Articles Posted in Bus Accident

School Bus Crash Takes Life of Girl Near Dallas

A bus taking 42 students home last week ran off of the road in Mesquite and slammed into an electric pole. The school bus crash caused it to flip over and burst into flames from the impact with the power line. A 12-year-old girl was trapped inside and tragically died.

Three children, three police officers, and the 67-year-old bus driver were rushed to local hospitals, fortunately with non serious injuries according to the Mesquite Police Department. A young man on the bus heroically saved many of the students. It is truly a miracle that more children did not perish. Adding to the heart-breaking story, the sister of the girl was also on the bus.

It was a typical Thursday two weeks ago when a horrific crash on I-40 in New Mexico reminded drivers across the country the very real dangers from commercial truck accidents. In a disaster scene straight out of Hollywood, a tractor-trailer swerved over the median and crashed into a Greyhound bus head-on.

Eight people tragically died and more than two dozen, including three children, were rushed to area hospitals with serious injuries.

How could such a disaster happen? News reports reveal that the truck lost the tread on a tire. The truck driver’s and his California company’s inspection and maintenance of the truck are being scrutinized. The front tires have been sent to the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, D.C. to be examined. Two lawsuits have been filed on behalf of the victims and their families to learn more about what caused this avoidable crash — and hopefully prevent future ones.

School started today and the streets of Dallas-Fort Worth have suddenly changed. Roads that were not busy in the morning and afternoon are now crowded school zones. Buses are back on the roads carrying one million of our precious students between their homes and schools in Texas.

Unfortunately there were 671 accidents in school zones throughout Texas during the 2015-2016 school year.

UPDATE 8/22/18: The Star Telegram reports that a car crashed into a school bus in north Fort Worth this morning causing one child to be rushed to the emergency room and injuring nine other children. It’s only the third day of the new school year.

One collision or injury is too many. We adults have to use extreme caution to make sure no more children are injured this year.

Ways to protect our kids

These accidents most often occur as children are walking or riding their bikes to school. When you fail to heed the school zone laws including the slower speed limits, you could be the cause of a child getting injured. We all know how frustrating it is to get stuck behind a slow school bus or waiting while a group of children cross a crosswalk. But these rules protect kids from getting serious injuries. We have to be responsible for them and assume they might be careless.

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A charter bus was taking a group of senior citizens from DFW to the casino owned by the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma.

Lloyd Rieve, who worked for Cardinal Coach, lost control of the bus in Irving. It flipped over and landed on its side. Sue Taylor, who had organized the trip, and two women, Alice Stanley and Paula Hahn, sustained fatal injuries.

Family representatives filed a lawsuit for the wrongful deaths of Ms. Stanley and Ms. Hahn. The plaintiffs settled with Mr. Rieve and Cardinal before trial and proceeded against the Choctow Nation, which denied any liability. It blamed Rieve and Cardinal for the crash.

The plaintiffs argued that the casino derived most of its income from bus trips like this, with most of them from here in North Texans. Cardinal had apparently failed to perform the required safety background check on its employee, Mr. Rieve, who had a bad driving record.

The trial took two weeks. The jury deliberated for four days.

The verdict awarded the Hahn family approximately $6 million and the Stanley family $5 million.

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New Fort Worth Case: Supreme Court Caps Recovery for Death Caused By City Bus.

I filed a lawsuit last week against a school district whose loaded school bus driver crashed into my client’s vehicle.

The Texas Supreme Court just revisited the maximum damages that an injured person or the family of the deceased can receive in these cases.

The Texas Tort Claims Act places a $100,000 cap on the maximum damages if a local governmental vehicle (like a city or school bus) is involved.

The Supreme Court refused to raise that limit, even though different facts and statutes could have changed the results.

What happened in this case?

A Fort Worth woman was crossing the street downtown in 2010 when she was fatally struck by a Fort Worth Transportation Authority bus.

It was driven by a woman who worked for two independent contractors, not the local government agency.

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How To Recover Damages After Government Employee Causes A Crash.

Special laws apply if you are involved in a collision caused by a state worker like a school bus driver.

I just obtained an offer for the total amount available under state law for my client. He was driving this 18-wheeler last summer when a school bus driver loaded with children failed to yield at a stop sign and caused this crash. My client had to have surgery to his shoulder and ankle. I have also made his workers compensation carrier agree to substantially cut its reimbursement lien.

