Even when you are injured while out of state, you may have a right to sue and recover damages in an Illinois court. A recent bus accident in Indiana involved several Chicago area residents. Although the incident is still under investigation, initial findings point to possible negligence on the part of the bus company and its driver. When you’ve been injured, you should talk to a personal injury attorney who can help explain your particular case.
At about 4:30 a.m., a Megabus operated by Coach USA North America (Coach) was driving in the dark pouring rain on I-65 just outside Indianapolis. This massive double-decker bus was transporting riders from Atlanta to Chicago. It is alleged that the bus collided with a disabled vehicle that was partially blocking the lane. The collision caused the bus to careen off the roadway and tumble onto its side, finally coming to a rest on the highway divider.
More than 20 passengers on board were injured. Six passengers suffered from serious injuries, including knocked-out teeth, a separated shoulder, and facial injuries that required stitches. At least one passenger alleges that the bus’ windshield wipers malfunctioned minutes before the accident.
Although this incident happened in Indiana, some victims may be allowed to sue in Illinois. An Illinois court is allowed to hear the case if the victims can show a sufficient connection between the state of Illinois and the accident in Indiana. In this case, one can argue a number of connections that tie the incident to our state. Coach operates in Illinois and advertises its Megabus transportation services in Illinois. Furthermore, Coach knew from ticket sales that there would be Illinois passengers on this trip.
Out of state accidents are routinely tried by Illinois courts, and there is a system of law in place to handle these situations. When an accident occurs outside Illinois, its courts may rely upon a combination of Illinois law and local laws to decide the injury case. For example, a court may apply Illinois’ definition of negligence, while relying on Indiana traffic ordinances to prove that the negligence occurred.
Illinois law recognizes negligence when a person or entity owes a duty to protect someone and fails in that duty, causing harm. Here, the driver of the bus may be held personally liable for a number of reasons. The driver may have been driving at speeds that were unsafe for conditions, or he may have been distracted. He may have knowingly driven with defective safety equipment. All of these possibilities lead to a natural assertion that the driver may have been improperly trained, and poor training is a type of negligence that could be imputed to his employer, Coach.
As an employer, Coach may have improperly trained its driver regarding the procedures for rain, nighttime driving, and emergency maneuvering. Furthermore, Coach may have failed to properly inspect the bus’ windshield wipers. When a company poorly trains its employees or allows the use of dangerous equipment, that company can be held directly liable for damages. Coach may also be accountable for its driver’s personal judgments and actions, since Coach employs that driver in furtherance of its transportation business. The legal theory of respondeat superior states that an employer can be held responsible for the negligent acts of its employees. The Latin phrase respondeat superior means let the master answer, and it is based upon the idea that an employer that benefits from its employee’s work should also be responsible for that employee’s mistakes while at work.
The Megabus injury victims may be able to potentially collect monetary damages to help compensate for their injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, damage to property, and lost wages. Although the interstate nature of this accident adds a measure of complexity, the principles of negligence still apply to the driver and the bus company. When you’ve been hurt in Illinois or in an out-of-state bus accident that relates to Illinois, you should talk to a personal injury attorney who understands the details of Illinois personal injury law. Contact the experienced bus accident attorneys at Cavanagh Law Group.