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Lawsuit Seeks Damages In 11 Year Old Girls Death

A February accident involving an overloaded dump truck and a school bus has resulted in a wrongful death lawsuit in a city northeast of Philadelphia. The tragic collision caused the death of an 11-year-old girl who riding in the school bus, as well as serious injuries to both of her triplet sisters who were riding along with her.

Relying heavily on findings made by the National Transportation Safety Board, the lawsuit names the drivers of both vehicles and their employers as defendants. It asserts that the dump truck was barreling down the road at an excessive rate of speed and that the bus driver improperly failed to take account of oncoming traffic before traveling through a dangerous intersection.

The collision occurred at rural intersection in Chesterfield, New Jersey. An investigation by the NTSB and local law enforcement is ongoing. Officers, following the accident, wrote the 65-year-old bus driver a citation for failing to stop or yield to the right of way. The truck driver and his employer received citations stating that the truck had faulty brakes, was overweight and had an improperly secured load.

The 38-year-old truck driver previously received a suspension of his driver’s license as a result of reckless driving in 2003. The lawsuit argues that this showed that he was unfit to operate the dump truck and should have been given non-driving duties by his employer.

The plaintiffs also state that the driver of the school bus, who had been on the job for three weeks when the accident occurred, had not been properly trained by his employer and had received safety complaints from parents, which should have alerted the employer that there was a problem with his driving abilities.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Mount Holly Superior Court last week, seeks an unspecified amount of damages on behalf of the accident victim’s parents and her two surviving sisters, who are believed to have permanent injuries resulting from the crash.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “Parents file lawsuit alleging negligence in fatal bus accident,” David Levinsky and Danielee Camilli, April 22, 2012