By Jennifer Bates
For Northwest Asian Weekly
Recently there has been a lot of publicity and news coverage about the Ride the Ducks tour bus crash. There were five deaths and more than a dozen seriously injured exchange students. There has been one lawsuit filed on behalf of a student who sustained fractured fingers and/or hand. Undoubtedly, there will likely be other lawsuits eventually filed.
However, approximately two years ago King County quietly settled an injury claim on behalf of a foreign exchange student from Korea who was represented by Buckley & Associates law firm. The 17-year-old student had been in the United States for approximately two weeks, living with a host family and attending a school in Seattle. The student boarded a King County Metro bus on her way home in the North Seattle area when the metro bus driver reportedly stopped the bus in the middle lane of the three northbound lanes of Aurora Avenue North and permitted the student to exit the bus into traffic. As the student stepped off the bus, she was struck by a Jeep Cherokee driven by a young Seattle woman who was traveling northbound in the curb lane.
The bus driver claimed there was too much snow in the curb lane, so he let the student off the bus in the middle lane. The student’s attorney, James C. Buckley of Buckley & Associates, hired meteorologist Jeff Renner of King 5 News, who determined there was insufficient snowfall on the roadway on the date of the accident to create sufficient snow accumulation to make the curb lane unsafe for the bus to stop in the curb lane. In addition, Attorney Buckley located an in-dashboard police videotape of the roadway when the responding police officer was deposed. The videotape shows there was insufficient snow in the roadway to create a stop hazard in the curb lane. According to Buckley, King County agreed to accept liability shortly after the discovery of the police videotape.
According to Buckley, the exchange student sustained a fractured right leg and foot, spleen lacerations and post traumatic stress disorder, as well as other mental duress and suffering. King County paid $1,000,000 and settled the claim. Buckley says his client and her parents were happy with the settlement and did not want to go through what would have been a three-week trial. “The bus driver made a mistake, and King County did the right thing and settled the case,” Buckley said.
Buckley now represents a victim who reportedly was injured in the Ride the Ducks crash. The client, Jae Won Jang, is a student at North Seattle Community College. Buckley says he expects to settle the claim without the need for a trial. Buckley says his client sustained post-traumatic stress disorder and other physical injuries. (end)
Jennifer Bates is Legal Assistant for Buckley & Associates.