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After not guilty verdict, Bronx bus driver faces civil lawsuits

The driver of the bus that was involved in a bus accident in the Bronx that occurred in March of 2011 and killed 15 people was recently tried for manslaughter, as we discussed last week. Although the bus driver was found not guilty, he still says he has to live with the memories from the tragic accident.

Now, however, he and the bus company -- which no longer exists -- will face civil lawsuits from the victims and their families for their alleged roles in the crash. Even when a driver is found not guilty in a criminal trial, victims of an accident can still seek justice through a personal injury or wrongful death claim.

In March 2011, the World Wide Tours bus was returning from a trip in Connecticut when it fell on its side and slid through a pole. The crash killed 15 and left others with injuries they may never fully recover from.

The bus driver states that only moments before the crash he was looking forward to going home to his wife. While investigators claim that the driver fell asleep at the wheel, the bus driver has a different story. According to the driver, a tractor-trailer cut him off causing the bus to flip onto its side. At that time, the driver claims that he slammed on his brakes, but investigators can find no evidence that the brakes were used.

While the driver was found not guilty in criminal court, his legal battles are far from over. Both the bus company and driver now face many civil lawsuits that are grouped together into one Brooklyn case. According to sources, the case has the potential to yield $5 million for the victims of the bus accident.

While the bus driver clearly feels guilt and remorse over the accident, that does little to wipe the slate clean for the victims and the families who lost loved ones that day. Employees of public transit companies have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their passengers. When passengers are not safely transported, those injured and the families of those killed have the right to seek compensation. It will be interesting to see how this case is handled in civil court.

Source: New York Daily News, "Ophedell Williams, driver in horrific Bronx bus crash: 'I'm not a monster'," Daniel Beekman and Ginger Adams Otis, Dec. 10, 2012

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The streets are full of careless and irresponsible drivers who have no compassion for pedestrians. We walk the streets with caution as we are not exempt from suffering a tragic accident.

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    • Q: I've been injured — now what? A: First, see an experienced doctor. Your injuries should be taken care of before you even consider making a claim against someone for causing them. Make sure you are receiving top-quality health care. Keep all information from medical visits — good records of your injury and your treatments are vital for your case if you decide to pursue legal action. Then, call us to schedule your free consultation.
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