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Catastrophic California accident a reminder of dangers of commercial carriers

New Jersey readers may have heard about the catastrophic accident out in California last week which resulted in the death of 10 people and the injury of others. The accident occurred when a FedEx truck, for unknown reasons, crossed over a median and crashed into a coach bus carrying numerous high school students who were set to visit a local university.

Following the accident, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are conducting an investigation into what exactly happened. Several issues that are sure to be addressed in the investigation are whether there was alcohol or driver fatigue at play, whether the FedEx truck had been properly maintained, and how bus safety can be improved. The latter has been a growing issue for federal regulators in recent years. 

The California crash should be concerning to all of us, because such an accident could occur anywhere. No doubt there will be litigation over the incident, with victims and families of victims seeking to obtain compensation for injuries and losses.

When an accident involving a commercial vehicle occurs, the issues involved in obtaining adequate compensation can be a little more specialized because of federal safety regulations governing commercial carriers. For example, a truck driver who fails to abide by hours-of-service rules and who causes a truck accident as a result has more liability on his shoulders than a normal motorist. It is important for plaintiffs in motor vehicles accidents to understand how to hold commercial carriers liable for their failures. Working with an experienced attorney in such cases is therefore important. 

Source: Insurance Journal, “U.S. Agencies Join Prove of Fatal California FedEx/Bus Crash,” Richard Clough, April 14, 2014. 

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