Seattle PoliceIt’s that time again when the Phillips Law Firm practices its dubious honor of highlighting a member in our community whose actions make us all cringe.  They make us cringe because the actions are unsafe.  They are careless.  They are foolish.  They place people’s lives in danger.

Rooted in our firm’s values is a belief in justice.  We believe in it and also work tirelessly to achieve it for our clients.  Our work is simply made more difficult when others act irresponsibly.  To help deter this irresponsible conduct, we believe it useful to emphasize those actions that should be avoided, reprimanded, and ridiculed.  To put simply, we seek to highlight a person whose actions make us all stand up and scream…”What Was He Thinking!?”

This month our “What Was He Thinking” award goes out to a drunk driver.  Go figure.  This driver was not only careless, but the driver gives new meaning to the phrase, “three strikes and you’re out.”

Strike One – Drinking and Stealing

The driver in question is an unnamed man we can refer to as “Mr. Ridiculous.”  On, or about, Friday, July 18th, Mr. Ridiculous consumed eight whiskey shots.  The approximate time of the last shot was somewhere around 6:00 to 6:30 pm.

Upon drowning himself in alcohol, Mr. Ridiculous decided to steal a Mustang.  He then took it for a spin through downtown Seattle.  Maybe now is a good time to remind everyone that drinking and driving do not mix.

Strike Two – Vehicle Collisions

At approximately 6:30 pm, Mr. Ridiculous sped drunk, in the stolen vehicle, the wrong way down 2nd Avenue.  He soon collided head-on with an Audi that was being driven by a valet.  The valet was not seriously injured.  However, Mr. Ridiculous’ reaction should be noted.  After the collision, our disturbed driver found it somehow meaningful to throw a bottle of whiskey out the Mustang’s window.  He then drove away.

Apparently one collision was not enough.  After colliding with the valet, Mr. Ridiculous sped off and eventually ran a red light at the intersection of 5th and Cherry Street.  The result was a second collision.  This time it was with a bus.

The driver and passengers of the bus were luckily not injured.  The collision though did damage the bus’s bike carrier.  It also severely damaged the Mustang.

Strike Three – Hello SPD

Mr. Ridiculous ended his drunken tour of Seattle in perhaps the most just of ways.  After colliding with the bus, the Mustang finally came to a stop at the corner of 5th Avenue and James Street.  For those unfamiliar with the streets of Seattle, this exact location is directly across from the Seattle Police headquarters.

Just moments after the Mustang came to a halt, SPD Public Affairs Sergeant Sean Whitcomb exited headquarters.  He spotted the Mustang, approached the vehicle, and courteously advised Mr. Ridiculous to remain at the scene.

Seattle patrol officers quickly arrived and arrested Mr. Ridiculous.  The charges filed against him included: hit and run, DUI and investigation of auto theft.  Sergeant Whitcomb declined to comment on the event.  He simply stated “please don’t post this” and “get back to work.”

Three Strikes and You’re Out!

For the record, the Phillips Law Firm is unanimous on one unified message regarding this event…”Mr. Ridiculous, What Were You Thinking!?”  A batter in baseball is declared out after three strikes.  However, Mr. Ridiculous, you should have been declared out after consuming eight shots of whiskey and stealing a vehicle.

The above facts involve serious crimes that threaten all of our safety.  Auto theft, driving while intoxicated, and colliding with vehicles are by no means good things.  They are reprehensible.  They are irresponsible.  They are a danger and pose risks of unnecessary harm to fellow motorists and pedestrians of all types.

Please learn a lesson from the above story.  It’s a true story that luckily did not involve harm.  However, it could have easily ended in severe injury and/or even a person’s death.  Don’t be ridiculous when it comes to alcohol use, operating a motor vehicle, or even exercising sound judgment.  Be smart and responsible.

If, for any reason, you have unfortunately been injured in an automobile accident, please contact our office today.  Our firm consists of a talented team of successful attorneys that are always available to help.  They can only help, however, if you contact them.


Buses are a fairly safe mode of transportation in Seattle, and chartering a bus is certainly an efficient way to ferry groups of tourists from one location to another. As statistically safe as they are, however, accidents can still happen, and sometimes lead to insurance claims and lawsuits.

In the eyes of federal and most state laws, a bus is considered a “common carrier,” an entity whose business it is to move people or goods from one place to another for a fee. In addition to tour buses, school buses, commercial buses, taxicabs, commercial airplanes, cruise ships, and some trucks are included in this designation. Because they are responsible for the safety of passengers, common carriers must be conscientious and exercise the utmost diligence in regards to this obligation. Examples of negligence that often result in successful lawsuits against common carriers include:

  • Poorly or inadequately maintained buses and equipment
  • Overloaded or improperly loaded buses
  • Bus operators who are overtired, under the influence of intoxicants, or inadequately trained

When negligence results in injuries, victims may sue for damages. However, if the bus driver was exercising a reasonable degree of care and the bus accident happened as the result of some other vehicle being driven recklessly, a court would most likely not find the bus driver negligent.

