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Survivors of North Carolina bus accident that killed 4 file suit

A dozen coaches and football players who were in a horrific bus crash near Hamlet, North Carolina, have filed suit against the Chester County church that legally owned the bus.

Four died — including the bus driver — and another 42 suffered injuries on Sept. 17, when a front tire blew out on the bus as it traveled at 65 mph down Hwy. 74. The North Carolina Highway Patrol reported that the bus driver was unable to maintain control of the bus, and it careened into a bridge support and guardrail. That impact caused the metal frame on the left front side of the bus to peel away like a sardine can.

While the federal investigation into the fatal crash continues, no criminal charges were filed. However, the highway patrol filed four civil penalties for violations not related to the crash, e.g., improper registration plates against the Sandy River Baptist Church.

Federal records on the bus list it as a private carrier, which means that it has different inspection and safety requirements than commercially registered buses do. The team coach left a voice mail message with The Associated Press wherein he stated that he paid the bus driver directly in order to use the bus, never realizing that it wasn't available legally for hire.

The lawsuit that was filed on Oct. 3 contends, among other allegations, that the church did not maintain the bus or its tires and failed to inspect it. Plaintiffs are not asking for specific damages.

The bus driver had allegedly racked up three tickets in the last decade, as reflected by records from the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. In 2012, he was cited for driving too fast for the conditions, and in 2011, he received two speeding tickets. During that same time frame, he also was involved in at least one collision.

There are often multiple defendants who can be named in personal injury cases resulting from auto accidents. Making sure that all avenues of compensation are pursued is the duty of the attorneys representing their injured clients.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Survivors of North Carolina Crash that Killed 4 Sue Church That Owned Bus," Jeffrey Collins, Oct. 06, 2016

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