The Cayuga County Sheriff reports that yesterday afternoon a car crossed over into the oncoming lane of traffic and collided into a bus carrying disabled people on Route 34 in Fleming, New York (just a few miles south of the Central New York personal injury llaw office of Michaels & Smolak, P.C., on Route 34 in Auburn, New York). A 73-year-old female passenger was killed, and 15 others were taken to hospitals. The collision flipped the bus over onto its side, causing lots of injury to the passengers.
From my years of experience as a Central New York car accident lawyer handling head-on collision cases, I know that this type of car accident, more than t-bones, or rear-end collisions, is especially terrifying. The seconds before the collision seem like an eternity because you can SO see it coming! Perhaps the bus passengers here were lucky enough to have avoided this terrifying scene. But the impact also is usually horrific; twice as bad as with any other kind of automobile collision. That’s because the combined speed of the two vehicles hurling against each other doubles the force exerted against the vehicles, and the people inside them..
Another anomoly of cross-over collisions is that the vehicles don’t usually meet exactly at center point, but rather the left sides of the front of each vehicle tend to meet. And since the left side is where the drivers are located, this makes impact even worse for the drivers. Also, the off-center impact can cause a vehicle to spin or flip, which might explain why the bus flipped in this Flemming, New York accident.
I guess I should finally state the obvious: The driver who crosses over is at fault. Duh! The other driver has no fault, unless he had lots of time to react and avoid the collision and just did not (a very rare occurrence). Excuses that work for the cross-over driver in court are rare. For example, the driver that crossed over may claim he experienced unexpected icy conditions, or was forced to cross-over to avoid striking a pedestrian or to avoid some other danger, or that he was the victim of a sudden and unexpected failure in the steering of the car, or of a sudden seizure, stroke or other medical condition. But these defenses almost always fail.
Proving that the car driver was liable here won’t be tough. The tough issue will be insurance coverage. I can almost guaranty you there won’t be enough insurance money to go around! And the victim with the best, most aggressive, New York motor vehicle accident attorney has a better shot and taking what little insurance money there is!