34 Injured in West Deptford, NJ, Panda Tour Bus Accident on Turnpike
West Deptford, NJ -- May 26, 2017, dozens of passengers were injured after an accident where a Panda Tour Bus crashed with an 18-wheeler on the Turnpike.
New Jersey State Police investigators responded to the accident scene at around 12:30 a.m. along the southbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike.
According to preliminary reports, roughly 50 passengers were traveling south on a Panda Tour Bus. Early details seem to indicate that the bus may have been rear-ended by a tractor-trailer that was also southbound. This caused the 18-wheeler to jackknife across traffic lanes, and the tour bus ran off the side of the road and overturned onto its side.
As a result of the crash, approximately 34 passengers from the bus had to be transported to various hospitals for treatment. Some injuries were said to be serious. The truck driver's condition was unclear.
Police did not report any charges or citations following the accident. Their investigations are ongoing.
Map of the Area
If what I can see from video footage as well as testimonies from those involved in the accident are accurate, then it would seem like the 18-wheeler was at fault for this accident. After all, we're talking about at least 50 witnesses here, it'd be pretty easy to figure out what happened. If ever there was an open and shut case where someone could handle getting justice on their own, this would certainly be it, right? Well for anyone experienced with these kinds of accidents, the answer to that question is almost always, "Wrong."
This accident wouldn't be nearly as simple as some may believe. We're seeing at least 34 people with injuries in this accident, some of which were said to have sustained serious injuries. Consider trying to deal with an insurance company when you're the only person injured; you're going to call the insurance company a dozen times, have your call dropped, talk to ten different people, and ultimately fight them every step of the way trying to get compensation for the accident. Now imagine there are 33 other people trying to do the same thing. You can imagine just how chaotic thing might be simply trying to talk to someone about the accident.
On top of that, it must be considered that trucking companies in these accidents almost never accept full liability for the accident. One of the main ways they try to avoid it is to push blame onto something or someone else. A prime target in this case would obviously be the bus. They can say the bus stopped suddenly, didn't have brake lights, cut the truck off suddenly, etc. While these arguments certainly seem flimsy, they can easily catch people off-guard when they think they've got a full-proof theory of liability.
Now let's think about something which many don't consider with these kinds of incidents. Performance Food Group is a very large company that has many assets associated with its business. Even so, when there are so many people seeking compensation after an accident, the likelihood the company would have enough liability coverage to compensate all victims what they deserve is slim to none. Covering all those people would mean dipping into the assets of the company to make up for what the liability coverage lacks. So why is this such a problem?
What we like to tell people is to imagine that you get in an accident, and you were at fault. The other person has injuries worth $100, and you happen to have $300 in your wallet. Ideally, you'd do the right thing and pay them for their injuries and move on. Now imagine you injured 10 people all with $100 injuries. You can't exactly go around handing out money. They'll want you to sell your TV, your furniture, or whatever it takes to cover everything. Most people would get very protective of their stuff in this case and start finding ways to avoid losing as much as possible.
When seeking compensation from a trucking company by going after their assets, you're essentially walking into their house and asking them to sell their belongings. Like most people, they're going to fight to protect what they own. So when damages exceed insurance coverage, and the only hope for full compensation is to go for a trucking company's assets, there's no question that there will be a fight.
So looking at all of these factors, I'll ask the question again: Does this seem like the kind of accident someone could handle on their own?
--Grossman Law Offices