At about 1:30 a.m. last night, a Canadian tour bus and a tractor trailer collided and erupted in fire in the eastbound lanes of the New York State Thruway, in the Town of Junius, Seneca County, between exists 41 and 42. This is very close to where I live (Geneva) and work (Auburn). The tractor trailer driver was killed and about 35 of the 50 or so bus passengers were injured. Many of the victims were transported to area hospitals, including Geneva, Auburn and Newark-Wayne Hospitals, and some were brought to Rochester and Syracuse.
This tragedy comes on the heels of another deadly bus accident in Steuben County less than a week ago, which killed two and injured 35. That Steuben County accident appears to have been caused by a blown out tire. This most recent bus accident appears to have been caused by driver error.
Some folks might say that the Steuben County was no one’s fault — the tire just blew. Not so fast! From my experience as a New York bus accident lawyer, blown tires can be caused by, among other mistakes: (1) failure to inspect or change the tires on a regular basis; (2) placing improper tires on the bus; (3) a product defect for which the tire manufacturer can be held liable. Also, the driver may not have been trained to properly control the bus with a blown out tire, or may not have reacted properly.
As for this most recent Thruway truck-on-bus collision, it is almost inconceivable to a New York bus accident lawyer like me that no one was at fault. Except in the rarest of circumstances, when two vehicles collide, driver carelessness or error is the cause. It is not yet clear whether the tractor trailer or bus driver, or both, were at fault.
Our heart goes out to the victims and their families. If there is a silver lining, it is that, from my experience, both the bus and the tractor-trailer probably have $2 million or more in insurance coverage. And they’ll need it, too, because the victims, whose lives will be forever changed, will need to be compensated. And insurance companies don’t hand over money without a fight. The victims will need to hire an experienced New York bus accident lawyer to fight for their rights.
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Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer Michaels & Smolak, P.C.