Greyhound Lines, Inc. Ordered to Pay $27 Million After Bus Crash in Pennsylvania

By USClaims

An Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals recently affirmed a Cuyahoga Country Forty-five-year-old Mark Soberay was a survivor in the Greyhound bus crash which killed one Vietnam tourist and injured more than 40 other passengers. The accident which occurred on Interstate 80 in Union County, was caused by the bus driver, Sabrina Anderson, who fell asleep while driving on a highway in Pennsylvania. The Greyhound bus then crashed into the rear of a large commercial truck and trailer. Soberay was the most severely injured of those who survived the collision.

Did Greyhound Exhibit Reckless Indifference to the Safety of Passengers and Drivers?

According to Cleveland Metro, Soberay lost his right leg and underwent more than 30 surgical procedures to repair crushed bones in his arm, pelvis, and foot, torn shoulder muscles, and a hole in his heart.  Soberay, a music studio owner, said his injuries “…made the most simple of things very difficult,” adding, “It’s been complete hell.” The $27 million verdict included $23 million in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages. Soberay’s attorneys argued at trial that while bus drivers are required to stop every 150 miles, Greyhound failed to enforce this rule, demonstrating “reckless indifference of the safety…of both passengers and drivers.”

Soberay’s claim was the first of many that Greyhound would eventually face for the injuries and the death resulting from the company’s indifference to enforcing the 150-mile rule. There were 49 passengers on the Greyhound bus the day Sabrina Anderson headed from New York City to Cleveland. Soberay was asleep in the front passenger seat in the early morning hours (approximately 1:30 a.m.) when the accident occurred, remembering that the back of the truck was about five inches in front of his face when he came to, with broken glass covering his body. It took rescue workers more than three hours to remove Soberay from the wreckage.

Did Greyhound Suffer a Stroke?

Lawyers for Greyhound maintained that Anderson suffered a mini-stroke, rather than falling asleep. Anderson told the jury in Soberay’s case that she felt her left arm and leg go numb just moments before the crash, however, a jury found it more likely that Anderson fell asleep. In the punitive phase of Soberay’s trial, the jury heard that in past Greyhound bus crashes, the company’s lawyers consistently stated their driver had a medical emergency, despite evidence to the contrary and investigators in those accidents concluding the driver fell asleep.

Are Greyhound Drivers Encouraged to Follow Rulebook?

Greyhound’s rulebook says drivers should stop, walk around, and get some fresh air every 150 miles to ward off driver fatigue, however, Anderson had already driven 225 miles without taking a scheduled stop.  Greyhound Safety Director Al Smith said drivers are allowed to use their discretion in each situation but are told to stop when they feel tired. During Soberay’s trial, it was found that Anderson had several incidents in her personnel file where she had been accused of failing to follow company rules and “driving erratically.” Despite Greyhound’s appeal of the $27 million award to Soberay, the Court of Appeals—more than five years later—affirmed the original verdict.

Getting the Help You Need Following a Bus Accident

Since we all share the roadways with buses—and since many of us rely on buses to get from one point to another, those involved in a bus accident almost always need help. Your client’s ability to get treatment for their injuries and assistance with their crash-related expenses can, unfortunately, be limited, however help can come from USClaims. At USClaims, pre-settlement funding can help your clients pay those unexpected bus accident expenses (including medical costs and lost wages) in anticipation of a court judgment or settlement. Call 1-877-USCLAIMS today for the information you and your clients need and deserve.