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1st Lawsuit Filed in Seton Hill Bus Crash

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By Andrew Lu on March 22, 2013 10:52 AM

A Seton Hill University student has filed the first lawsuit related to the fatal Seton Hill bus crash last week in Pennsylvania.

A bus being operated by Mlaker Transportation was carrying Seton Hill University's lacrosse team when it veered off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, reports Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV.

Coach Kristina Quigley, 30; her unborn son; and driver Anthony Guaetta, 61, were killed in the tragic accident.

In the Seton Hill bus crash lawsuit, freshman Amanda Michalski blames the bus driver for the accident. She claiming he failed to keep the bus under proper control and was negligent and reckless when the bus crashed, reports KDKA. She is seeking unspecified damages against the bus company, Mlaker Transportation.

Michalski and five other members of the lacrosse team suffered serious injuries. The plaintiff remains at a hospital where she is listed in good condition.

As a bus company, Mlaker Transportation could potentially be liable for the accident. Bus companies that carry members of the public are considered common carriers and have to meet enhanced requirements and duties that ordinary drivers do not have to meet. For example, they have to meet federal and state laws that may address the proper maintenance of buses, training of drivers, ensuring that drivers get enough rest, and other requirements.

In addition, companies that run a common carrier business may be liable for the negligent acts of their drivers under the legal theory of respondeat superior. This theory provides that the employer is responsible for the acts of the employee performed within the scope of employment.

To prove liability, Michalski would have to show that Guaetta was driving carelessly. This could include speeding, making erratic lane changes, or even talking as he was driving. However, if the accident cannot be blamed on the driver, Mlaker Transportation may be able to avoid liability.

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