MONTREAL – Some Quebec victims of a recent bus crash in upper New York State have launched a lawsuit against the tour company.
Fourteen-year-old Quebecer Chelssy Mercier died and dozens of others were injured when a Quebec City tour bus veered off the road on the way to New York City in Hudson New York two weeks ago.
Now, a number of those who were injured have hired American attorney Edward Jazlowiecki’s firm to represent them. They filed papers in Essex County, New York where the accident happened instead of in Canada with the hopes of getting more money in any settlement.
“In Canada, the most they can get is $326,000. In American this is a $50-million suit” explained Jazlowiecki.
Victims are looking for compensation for medical bills they received while being treated in the United States. They also want damages for lost wages and pain and suffering.
Mercier’s family has yet to join the suit, but Jazlowiecki will be meeting with several other victims next week to determine whether they wish to take part in the suit.
Police are still investigating what caused the crash along Highway 87 on July 18. Lawyers for the victims say drivers on that stretch of highway are particularly prone to falling asleep and that police are examining the possibility that fatigue may have caused the crash.
“Regardless of the cause, I’m a big advocate for seat belts on these buses,” said Jazlowiecki. “It says something that the only person wearing a seat belt, the driver, was not really harmed.”
In some U.S. states buses made after 2011 have to have seat belts on board for passengers, but older models don’t have to be retrofitted with the safety device.