The King County Metro public transit company out of Seattle, Washington, has paid out millions to accident victims over the last five years, as discovered by the local team at KOMO News.
According to the report, in the five-year time period, there were 39 passenger, driver and pedestrian claims involving injury or death settled against the bus company to the tune of $38 million. In one 2014 claim, a bus critically injured a pedestrian in the suburban city of Burien, while another bus struck and seriously injured a motorcyclist in Seattle’s University District neighborhood. Another bus-caused death made headlines in 2015 when 94-year-old Jacqueline Morrison was hit while in the crosswalk by a Metro bus in Seattle. In that incident, the victim was actually pulled under the bus and died as a result of her injuries, reports the Seattle Times.
The investigating team at KOMO News reviewed public records and safety reports related to the bus company for more information on this troubling trend. One safety report, which was completed by a consultant, found that many bus drivers did not believe their own concerns were being heard and addressed by the transit company. The driver whose bus hit Morrison, for example, said he believed the bus model he was driving wasn’t safe even before the accident and that he was unable to see the victim before the deadly accident. The model he was driving at the time, the Orion, has since been the subject of widespread safety concern. This model reportedly has a blind spot because of the location of a large window pillar, and it can block the line of sight of a driver, especially on left turns.
Any time the Seattle County settles a claim, the county council members receive information related to that claim. The situation is so dire that in January of this year, council members were told by the city’s Department of Risk Management that they’d gone past their claim budget percentage for the 2015-2016 year because of timing and the large claim amounts, many of which involved the Metro bus company.
Seattle isn’t the only area in the country dealing with a rise in bus accidents. In Charlotte, North Carolina, for example, school bus crashes have increased by 12 percent over the last year, as reported by WSOCTV News. That bus system has logged 468 accidents so far this year, which has surpassed the 417 incidents reported at this same time last year. According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) district, more than half of the incidents were deemed preventable had the driver involved taken the appropriate actions. One unidentified CMS bus driver spoke to the news outlet about the troubling trend, saying drivers are being asked to drive too many miles in a day and handling routes they are unfamiliar with on a more frequent basis.
If you or someone you care about was injured in a bus accident, speak to an experienced bus accident lawyer Denver CO relies on today about your case and all your rights.
Thanks to our friends or contributors from The Law Offices of Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into bus accidents.