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Charter Bus Accident Attorneys • Channelview Bus Accident
UPDATE: A preliminary finding that the driver in Tuesday’s I-10 bus crash died of blunt force trauma does not rule out a contributing medical condition, the Baldwin County coroner said Thursday. Driver Harry Caligone was the only fatality in the crash, which occurred about 5:30 a.m.
The lead investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that the bus crossed the center median, veering into the eastbound lanes, where it struck a guardrail on the outside of the eastbound lane. The bus then came back across the eastbound lanes and crossed into the median before plummeting approximately 50 feet down a ravine.
The NTSB account of the crash has fueled speculation that Caligone, 65, may have been incapacitated by a medical event such as a heart attack.
A bus carrying Channelview Independent School District students home from Disney World crashed into a 50-foot ravine in Baldwin County, Alabama on March 13, killing the driver. Several students and staff were injured in the early morning Channelview bus accident.
The bus was one of two carrying band students back to Channelview, Texas. Channelview, a town of roughly 38,000, people is located 15 miles east of Houston. Witnesses reported that the bus, carrying 46 passengers, crashed on Interstate 10 at about 5:30 a.m. The bus left the road, veered into the grassy median before crashing down a steep embankment
Local emergency agencies from Alabama and Florida responded to the crash where 46 survivors were treated at local hospitals. The scene was described as chaotic as helicopters began taking the bus occupants to three hospitals and a clinic in the area.
Baldwin County Officials reported, that of the 40 students and 6 adults, one person was hospitalized in critical condition and five others were listed in serious condition.
Documents from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reveal that First Class Tours, the Houston company that owns the bus, was cited for 22 violations out of 276 inspections in the last 24 months. The report also shows the company has been involved in four bus crashes. The company’s deadliest of the four crashes occurred in May 2017. A First Class Tours driver struck and killed a pedestrian after the driver failed to yield the right of way.
Carlson Law Firm Investigation
The Carlson Law Firm has deployed investigators to the scene of the fatal crash. Details we have uncovered so far include:
- The bus left the westbound lanes at a shallow angle and crossed the median into eastbound lanes.
- The bus struck a guardrail on the outside of the eastbound lane, came back across the eastbound lanes into the median
- The bus plunged 50 feet into a ravine
- The bus travelled a total of 0.03 miles from the time it left the westbound lanes to its resting point of impact.
First Class Tours – Charter Bus Company
The charter bus transporting the students and staff was owned and operated by First Class Tours based out of Houston. The company targets a variety of groups looking for trips; including school groups, ski trips, weddings, casino services and more.
The company offers potential customers full sized motorcoaches and mini-sized motorcoaches.
Founded in 1998, First Class Tours “seeks to provide the finest bus transportation experience for their customers through the best employees in the industry.”
In the last two years, the company has been involved in four crashes prior to Tuesday’s crash. One of those crashes involved a fatality in May 2017, when a driver failed to yield to a Houston pedestrian. The company’s most recent crash before the Channelview ISD bus was on January 2, 2018.
Our History of Success With Charter Bus Litigation
The Carlson Law Firm has a history of success litigating complex bus crash cases and has obtained favorable results for numerous clients over the years.
Our experts handled a similar case in 2011 when a charter bus filled with high school band members headed to Orlando from Texas struck an overturned 18-wheeler that was blocking the roadway. This incident occurred on the same stretch of highway outside of Mobile.
We have a team of experienced lawyers, legal assistants and investigators ready and able to fully investigate any bus-related injury and aggressively pursue responsible parties.
Common Causes of Bus Crashes
The Channelview bus accident is a small part of the estimated 751 million passengers take motorcoaches for travel every year. Buses are often used by schools to take students on educational and sports trips. Statistically, busing is one of the safer ways to travel, because of the high standard placed on the motorcoach industry. However, there are a variety of situations that can cause bus crash injuries and fatalities. An experienced Channelview bus accident lawyer will you help figure out if negligence occurred in your case. Accidents can occur while riding as a passenger, pedestrian or while occupying a passenger vehicle sharing the roadway.
