Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) April 28, 2014
As has been widely reported, on April 10, 2014 a bus full of potential college freshman bound for Humboldt State University in Northern California collided with a FedEx tractor trailer north of Sacramento. The April 11, 2014 Sacramento Bee article "Friends, family mourn victims of I-5 bus crash" by Sam Stanton, Kim Minugh, Richard Chang and Darrell Smith, reports that at least 9 people were killed almost immediately during the crash. Another victim succumbed to injuries after being taken to an area hospital. In addition to five aspiring students from the Los Angeles area, at least one recruiter from the college, two chaperones, the truck driver and the bus driver lost their lives. Humboldt State University's information page regarding the accident confirms that more than 30 other people were injured in the crash.
Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney John Nojima of Lederer & Nojima says, "In the aftermath of these terrible tragedies, the focus is on assisting injured victims with their physical recovery and supporting families and friends who may be overcome with grief. But after these priorities are addressed, questions must be answered. If negligence or criminal behavior led to the catastrophe, the truth must be determined."
Based upon his vast experience with complex personal injury and wrongful death litigation, Nojima says, "These types of cases can be extremely complex because there are multiple victims, the evidence is severely damaged, commercial vehicles were involved and the crash occurred on a publicly maintained road. Private corporations, governmental bodies and the educational institutions involved may all bear some responsibility. There are also issues of liability related to the bus manufacturer, the competence of the drivers, the vetting of the charter company...the list just goes on and on for why bus accident investigations and litigation require extremely diligent attorneys who have appropriate resources." He also adds that when there are many stakeholders in such a case, the plaintiff's attorneys must be able to effectively negotiate with numerous agencies and representatives.
Multiple parties may be investigating the crash, Nojima says; the California Highway Patrol, the National Transportation and Safety Board, FedEx and its insurers, the bus company and its insurers, the California State University, plaintiff advocates and other stakeholders may want to perform their own analysis. Sifting through evidence, interviewing witnesses, analyzing road conditions and "determining fair compensation for victims may take a considerable amount of time, but it must be done as expeditiously as possible," Nojima says. "To get fair and timely compensation for victims, thorough analysis and aggressive negotiations are vital. Furthermore, by determining exactly what happened in this crash, future bus crashes like this may be prevented."
Nojima also suggests that this crash may lead to change at the highest levels. "State and federal authorities may be forced to reconsider safety requirements for busses. Right now, busses are not required to have a fire suppression system. Passengers are not required to wear seatbelts. Whether or not these may have made a difference in this crash remains to be seen. But these are just examples of topics that should be discussed in the wake of this terrible tragedy."
Despite massive amounts of bureaucracy and the potential for combative negotiations and jury trial, Nojima says that "victims and their families should know that there are attorneys with the resources and skill to fight for justice and fair compensation on their behalf. The scope of this case may seem overwhelming and the legal intricacies may seem daunting, but there is help available no matter how tragic or complex the case may seem."