Third-party blame in commercial vehicle accidents

Human errors are responsible for a large number of motor vehicle crashes. However, Pennsylvania drivers aren’t the only ones who can be careless. Negligence may occur behind the scenes, particularly in commercial vehicle accidents.

A deadly accident involving a repurposed amphibious vehicle made national headlines in September 2015. Komonews.com reported five college students lost their lives after a so-called duck boat swerved into a charter bus on a West Coast bridge. Fifty people were hospitalized with injuries.

The unusual crash sparked a multi-level investigation by state and federal agencies, including the National Transportation Safety Board. Soon after the crash, the NTSB found out Ride the Ducks International had issued a recommendation to affiliates, warning axles on the former military vehicles might be unsafe. The warning was issued in 2013 encouraging specific axle repairs.

The axle on the duck boat involved in the fatal accident was sheared off. Officials were unable to establish immediately whether damage to the axle occurred before or after the duck boat slammed into the charter bus. Federal investigators estimated it might take up to a year to find out what really happened.

State officials, unprepared to wait for a final federal report, filed a complaint against the Seattle affiliate of Ride the Ducks. Authorities felt the fatal crash was caused, at least in part, by “unsafe operation.” Investigators want the Washington-based duck boat fleet sidelined during the probe, which involves the inspection of all vehicles and a review of driver records.

Strict safety standards apply to many commercial vehicles used to transport passengers. Violations of these standards can be used to help establish fault when Lehigh Valley accident victims file civil claims for personal injury or wrongful death.

Lengthy local, state and sometimes federal investigations complicate commercial vehicle accident claims. MHK Attorneys are prepared to help crash victims gather sufficient proof to support compensation claims against negligent drivers and third parties.

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