VB Attorney Vuk Vujasinovic in White Deer, PA on October 23, 2013 inspecting at the scene of the Greyhound bus crash on I-80 with accident reconstruction expert.
We are fielding a lot of questions about legal issues related to the October 9, 2013 Greyhound bus crash that occured on a section of I-80 in Pennsylvania. We are hearing one question in particular over and over again:
Where will the lawsuits for this Greyhound bus crash be filed?
This is a good question, but the better question is this: where should these lawsuits be filed?
Where the case is filed, and where it remains, is crucial in these cases. You want to be in a venue where you will have a good judge, and a good jury pool. The judge decides legal issues on your case, and if your case goes to trial, the jury will decide your compensation. Obviously, this is a very important factor in determining the ultimate compensation you will receive.
Lawyers representing these bus crash victims have a handful of choices on where to legitimately file the cases. Why do I say "legitimately?" Because sometimes, lawyers will file cases like these in a venue where it clearly will not stay. The case will either be moved to federal court (very bad for injury victims), or moved to a different state or county. Then you and your lawyer will have to fight over whether it should go back to where you filed it, or whether it should go to a venue other than the one the judge decided on. This does nothing other than delay the resolution of the case, run up the cost of the lawsuit, and cause you and your lawyer to lose control of where your case may ultimately be decided (again, a huge issue).
At our law firm, we have analyzed every venue where these cases could be filed legitimately and we have evaluated each of them. Many factors and considerations go in to our analysis. Some of these factors include:
- Will Greyhound be able to move your case to federal court?
If so, then you almost certainly don't want your case filed in such a jurisdiction. On average, an injury victim will be far better off in state court than in federal court. This is based on multiple factors, both factual and legal, that go way beyond the scope of this blog post. I promise it's a bunch of numbers and data that you don't really want to spend your valuable time sifting through, so we've done it for you.
- If you have the choice of filing in venues where you can remain in state court, what is the mean value of recent jury verdicts in those venues?
This is crucial data you will want to have before any final decision is made on where to file your case. We have reliable sources from which we can obtain data including the average dollar amounts awarded in different venues. We have obtained this data for purposes of evaluating venue in the I-80 Greyhound cases. With this data, we know how much compensation, on average, juries award in various jurisdictions. If there is a substantial difference in how much money juries are awarding in competing venues, you will want to strongly consider going with the higher-compensation venue.
- If there are competing state court venues, what are the jury pools like in those venues?
You will want to know the demographics of the competing venues. We have sources and attorney colleagues across the country who we enlist to help us in this part of the venue determination.
- What are the judges like in competing possible state court venues?
There are multiple judges in almost all venues, and when your case is filed, it is randomly assigned to a particular judge. Some judges will be better than other judges for your case. Some judges will be awful for your case. It's similar to the lottery. You buy a ticket, hoping you have a winner. We all hope for the million dollar ticket, feel lucky if we win $5, but it's possible to win nothing. You will want to know the backgrounds and tendencies of all the potential judges in the venue where you are going to file your lawsuit.
- Is it possible for you to join an ongoing lawsuit in a favorable venue?
If a lawsuit has already been filed based on the accident you were involved in, you may have the option of joining it. The legal term for this is "intervention." This can be a very attractive option for you. Why? Because you will already know who the judge is. This is powerful information. You will not be subject to the random judge assignment process. If it's a favorable judge, it will be a no-brainer decision for you to make. Would you want to roll the dice in some other jurisdiction, and risk getting a judge who will be terrible for your case? Or go with the bird-in-the-hand, the judge you already know will be favorable to your case, who you can automatically get?
We have evaluated all of these factors and several others. Based on our work and research we have determined that the best possible venue to file cases from the October 9, 2013 Greyhound bus crash in Pennsylvania is Dallas County, Texas by a very large margin. This is where we filed our first I-80 Greyhound lawsuit.
Why is Dallas County the best, in our opinion? It beats out all the other venues on multiple factors. Because Greyhound is based in Dallas, Texas, the company is considered to be a citizen of Texas. This means Greyhound cannot move the case to federal court, so the cases in Texas will stay in state court -- an excellent proposition for the injured bus passengers.
Other factors also overwhelmingly support Dallas County as the best jurisdiction. In recent years, there have been multiple very favorable verdicts coming out of this venue -- many involving millions of dollars. Based on our research, Dallas County juries have a history of awarding significantly higher amounts - many multiples more - in their verdicts than those of any of the competing counties.
It doesn't stop there though, there is a bonus factor involved -- we have already filed a lawsuit in Dallas County against Greyhound for the I-80 bus accident. We were randomly assigned Judge Carl Ginsberg. We were very fortunate in this random judicial assignment, as Judge Ginsberg is an excellent judge and we are extremely happy to be in his court. For those injured Greyhound passengers who choose to join our lawsuit here in Dallas County, you know you will get Judge Ginsberg on your case -- the risk and potential downside of the random judicial assignment process is completely removed for you.
If you have any questions about this case or if you have questions relating to this accident, please call us at (877) 724 7800.