Myriam Roman Killed in Vineland, NJ, Bus/Pedestrian Accident
Vineland, NJ -- March 13, 2017, Myriam Roman was killed following an accident where she was hit by a tour bus while walking through a parking lot.
Investigators from the Vineland Police Department went to the scene at around 8:30 a.m. It happened in a large parking lot off the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Dante Avenue.
According to preliminary reports, a Sheppard Tour bus was in the parking lot waiting to transport a group of passengers over to the Philadelphia Flower Show. As the driver waited, he noticed some sort of mechanical issue with the vehicle, and he began to pull out of the parking lot to go to a bus yard.
As he did so, the driver failed to see 83-year-old Roman walking in front of the bus, striking her in the process. Roman was knocked to the ground with critical injuries. Reports say she died at the scene.
The exact details surrounding the accident have not yet been made clear. Authorities say that investigations are ongoing.
Map of the Area
The fact that this happened in a parking lot indicates to me that there are few scenarios in which the bus driver wouldn't be held liable this accident. Things might be different if Ms. Roman crossing a roadway when the incident happened, since it could be argued whether or not the bus had the right of way. In parking lot, however, there is always a reasonable explanation that there are pedestrians in the area, and drivers need to be aware of their surroundings. Not only that, but this particular parking lot seems very open, the accident happened in daylight hours, and the driver was surrounded by pedestrians waiting to get on the bus. Any reasonable driver should have been aware enough of their surroundings to spot a pedestrian in front of them.
While things certainly seem pretty straight-forward right now, however, that doesn't mean holding this bus driver accountable is going to be easy. The bus involved, a Sheppard tour bus, is a commercial company, meaning they have a lot to lose in a case like this. Having a lot to lose means having a lot of resources to fight victims as much as possible to avoid liability for an accident.
When it comes to commercial buses of this size--carrying 16 or more passengers--are required by the federal government to have a minimum of $5 million in coverage. Insurance companies aren't really in the business of losing money, so they fight hard to ensure they lose as little as possible. This typically means shifting blame onto other factors and blaming victims for their own injuries. They can say, for instance, that the sun was in the driver's eyes, so he couldn't have seen the pedestrian. They can say that the victim didn't have right of way and came out in front of the bus. They can say all sorts of things. The more blame they shift off of themselves the better. If doing so means dragging a victim's name through the mud, so be it.
So the facts appear to be on the victim's side, but the bus company isn't going to accept responsibility for the accident without a fight. How do victims overcome this? The answer to that is to have an independent professional investigate the accident. Police reports often leave out a lot of details, so the only thing that can drown out the many excuses of an insurance defense team is tangible, irrefutable evidence. Having an experienced professional look at the scene ensures that all evidence--however subtle or insignificant it may seem--is closely examined and collected for later use.
In accidents involving commercial vehicles, this approach is imperative. The burden of holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions often falls to victims and their families to pursue, so having a solid case and the right experience on one's side helps ensure the scales are balanced. With a solid foundation of facts and experience, victims can overcome obstacles and get the justice they deserve.
--Grossman Law Offices