Pennsylvania residents may recall media reports in April 2013 about an accident that involved a minibus that was struck by a train in Butler County. The driver of the minibus is serving 16 years of probation for his role in the accident, which claimed the lives of a 91-year-old woman and an 88-year-old man. Eight other minibus passengers suffered injuries in the crash. On March 16, families of the accident victims filed a lawsuit against the minibus driver claiming that he acted negligently on the day of the accident. The transportation agency that operated the minibus is also named as a defendant.
Police studied surveillance camera footage of the accident, and they determined that the driver failed to stop prior to crossing a railway line approximately 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. While the crossing did not have gates or warning lights to warn motorists of an approaching train, foggy conditions on the day of the accident would likely have encouraged prudent drivers to exercise extreme caution while crossing the tracks.
The driver is said to have admitted to police that he did not stop before crossing the tracks, but he claimed that he had made similar journeys on numerous prior occasions and had never seen a train. The driver also said that a radio prevented him from hearing the approaching train, which was only 70 feet from the minibus when he noticed it. However, several of the passengers on the minibus did see the train, and it is believed that it may have been their screams that finally alerted the driver.
A personal injury attorney can assist surviving family members in filing a wrongful death claim against the parties whose negligence was the cause of a fatal accident. The plaintiffs could seek compensation for expenses such as medical bills and funeral costs as well as for the support that the decedent would otherwise have been able to provide.
Source: Lancaster Online, "Lawsuit alleges negligence in fatal train-minibus crash," March 18, 2015