout the greater Philadelphia area. Depending on the circumstances, our lawyers may be able to handle serious commercial vehicle accident and other accidents in states beyond Pennsylvania. Call today for a free consultation on your injury case at (215) 709-6940.