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John Bisnar
John Bisnar
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Greyhound settles wrongful death claims

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Confidential settlement admits no fault.

The families of the two passengers killed when a Greyhound bus crashed in Santa Maria on Highway 101 have settled their wrongful death lawsuits against the bus company in separate private mediations with trial dates pending. The terms of each settlement are confidential and not disclosed. However, Greyhound admitted no fault and the settlements included claims against Greyhound’s driver. All this according to a story in the Santa Maria Times.

The bus accident occurred when the Greyhound ran off Highway 101, tipped onto its right side and hit a tree, in the early morning hours of November 27, 2005.

Initially the California Highway Patrol officers initially believed that the driver of the Greyhound, Samuel Bishop had fallen asleep at the wheel. Later the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office determined that Bishop suffered an epileptic seizure which could have caused the bus accident.

The case of Keith St. Clare, San Francisco children’s home director and two other staff members of the home, Takafumi Okajima and Kin Ming Cheng, have filed personal injury lawsuits in the California Superior Court in Santa Maria. Their case is set for trial on May 14th, 2007.

Private settlement conferences, known as mediations, are a common way to settle personal injury claims these days. Usually the parties agree on a mediator, usually a retired judge or very experienced attorney and they meet to iron out their differences and work out a settlement of the claims. Many more cases are settled by mediation these days than by trial. Resolution of claims made through mediations are quicker, less expensive and usually more satisfying that jury trials.