Determining Liability in a Tour Bus Accident

Any one of several different entities could be found liable in a tour bus accident including, the tour company, the bus company, even one of the various locations at which the bus stops. Sometimes, multiple parties could be held liable for contributory negligence if they had any part in causing the accident.

Tour companies, which hire bus companies with a documented history of safety violations or negligent activity, could share liability with the bus company if an accident ensues and injuries result. Likewise, bus companies have a duty to maintain reasonably safe buses in their fleet, employ drivers and operators who meet basic requirements, and generally demonstrate its fitness as a common carrier. If a passenger trips or falls at a tour destination after leaving the bus, the venue operator may be liable for the passenger’s injuries.


School Bus AccidentWhen you send your child to school, you do so with the expectation that they will be kept safe and free from harm. As such, school bus drivers have a responsibility to drive safely and obey all traffic laws. In poor weather, they have an even greater duty to drive safely and responsibly. Yet even when bus drivers utilize the utmost care, other drivers on the road can drive recklessly and cause serious Washington bus crashes.

On January 11th, in Mattawa, a collision between a bus and car on an icy road injured one child. 13 children were on board when a Nissan Sentra passed a line of turning cars and struck the bus head on at Road 24 SW. The driver of the car was unable to stop on the icy road, but was not following proper traffic laws. The car’s driver was passing in a no-passing zone, driving without a valid driver’s license, and driving without insurance at the time of the bus accident.

Earlier that day a similar bus accident occurred outside of Goldendale when high gusts of wind tipped a tractor-trailer onto its side. A Roosevelt School Bus driver struck the cab, but luckily there were no students on board. Both the truck driver and the school bus driver were taken to the hospital with injuries.

School bus accidents can be very severe and can injure innocent children. Since the majority of school buses are not equipped with safety belts, children are vulnerable to sustaining a variety of injuries, including head and neck injuries, fractures, internal bleeding, soft tissue injuries, and more.

If a bus driver or motor vehicle driver has injured your child, it is important to speak with an experienced Seattle bus accident lawyer immediately. You may have cause to file a claim. Your lawyer will be able to investigate your bus accident closely to determine if another driver’s negligence contributed to your child’s injuries.

Contact Seattle Bus Accident Lawsuit Attorneys

If you or someone you love is injured in a bus accident, an experienced Seattle bus accident attorney at Phillips Law Firm can help. If you are interested in learning more about your legal options, call us at 1-800-708-6000. Our Seattle personal injury lawsuit attorneys are waiting to assist you 24/7, offering a free case evaluation. Remember our no fee promise. If we do not recover anything for you, you do not owe us an attorney fee.

The personal injury lawyers at Phillips Law Firm have successfully represented injured individuals and their families in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Everett, Kent, Auburn, Renton, Federal Way, Bellingham, Marysville, Lakewood, Redmond, Shoreline, and throughout the State of Washington.


Bus Accidents Can be Deadly


Bus accidents can involve vehicles used for public transportation, tour buses, school buses and buses run by private companies, and can be caused by any number of factors, including:

  • Driver error
  • Fatigue
  • Poor road conditions
  • Weather conditions
  • Improper Vehicle maintenance
  • And more

Issues of liability can become complicated because the buses may be owned and operated by large companies or government entities.

In Seattle and throughout the State of Washington, bus accidents often result in catastrophic injuries to passengers, pedestrians, and riders in other vehicles. These may include brain and spinal cord injuries, sprains, fractures, burn injuries, soft tissue injuries, abrasions and death. Victims and their families can face colossal medical bills and may be too disabled to work. Personal injury lawyers experienced in dealing with bus accidents can help ensure that victims have access to all the resources they need to help put their lives back together.

Take this accident for example:

Just last month, six people were seriously hurt and one person critically injured in an accident involving a semi-truck and an airport shuttle charter bus on Seattle’s I-5 after a heavy rain shower had just blown through the area near the West Seattle Freeway off ramp one early afternoon.

The semi-truck lost control as he merged onto I-5 south from West Seattle and struck two cars and the bus. Of the six people injured, three of those, including the critically injured patient, were on the bus. All six were taken to a local hospital complaining of neck and back pain.

Dealing with the bus company or insurance company after a bus accident is nothing like dealing with an accident involving a private passenger car. It is urgent that you retain an experienced bus accident lawyer who can act quickly on your behalf to preserve your claim against the responsible party.

Under most state laws, common carriers have a higher level of responsibility to drive with the utmost care to protect the passengers and other vehicles sharing the road.

Washington Bus Accident Attorneys

If you have been injured in a bus accident, it is important to understand all of your legal rights. At Phillips Law Firm, our bus accident attorneys are skilled in obtaining the maximum compensation for all of our clients. If your bus accident was caused by the driver error or bus company negligence, we will work diligently to help you file a lawsuit against the responsible party. We represent injured clients in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Everett, and throughout the State of Washington. Call us today at 1-800-708-6000.


