A trial in the Seattle area is bringing back memories of a terrible accident involving a Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle and a charter bus. The accident happened in 2015 on a bridge in the area that both the State of Washington and the City have some responsibility. An axle broke off the Ride the Ducks vehicle, sending it across the center and in to the oncoming bus that was full of college students. Five people died in the accident, and over 60 people suffered injuries that were significant enough to be reported.
While some cases have already been settled, at issue in the trial is who is at fault for this accident. Some evidence suggested, for instance, that the local Ride the Ducks tourism outfit had ignored a safety bulletin put out by the parent organization of Ride the Ducks. The bulletin directed that the axle on the vehicles needed reinforcement.
In addition, at issue is whether the State or the City could have done more, such as installing a median barrier, to prevent the collision from happening on the bridge. Some of the victims were visiting Seattle form other parts of the world for a variety of reasons. They have, to this point, told tales of how the deaths of loved ones, or their own injuries, have affected them and will affect them for the rest of their lives.
The story of this tragic Seattle-area bus accident, sad though it is, has several valuable legal lessons for other victims of bus accident in Washington. For instance, the case shows how negligent vehicle maintenance and even poor traffic planning on the part of the government can be the basis for victims to pursue compensation for their injuries.