A charter bus accident on March 19th, 2019 on foggy Virginia highway killed two passengers and caused injuries to dozens of others, including children. The crash occurred in early hours of the morning amid heavy fog. The bus driver, Yui Man Chow, was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
The driver, who did not suffer any injuries in the accident, was being held in jail on two counts of manslaughter. According to Virginia State Police, the crash killed a man and a woman, out of which one was killed on the accident scene itself, which the other one died at a nearby hospital.
The charter bus was carrying 57 people (driver included) when it ran off the side of an exit ramp on highway Interstate 95 in Prince George County, south of Richmond. In addition to two fatalities, two other adult passengers suffered life threatening injuries.
All 54 passengers who survived the charter bus crash were sent to the hospital for treatment. Some of the injured victims were children, including toddlers. The charter bus belonged to the Tao’s Travel Inc., which had been reviewed for safety in 2017 and had received a satisfactory rating, according to the DOT.
Rules for Bus Drivers in Virginia
According to the Virginia DMV, it is important to obtain a commercial driver’s license before you can operate any vehicle that can accommodate 16 or more people, including the driver. If the driver plans to operate a school bus in Virginia, they are required to pass a school bus test as well as obtain a school bus endorsement on their CDL, even if the school bus carries fewer than 16 people.
Bus drivers in Virginia have a legal obligation to follow all the rules of road, including the FMCSA rules (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), which apply to trucks and buses. If a bus accident occurs and it is found that the bus driver had violated any safety rules, the injured victims can pursue a claim for damages in Virginia.
In these cases, it is best to have an experienced charter bus accident lawyer in Virginia on your side, which can collect the necessary evidence, review police reports, and build a strong case to prove the wrongdoing or negligence of the bus driver or third parties such as the bus company.
Establishing Liability in a Bus Crash
In Virginia, a bus driver can be held personally responsible for violating regulations or for negligent conduct that results in a bus accident and injury.
In a majority of cases, however, your charter bus accident attorney may help you file a lawsuit against the bus company apart from the driver. The FMCSA requires commercial buses (with at least 16 passengers) to carry $5 million in liability coverage.