Miley Cyrus Tour Bus Crash Investigation Instructive for All Traffic Accidents | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

The Internet exploded late last week with news of a crash involving one of the tour buses for teen idol Miley Cyrus. Understandably, the lede in most stories about the crash was that the young singer and sitcom star was not in the bus when it ran off 1-85 near Dinwiddie, Virginia (VA), south of Richmond.

The sadder–and more important–information is that the driver of the rented Prevost luxury coach supplied by Roberts Brothers Coach died in the crash. A report in the Nov. 21 Richmond Times-Dispatch carried the speculation that 53-year-old William G. Douglas suffered a medical problem shortly before the dying in the crash that also resulted in an injury to lighting technician Marty Zilio.

In truth, the Virginia State Police immediately opened an investigation into the accident and have ruled out nothing, including temporary or not-immediately apparent dangerous road conditions, the involvement of other vehicles or mechanical problems with the motor coach. For instance, while news reports did not fully identify the make and model of the Prevost coach, some of those vehicles made in 1997 were recalled because of rear suspension problems. Crash investigators need to determine if this connection exists or rule this out as a possible cause of the accident.

Police, insurers and even drivers and passengers can never jump to conclusions about traffic accidents. This is especially true when a crash draws extensive media attention. Facts can often get buried under the avalanche of opinion, making it difficult or impossible to determine what really happened. Only when all the causes and consequences of an accident are known and documented can those involved see justice done.

If a driver is killed or suffers an extreme injury in a one-vehicle accident, the family can still talk to an experienced lawyer to see if a recovery for the loss can be had. Two examples of what may apply to help the driver or the driver’s spouse is a product liability case against the bus, van, or car’s maker or seller if thevehicle was made or designed defectively. Sometimes the main cause of a fatal crash may be the state roadway itself, as the way the highway was built or maintained could give rise to government or contractor responsibility for a dangerous curve or lack of safety features like signage.

These are complex and expensive claims to present, but they may make sense given the facts and the severity of the injuries to the person. The point is not to just take it for granted that others blame your loved one for an accident that may not be his or her fault.