On Sunday January 5, 2020, a bus operated by Z&D Tours crashed on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76) just outside of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Five people lost their lives in the crash and more than fifty others were injured. The bus was traveling from New York to Cincinnati.
Rittgers & Rittgers was recently approached to represent one of the injury victims. Injury victims and family members of those who passed away do not want to think about legal representation at any point, let alone immediately after tragedy. Unfortunately, time is important in these types of cases and family members should hire an attorney quickly for a number of reasons.
The importance of early legal representation
In a previous blog post Finding And Preserving Evidence After A Truck Accident Or Car Crash – Part III we discussed the importance of early involvement in commercial vehicle crash cases. In serious crash cases – especially truck or bus accidents – the company and its insurance carrier often deploys a team of investigators knows as a rapid response team to the scene in the days following the crash. The investigators attempt to speak with police officers, witnesses, and reconstruct the accident. At Rittgers & Rittgers, we work immediately to insure we preserve critical evidence through our own accident reconstructionist (former law enforcement agent) and make critical contact with the local police and any witness to the crash.
Furthermore, truck and buses are equipped with black box recording devices, GPS monitoring and occasionally video cameras inside and outside of the vehicle. Drivers often have personally electronic devices that need similar downloads and must be preserved quickly. It is difficult to prove texting and driving, but the early a lawyer works to answer critical questions, the better. To ensure that we get as much evidence as we possibly can about a crash, as soon as we are retained in serious injury and truck accident cases, we immediately send out preservation letters to the trucking company and at-fault driver to preserve their cell phone; their vehicle for a joint inspection; and all black box, video cameras and GPS monitoring devices on the vehicle.
In this crash, FedEx and UPS tractor trailers may share some fault for this bus accident. We need to work not only toward preservation of the Z&D Tours information, but also the FedEx and UPS truck information. In our experience, FedEx trucks do not always operate safely and may have contributed to this tragedy. We recently discussed FedEx trucking in our blog FedEx Trucking Policy Places Public At Risk; FedEx Places Profits Over People.
According to the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Z&D Tours has 8 vehicles and 15 drivers. The company has recent minor safety violations. More investigation into the background, hiring, and training of its drivers is needed. Additional information about the crash and the two tractor trailers is also critical.
Consultation with Rittgers & Rittgers
We have already been approached to represent one victim and are working toward answers for this family. Multiple victims using the same law firm can help in cost sharing and bring greater pressure on the at-fault companies and drivers. We will be your local firm and are accustomed to handling commercial cases throughout the country. In fact, Charlie Rittgers has recovered significant money for clients who were injured out-of-state including a substantial settlement in a commercial vehicle crash in Pennsylvania two years ago. We recently discussed our involvement in out-of-state crashes in the blog post Suffering a Serious Injury Out-of-State – In what state should I hire a law firm?
We offer free consultations in person and offer the phone. We also frequently accept attorney referrals for lawyers who want to partner with a law firm that has proven results and the resources to fight large corporations and insurance companies.