Greyhound Lines Inc. has reached a $2.1 million settlement with the family of one of its passengers, who was killed in a 2010 bus crash on Highway 99 in Fresno. According to a news report in The Fresno Bee, the fatal accident occurred in the early morning hours of July 22, 2010 in the northbound lanes of the highway near McKinley Avenue in central Fresno. The Greyhound bus struck an overturned SUV on the freeway, careened down an embankment and crashed into a tree. Greyhound has already settled a number of lawsuits brought by passengers who were on that bus and has several others pending.
Lawsuits and Settlements
The most recent $2.1 million settlement involved a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Greyhound on behalf of the wide and children of passenger, 79-year-old Tomas Ponce, who died in the crash. Ponce’s wide, Sinforosa, was also among the 31 passengers on the bus. An attorney representing nine other passengers confirmed that Greyhound had reached settlements with his clients as well, but those involved undisclosed amounts.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs have said that the bus driver was driving too fast. Investigations showed that the bus did not brake before it hit the SUV. Many of the bus passengers were seriously injured. Several were thrown out of the bus. Attorneys say Greyhound has resisted taking responsibility for the crash instead playing the blame game, pointing fingers at the driver of the SUV, Caltrans and California Highway Patrol. Greyhound’s defense attorneys insisted that the crash was not caused by their driver’s negligence, but because of the driver of the SUV, who was under the influence when she crashed the vehicle.
Duty of Care
As a common carrier, Greyhound owes the highest duty of care to its passengers. However, in these settlements, the bus company is paying off passengers without admitting fault. A number of alarming facts came out during discovery in this case. For example, pre-trial information suggests that the bus driver was not only not wearing his glasses at the time, but had not had an eye exam since 2003. Bus drivers are required under the law to have eye exams once in two years. Also, the information shows that the driver was going at 80 mph, 15 mph over the speed limit on the highway.
Bus companies are required to offer fair settlements to injured passengers. However, as evident from this report, it is apparent that injured bus passengers and families of deceased victims face significant challenges when it comes to receiving fair compensation for their losses. An experienced California bus accident lawyer will help injured victims in such cases protect their legal rights and help them seek the compensation they rightfully deserve.