But suing state agencies and their employees can be difficult, if not impossible, since our state legislature has imposed strict limitations on liability, damages amounts, and legal procedures.

Here’s how this legal process differs from most injury cases.

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UPDATED 4/13/17:  Police found two entire marijuana cigarettes and five that had been partially smoked ones in the truck and an affidavit was filed stating that the truck driver admitted he took clonazepam and  Lexapro and Ambien (generic forms) earlier that day.

UPDATED 4/3/17: Truck driver admits to texting while driving at 65 MPH for over 20 minutes. The church bus was a retrofitted Ford 350 van.

3/31/17: A New Braunfels church is devastated over the loss of 13 of its members in a horrifying head-on collision Wednesday afternoon. The choir members were travelling home from a retreat west of San Antonio when a huge Duelly pickup truck collided head-on into their van.

The impact tragically killed all but one of the van passengers. The survivor remains hospitalized in critical condition. They were seniors ranging in age to 87 years old. The driver of the pickup, a 20-year-old man, is in stable condition.

Before the wreck, callers had alerted police that the truck was swerving all over the road and was about to crash into other vehicles. Deputies were on their way to try to stop the catastrophe.  Continue reading

It was just revealed by NBC5  that the Dallas school district has settled 680 personal injury claims and paid $2.3 million in settlements over the past few years.

Most are fortunately small injuries, so the recoveries are just a few thousand dollars each. But sometimes the injuries were substantial — and the settlements were not proportionately large.

The Phillips family, whose daughter suffered a ruptured spleen when a bus collided with the family’s car, told the reporter how the money did not cover their damages.

Due to laws governing the maximum amounts that can be paid by state, county, city, and branches of local governments like the school district here, the total amounts are limited.

How do those caps affect injury claims against governmental branches and units?

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Early Sunday morning, the most recent mass casualty casino bus crash occurred in southern California. A shocking 13 people died and dozens more suffered catastrophic injuries in the horrific collision.

The bus driver who slammed into the back of the stopped 18 wheeler was going so fast that the bus ripped a gaping hole in the back of the semi and came to a stop 15 feet inside its trailer.

Investigators have already determined that the tread on multiple tires were worn down so low that they were far below federal safety standards.

“The vehicle was out of compliance with Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection criteria, and it could have been placed out of service,” an NTSB board member reported yesterday.

In addition, since the driver never applied his brakes, driver fatigue was another cause of the deadly collision, all too common in these early morning bus and other commercial vehicle collisions.

This was an accident just waiting to happen. The bus was old. It was manufactured 50 years ago in 1966. The bus company driving it only operated this one bus. However it was not allowed to be on the road No one had apparently inspected the bus or its tires recently. Further, the driver was obviously unqualified.

As if that weren’t bad enough news, you can bet that the company has inadequate liability insurance. The minimum required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is $5 million. This will not be enough to pay the damage claims of the families of the 12 passengers (not counting the driver) who died and the many others who were seriously injured.

Why do so many bus collisions like this happen? According to the FMCSA, an estimated 3,290 crash each year. That’s incredible.

Why are insurance limits so low?

And more importantly, how can we stop these crashes from happening over and over again?

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The Dallas County School District announced yesterday that is has fired or suspended several hundred bus drivers for violating basic traffic laws. The people paid to safely get children to and from school had racked up 480 traffic citations for failing to stop for red lights or stopped buses just in the last two years.

That’s a startling 10 percent of all Dallas school bus drivers.

Running a red light is inexcusable for any driver, but for a bus driver, it’s outrageous.

Tax Dollars Paid the Traffic Tickets

Not only did the Dallas school bus drivers put children and other motorists at risk and allow these reckless drivers to continue driving for years, but the school district paid $80,000.00 for their traffic tickets. Dallas County citizens got stuck paying these traffic tickets with money that could have used for schoolbooks, lunches or teachers’ salaries. The district didn’t even bother to ask the drivers to reimburse the city or reprimand them for their recklessness.

However if you or I drive around a bus with the stop arm extended we can get hit with a $300 – $1,000 fine. School bus drivers, who should know better than anyone the dangers to children, paid zero.

In response to the investigation, two high-level managers were fired for failing to properly oversee the bus drivers. The Dallas School District also announced a new once-and-done rule in which any bus driver caught passing a bus that has its stop arm extended faces immediate dismissal. Bus drivers will also have to pay back the fines. Finally. Continue reading

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