A fatal accident involving a double-decker Megabus out of New York City occurred on the NJ Turnpike in Middlesex County on August 8, 2022. The crash happened around 6:53 PM near the Thomas Edison Service Area entrance ramp in Woodbridge, NJ. The bus, carrying 22 passengers, lost control and struck a Ford F-150 pickup, landing on its side. Riders had no choice but to climb out windows and roof hatches to escape, while firefighters had to use the jaws of life to help those trapped inside. The bus driver, along with three others, was seriously injured.
In contrast, many others sustained minor injuries and were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Raritan Bay Medical Center, and Staten Island University Hospital. One woman, Sheryl Johnson of the Bronx, NY, was pronounced dead at the scene, while another woman, Cecilia Kiyanitza of Woodbury, NJ, died after being airlifted to a local hospital. According to state police, the cause of the accident remains under investigation.
A report from News 12 NJ claims that Megabus has a decent safety record from the two previous years and does not have any widespread issues. The subsidiary of Megabus that covers this part of the country, Megabus Northeast, LLC, also supposedly has a good safety record, with no fatal accidents and only two prior accidents involving injury over the last two years. Although admirable, if the Megabus driver is careless or negligent, their track record is irrelevant and not admissible in Court as a defense.
Where Does That Leave the Bus Crash Injured Passengers?
The answer is that a bus, especially a Megabus, is known as a “common carrier” when it travels in New Jersey. Under the law, a common carrier has the highest duty of care to provide for the safety of their passengers. If a common carrier fails to meet this standard of care, they can be responsible for all an injured person’s “damages,” which include:
- Out-of-pocket medical bills, such as hospital, physician, and therapy bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages and income opportunities
- Past, present, and future pain and suffering, which is an unlimited amount
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Emotional and psychological injuries
- Possible punitive damages
Who Can Be Held Liable For A Bus Accident?
Bus accident cases can be complicated because often, the bus operator tries to blame the cause of the bus wreck on another driver. That is where accident reconstruction experts come into the picture. Since there were deaths involved, the county prosecutor’s office dispatched the fatal accident unit to the collision scene. They take measurements of skids with lasers and examine tangible evidence such as property damage. They often impound the vehicle to examine it for mechanical defects and its “black box,” similar to a crashed aircraft. There may be a dash cam preserving the actual collision.
The driver, if medically able, is interviewed for a statement and is subjected to a blood test for legal and illegal drugs and medications. The investigation usually lasts months until the final report is issued. In the interim, private attorneys representing the injured or fatalities should retain accident reconstruction experts because a private expert witness will be required to give an opinion on the cause of the crash. Often, the official police report, although thorough, does not come to a clear conclusion.
What Should A Family Do After Losing a Loved One in a Fatal Bus Crash?
The best legal advice to people injured in a bus accident is to hire a personal injury lawyer with experience handling injury and wrongful death bus accident cases. These lawyers understand that the negligence may have occurred in the hiring, training, and supervising of a negligent bus driver.
Losing a life in any accident is tragic, and loved ones are never fully prepared for the wave of grief and anguish. However, some family members find solace in filing a wrongful death claim against those responsible for their pain. The bus and trucking accident attorneys at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. have decades of experience filing wrongful death and injury claims on behalf of heartbroken families.
A wrongful death claim comprises several parts, including pain and suffering that the deceased endured up until death. Whether the suffering occurred within seconds is included in the lawsuit. The second part of the claim deals with the amount of money lost by the decedent’s surviving family members, including economic losses. To prove these future losses, skilled attorneys often hire economists who can testify about the future financial loss to the deceased’s family.
Contact Our Bus Accident and Wrongful Death Lawyers To Get the Compensation You Deserve
Our attorneys, many of whom are Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as Civil Trial Attorneys with a proven track record of winning millions of dollars for bus accident victims, understand the significance of a crash like this. Contact our bus accident and wrongful death trial lawyers today at 201-444-4444.
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Since 1981, the compassionate personal injury lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon have been delivering results for our deserving clients. We are solely committed to helping injured individuals, never representing corporations. No matter how large or small your personal injury case is, you can trust that it is important to us.