The first lawsuits have been filed after a fatal FedEx truck and bus crash in northern California that killed 10 and injured 34.
The April 10 accident on Interstate 5 near Orland involved a FedEx big rig crossing the median and slamming head-on into a tour bus filled with Los Angeles-area high school students.
The litigation stemming from the collision will likely focus on who was responsible for the deaths and injuries caused by the collision and ensuing fire, which may be a bit more complicated than the facts make it sound.
Why Is FedEx Being Sued and Not Just the Driver?
According to The Sacramento Bee, the first lawsuit involving the crash -- filed by Rosa Rivera, the mother of one of the students killed in the crash -- names the estate of the truck driver, Timothy Paul Evans (who was also killed in the crash) along with FedEx. Why both?
Although Evans was operating the truck when it crashed, Rivera is likely arguing that he was doing so as an employee of FedEx; generally, employers can be held liable for the conduct of their employees.
The lawsuit also alleges that FedEx was negligent in training its drivers -- one of several potential ways to prove employer negligence.
Why Is the Bus Company Being Sued?
Both Rivera's suit and the more recent civil suit filed by 18-year-old Miles Hill of Los Angeles, who was one of the students injured in the crash, also name the company that owned the bus, Silverado Stages.
But if the FedEx truck crossed the median and ran into the bus, why would the bus company be responsible for any of the damages resulting from the crash?
According to Hill's suit, the teen and other students had trouble escaping from the bus, which caught fire following the accident. Hill alleges that the emergency-exit procedures on the bus were inadequate, forcing him to kick out a window to escape. If a jury agrees and finds Silverado Stages was negligent, the company could be held liable, at least in part, for injuries to the students.
Like any truck accident case, the legal wrangling over who is at fault is a complicated issue. If you are involved in a truck accident, this legal checklist helps explain what must be shown to prove liability.