Thu, 19 Apr 2012 03:21:47 GMT

Family of Indian woman killed in bus crash file USD 40 mn suit



From Yoshita Singh
New York, Apr 19 (PTI) The husband and daughter of an Indian woman, who died last year in a bus crash near here, have filed a USD 40 million lawsuit, blaming the driver and bus company for negligence.

The suit was filed last week by attorney Michael Kaplen on behalf of Kaizar Master and his 17-year-old daughter Maryam Kaizar Master.

Master''s wife Sakina was killed when the Niagara Falls- bound bus carrying a group of tourists from India flipped over and slid into a wooded area.

The Masters are Indian citizens who currently live in Abu Dhabi.

Kaplen said the lawsuit seeks USD 20 million each in compensation for the father and daughter.

The two sustained "severe psychological injuries" in the crash and continue to suffer from "post-traumatic stress disorder," Kaplen told PTI.

Kaplen said apart from seeing other people get hurt, his clients themselves experienced the fear of death.

"The Master family was very close knit and the young girl now has to live without the support and guidance of her mother," Kaplen added.

He said the passengers were thrown off their seats when the bus flipped over.

Some of those injured had to crawl over the dead bodies of their fellow passengers to get out of the bus to safety.

Sakina was sitting in the front seat and there was nothing to hold her back once the bus crashed.

The lawsuit, filed in Niagara County Court, names Nashville-based tyre-maker Bridgestone Americas Tyre, Bedore Tours of North Tonawanda and Motor Coach Industries of Illinois, and the bus driver.

Kaplen said the driver was driving too fast and had exceeded the speed limit when the bus''s tyre blew up.

He could not control the bus and unlike an experienced driver, did not know what safety measures had to be taken to avoid an accident.

Kaplen said the blame also lies with the bus company for not inspecting the tyres, with the tyre manufacturer as well as partially with the bus manufacturer since the bus did not have seat belts.

Apart from Sakina, one other passenger was killed in the July 17, 2011 crash and dozens were injured.

State police officials had said after the crash that the right front tyre apparently blew out.

They had said they had found no evidence of "any excess speed, of any alcohol, of any driver fatigue or of any other violation." PTI YAS

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