A collision between a school bus and county work truck in Suffolk, Virginia (VA), sent all three people in the vehicles to hospitals with critical and serious injuries. The crash occurred at the intersection of Portsmouth Boulevard/U.S. 460 and Suburban Drive on the morning of May 15, 2015.
No children were aboard the Isle of Wight County school bus at the time of the wreck, but the female driver sustained life-threatening injuries. An adult bus aide also suffered injuries serious enough to require emergency transportation to a hospital.
The Isle of Wight County worker behind the wheel of the truck also nearly lost his life in the collision. Investigators could not immediately determine why the bus and truck ran into each other. Possibilities that need to be considered include failing to yield right of way while attempting to make a turn, crossing the center line of the highway and distracted driving. Speeding and impairment by drugs or alcohol cannot also not be ruled out immediately.
Whatever happened, and whichever driver bears responsibility for causing the crash and nearly killing three people, settling insurance claims may be complicated by the fact that both vehicles were owned by the government and operated by county employees or contractors. Even local governments enjoy broad protections from liability for accidents that leave individuals injured and dead. It is too early to know whether doctrines like sovereign immunity will apply and allow Isle of Wight to shift the burden of medical bills and recovery costs onto the victims, but it is not too early to know that the people hurt in this Suffolk crash probably need assistance from a skilled and experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer.
Sorting through the liability and insurance issues created by crashes involving buses and large trucks is always difficult. When those vehicles are government-owned and -operated, the difficulties for crash victims become magnified.