You may be surprised to hear that there is more than 100,000 charter, tour, and transit bus accidents in the United States every year. That’s nearly 12 bus crashes every hour somewhere in the US, most of them happening in urban areas.

Last year had some horrific news regarding bus accidents including fatal bus crash in the Bronx that killed 15 passengers returning to New York City from a Connecticut casino. This was followed by a tour bus load of Canadian tourists traveling back to Ontario that killed one person and sent another 46 people to the hospital with personal injuries.

One of the issues raised by bus safety advocates is the lack of laws surrounding the use of seatbelts. This was highlighted just last month when a tractor-trailer clipped a bus full of students, flipping the bus onto its side, ejecting a 9-year-old boy out the hatch on the roof and sending 32 people – 29 of them children – to the hospital with serious personal injuries.

Now, a new study conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that the fatal bus accident rate for discount intercity carriers is seven times higher than the rate for conventional bus operations.

Why are tour buses and charter buses more prone to accidents than other operators?

NTSB Findings

The NTSB research intended to study curbside bus companies as a distinct sector of the interstate motorcoach carrier industry. These curbside motor coach operations are defined as “interstate bus companies that conduct scheduled trips between cities and serve passengers at locations other than bus terminals.”

These operations pick up passengers at a series of advertised locations and bring them to destinations such as casinos and other attractions. The study set out to compare relative safety records and evaluate existing federal safety oversight of these companies.

NTSB Researchers found that:

  • Newer and smaller companies have a higher accident rate – Ten is the magic number. Tour and Charter operations with ten or less buses or have been in operation less than 10 years have both higher bus accident rates and higher violation rates during roadside inspections.
  • Higher fatal accident rate – The six-year fatal accident rate for curbside carriers leading up to March 2011 (the date of the Bronx fatal bus crash) was seven times the rate of terminal-based bus operations.
  • Less Regulation – Terminal operations are easier to monitor and inspect. However, because pick up and drop off is often by appointment or not in established bus areas, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has found it difficult to fully inspect these operations to detect and enforce safety violations.
  • Lack of regulation resources – The FMCSA, like many organizations, runs o a shoestring budget and thus does not have budget or manpower to regulate properly. In fact, the organization only has 1.15 investigators for every 1,000 motor carriers nationwide. To ensure compliance with federal regulations, the NTSB recommends an increase in the number of inspectors.
  • Operator hours – The FMCSA has been going back and forth with carriers and the trucking industry about the issue of number of hours worked, number of breaks, and operator fatigue. Fatigue is one of the biggest causes of bus and trucking accidents.
  • Regulating curbside ticket brokers – Curbside ticket brokers can be potentially regulated by many agencies, but the NTSB recommends that the FMCSA be given the authority to regulate them both on site and online.

Charter Bus and Tour Bus Safety

In Washington State and across the country, there are major problems with bus safety overall. In 2010, Texas implemented a program to install seatbelts into all school buses. This has run into serious budgetary and monitoring issues. Almost every school district has put up resistance, not because they’re not concerned about safety, but because they were given the order to do the task, but no money with which to achieve it.

With this as an example and a fair amount of lobbying money, the bussing industry has been successful in staving off many regulations that may prove to save lives. However, as more people die and studies are conducted, they will not be able to stop the inevitable. That is why many regulators and legislators from around the country are contemplating some sweeping changes.

Some of these regulations are:

  • Seat belts – Industry representatives contend that the installation of seat belts would be cost prohibitive, raise operating costs, and thus ticket prices in an already struggling industry. They cite that there is little evidence that seat belts on busses would save lives. This is the same argument that the car industry used to fight installing seatbelts in cars and they have long been proven wrong. The bussing industry also says they cannot control who uses the belts, however, safety advocates say that passengers should be given the option.
  • Training – According to regulators and safety advocates, more stringent training and supervised driving time would go a long way to improving safety. Industry reps dispute that their training standards are strict enough and say that these regulations may shrink the pool of drivers and raise the cost of eligible drivers, thus driving up operating costs.
  • Operator rules – Regulating strict rules around when and how long an operator can drive, plus the number of breaks, will go a long way to increasing safety by curbing driver fatigue. The NTSB says that 36% of motor coach collision deaths during the past 10 years have been caused by driver fatigue. This needs to change.
  • Crash Sensors – In the coming years you will see some innovative new technology that will help drivers avoid accidents such as crash sensors that not only tell the driver how many cars are around them, but also where the cars are located. Some bus companies have utilized this technology, but the majority has not. This will go a long way to preventing accidents involving lane changes and narrow roads.

Washington Bus Accident Lawyer

When people are on vacation or wishing to move a large group from one place to another, they choose charter bus companies because they have trained drivers who know the area and are licensed to drive large vehicles. However, if this employee is under paid and forced to work long hours to make ends meet or is not adequately trained, this can put passenger’s lives in jeopardy.

If you or someone you know has sustained an injury in a bus accident some of the best advice you can get is to seek legal council from a law firm that is successful in bus accident litigation. Call Phillips Law Firm for a consultation.