A horrific crash in York County left three people dead and more than 20 others suffering personal injuries. The deadly accident involved a party bus and a tractor-trailer. According to Virginia State Police, both speed and alcohol were factors in the fatal incident.
The crash occurred on Friday, December 16th, at approximately 2.00 a.m. on Interstate 64 Eastbound at the 241-mile marker. Preliminary investigation showed that the bus and the tractor-trailer were both traveling eastbound when the bus merged into the path of the tractor-trailer. The impact sent the truck into the median, where it smashed into an embankment.
However, according to recently filed court documents, further investigation showed that the tractor-trailer was traveling behind the bus when it rear-ended the bus, causing the bus to turn 180 degrees, and both the bus and tractor-trailer ran into the embankment. The impact of hitting the embankment caused the bus to lose its entire cab shell and all the passengers inside were ejected.
The party bus had been modified to the point where it could not travel over 40 m.p.h. The truck driver told police that he didn’t see any taillights on the bus as he approached it. Police suspect the truck driver had been driving longer than he was allowed to for that period of time and that the bus driver may have been driving on a suspended license. Included in the court documents was a request to obtain the electronic devices in both the bus and the tractor-trailer to investigate potential charges.
What Legal Recourse Do Families Have When Loved Ones Are Killed?
While police continue to investigate the cause of the crash and decide who will be charged and what those charges will be, three families are grieving the loss of their loved ones, and more than a dozen other individuals are struggling with potentially serious injuries from the crash. Based on the preliminary information released by police, it would appear that both the trucking company that employed the truck driver and the charter bus company that owned the party bus could face civil liability for losses suffered by the victims and their families in addition to any criminal charges police may decide to file. It is important to note, however, that criminal charges are not necessary for accident victims to pursue civil action against an alleged at-fault party.
Damages for wrongful death claims include funeral and burial expenses, loss of future income the victim would have provided for his or her family, loss of future benefits the victim would have provided for his or her family, loss of companionship, loss of love, loss of guidance, loss of service, and emotional anguish.
The family or representative from the victim’s estate can also bring a second type of action against the at-fault party, referred to as a survival action. This is separate from the wrongful death claim, as are the damages that are pursued. Basically, the damages awarded in this action are the same as the victim could have pursued had they survived the action, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Speak with a Skilled and Compassionate Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Families who have lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless actions of another person should consider contacting a Virginia wrongful death attorney to discuss what legal recourse they may have for their pain and loss. Our legal team will work diligently to get your family the financial justice you deserve. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp also offers a free wrongful death guide for families who have lost a loved one in an accident. The guide covers topics such as the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim, what types of damages can be pursued, and who can be appointed as a personal representative.