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Four people are dead after a Dallas Cowboys tour bus carrying a sportswriter, the team mascot, and some technical crew members smashed into a passenger van on Highway 93.

The bus was en route from Irving, Texas to a fan event at GameWorks in Town Square. According to reports, the van made a left turn onto the highway in front of the tour bus. The driver was able to keep the bus upright, but unable to avoid a collision. The van was crushed, and four occupants (three females and one male) were killed.

No players were on the bus, and none of the victims’ names were released.

Duty and Breach in Car Crash Cases

Typically, drivers have a duty of reasonable care, which essentially means that they must do their best to avoid car crashes. Pragmatically, this duty starts before drivers get behind the wheel (because they must be well-rested and sober, among other things) and extends to the moments just prior to the collision, when motorists must concentrate on driving and obey the rules of the road. While the idea remains the same, the practical aspects of this duty can vary. For example, drivers have a duty to slow down even further when the roads are wet or when visibility is poor.

Sometimes, but not always, the duty also varies based on the driver’s qualifications. Bus drivers, taxi drivers, and other commercial operators who primarily transport passengers from Point A to Point B are common carriers, which means that they are liable for any injury “occasioned by [their] slightest negligence, against which human prudence and foresight should have guarded.” Because they have a duty above and beyond reasonable care, it may be easier for victims to prove a negligence case against a tortfeasor (negligent driver) who is a common carrier.

The last clear chance rule is one example, and this issue comes up fairly often in rear-end crash cases. At first blush, it appears that the van driver in the above story was clearly at fault for the crash, because the van pulled out in front of the bus.

However, that is not necessarily the case. Depending on the distance between the two vehicles, the bus driver may have had an opportunity to avoid the collision by changing lanes, reducing speed, or performing other basic maneuvers. If any driver has a reasonable opportunity to safely avoid a collision and fails to do so, that driver is legally responsible for damages.

It is important to point out that the driver must have the last clear chance to avoid the crash, as opposed to the last possible chance. It is typically up to a jury to determine the difference, and they may factor in the driver’s classification as a common carrier in their decision.

Connect with an Assertive Lawyer

Most car crash cases involve complex legal issues. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, contact Naqvi Injury Law. Mr. Naqvi was recently voted Las Vegas’ top car crash lawyer.