Fourteen people were killed and 40 suffered severe injuries after a charter bus taking worshippers from the Vietnamese Martyrs Church of Houston to a religious festival in Carthage, Missouri, blew a tire and crashed on Highway 75 north of Dallas. According to an Associated Press news report, the bus’ right front tire blew after which it skidded across a guard rail before sliding off the highway on the other side of a bridge over a creek, landing on its side. Texas state troopers say this is one of the worst fatal bus accidents in their state’s history.
According to police and fire officials, 12 people died on the scene and two died in hospitals. At least six people are said to be hospitalized in critical condition. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials are still investigating the cause of the bus accident. It could take up to 18 months for their investigation to be completed. This bus accident reportedly occurred less than a mile from the spot where a truck driver crossed the median and killed 10 people about five years ago in another fatal truck accident.
I offer my deepest condolences to the families of the deceased. I wish survivors a speedy recovery from their injuries. Please keep the victims and their families in your prayers.
I’d be very interested to know all the contributing causes to this accident and the resulting injuries. Preliminary reports say that the bus’ tire blew and it then veered out of control and crashed. I would want to know if the tire that blew was a defective auto product or if the tread separated. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 299 fatal bus crashes and more than 12,000 injury crashes involving buses in the United States in 2006. Bus crashes commonly occur because of driver error, mechanical defects, poor vehicle maintenance, a defective auto product or a dangerous road condition.
The victims of this bus crash and the families of the deceased would be well-advised to retain the services of a nationally renowned bus accident attorney, who will help conduct a thorough investigation, protect the rights of victims and their families and help analyze their legal options. The NTSB investigation will very likely tell us what caused this horrible accident. But that could take up to 18 months. If any of the victims wish to file claims against a governmental agency in relation to this accident, the law requires they do so before the NTSB report is likely to be available.
A personal injury law firm skilled in bus accidents, dangerous roadway conditions, defective automotive products and corporate responsibility for employee negligence would be best for this type of accident. The law firm better be well funded in order to do the investigation necessary and to fight all the possible defendants. A law firm taking on this case will not only conduct a thorough investigation of the incident, but also analyze other factors and causes that led to the accident. A talented law firm will also be able to determine the party or parties that were responsible for the accident. The charter bus company, if determined to be partly or fully at fault, could be held responsible for the accident, fatalities, injuries and damages.
The victims and their families could receive compensation for wrongful death, medical or funeral expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering. A bus company, whether public or private, owes its passengers “the utmost duty of care” associated with being a common carrier. This “duty of utmost care” is higher than the standard negligence duty they owe to drivers of other vehicles and pedestrians. As the passenger of a charter bus, you paid the bus company trusting their abilities in being able to transport you safely. They owe it to their passengers to uphold that trust.