Following the horrific crash of a tour bus near Palm Springs, Calif., in October, Mr. David R. Lira recently sat down to discuss his extensive experience representing victims of these types of crashes.
The conversation ranged from the bus accident case that sticks out in his mind the most to what makes these cases different from other types of motor vehicle accidents.
How long have you been involved as a plaintiff lawyer representing victims of bus crashes?
About two decades.
What case sticks out in your mind the most?
One in which we represented every passenger on the bus, as opposed to just a handful. We filed suit against both the bus driver/company and the manufacturer, alleging defects for lack of seatbelts and other safety devices. The case settled against the manufacturer for more than $35M.
Why go after the manufacturer in cases where the bus driver or company is primarily at fault?
A tour bus carrier must carry the DOT minimum of $5M in insurance coverage, but often, that's simply not enough, due to the number of victims. So we must file a product liability case against the bus manufacturer in the hope of obtaining full compensation for all injured victims and their families. This isn't fishing in deep pockets - it's a necessity and a way to work toward improving the safety of this industry.
Is the tour bus industry unsafe for passengers?
Definitely. It's unsafe. It's under-regulated. Society as a whole doesn't necessarily need more regulation, but it does where safety is needed, and it's needed for tour buses, charter buses, etc. Many buses lack seatbelts, "forward collision warning systems," and proper glazing, to name just a few flaws. You know how much it costs to retrofit a tour bus with seatbelts? Just a few bucks a seat, relatively speaking. Compare that to what it costs when passengers needlessly lose their lives.
You said you've been handling bus cases for 20 years. Could you tally up the results you've obtained for your clients?
Most of these settlements are confidential, but I can say we've obtained a total of more than $70M in settlements for our clients, some of whom lost their lives, many others permanently injured. And I expect to add to this record with three pending cases, all of which involve tour buses.
About David Lira
Mr. Lira, a longtime partner of the Los Angeles law firm of Girardi | Keese, has practiced plaintiffs' personal injury law for nearly 30 years, with a focus in products liability, insurance bad faith, catastrophic injury and wrongful death. One of his proudest accomplishments is the $45M verdict against Ford Motor Company alleging defective seatbelts in the paralysis injury of a six-year-old child.
Work with David Lira on the Palm Springs Tour Bus Case
Mr. Lira and the lawyers of Girardi | Keese are currently accepting referrals from attorneys whose practices do not predominately include personal injury, or who wish to co-counsel with a law firm that has an extensive record of results, and the resources to take complex cases to trial and win.
Call 213-262-6818 and ask to speak with David Lira.