Some common causes of accidents include:
- Negligence from the bus company or driver
- Poor maintenance, including tires and dirty engines
- Bad weather
- Blind spots
- Left turns
- Other drivers
- Bus fires
Bus drivers are held to a high standard because passengers are entrusting them with their lives. Drivers are expected to follow hours of service, the regulations that address how long a driver can be on the road. The Channelview bus accident occurred when the bus was two hours away from a resting point. The circumstances around what caused the bus to crash into the ravine are still being investigated, but a skilled Carlson Law Firm Channelview bus accident lawyer can help you uncover important information about what caused the crash.
Some driver-centered problems that can lead to unsafe conditions include:
- Distracted driving, including texting or making calls
- Fatigued driving
- Driver negligence
- Fatigued driving
- Poor bus security
- Operating on dangerous roads and interstates
- Operating during obviously dangerous weather conditions
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Inadequate maintenance of the bus and its equipment.
Negligence: Bus Crash Injuries and Deaths
Like truck drivers, bus drivers must be competent employees. It is imperative to the safety of not just passengers, but the general motoring public, that drivers go through proper background checks and received adequate training. When you send your loved ones off on a trip, you never imagine this kind of nightmare. If you are the parent of a child involved in the Channelview bus accident, you have every right to expect your loved one will return home safe and uninjured. Contact a Channelview bus accident lawyer at The Carlson Law Firm to discuss your case.
Common Carriers Regulations
Businesses that offer transportation services are generally regulated by common carrier laws, therefore, bus accidents fall under common carrier laws. Common carriers can be private or public companies and are regulated at the local, state and federal levels. Common carrier laws can be difficult to understand. A Channelview bus accident lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm can help you understand what your rights are.
Because they offer services to the public for a fee, common carrier businesses have a legal responsibility to show the highest degree of care and vigilance for their passenger’s safety. Failure to adhere to this rule can be considered negligence.
If a bus accident is caused by negligence such as fatigue, maintenance failures, tire failures or inadequate bus driver training, you can hold a carrier liable for damages under personal injury or wrongful death tort law. When minor children are passengers on a bus, there is an even higher degree of care owed by the bus company, above that of adults.
Common carriers are expected to use the highest duty of care when constructing, servicing, inspecting and maintaining their equipment and vehicles for transporting passengers. These businesses are expected to keep up with modern improvement in the transportation industry. They must adopt designs, devices and equipment that are commonly accepted as improving the safety of passengers. Common carriers are responsible for any defects if the carrier has:
- Created the defect
- Knew of the defect
- Would have detected the defect through standard and reasonable maintenance
A Carlson Law Firm Channelview bus accident lawyer can help you deal with a bus company and uncovering its role in a preventable accident. It can be difficult for injured passengers or family members who lost someone in a fatal bus accident, bus insurance companies can be equally complicated. We will advocate for you on the importance of seeking to distinguish your rights and protect your loved ones.
Bus Accident Statistics
In 2015, of the crash fatalities on U.S. roadways, 11.9 percent involved at least one large truck or bus. Additionally, buses and large trucks accounted for 7.6 percent of nonfatal crashes. Buses travel an estimated 16.2 billion miles every year. The kind of vehicle involved in a bus-related accident can often be a major factor in the types of injuries endured and whether fatalities occurred.
Large trucks, such as 18-wheelers and tractor-trailer trucks, are the most common type of vehicle involved in serious bus accidents. In fact, according to a report to Congress, School Bus Safety: Crashworthiness Research, 70 percent of vehicles involved in bus accidents are of similar size as a school bus or larger, highlighting the serious impact and damage that results when such large vehicles are engrossed.
There are 5 million truck and bus drivers sharing the road with more than 250 million motorists which is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) core mission is to prevent crashes, injuries, and fatalities related to large trucks and buses on our roads. An important step in achieving the mission is to identify unsafe motor carriers and prioritize FMCSA enforcement resources on those that pose the greatest safety risk. The Safety Measurement System (SMS) is FMCSA’s workload prioritization tool. FMCSA uses the SMS to identify carriers with potential safety problems for interventions as part of the Agency’s safety compliance and enforcement program called Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA).
The Carlson Law Firm has a Channelview bus accident lawyer ready to help you navigate the regulations put forward by the FMCSA. Contact us at your earliest convenience with your questions and concerns.
How a Channelview Bus Accident Lawyer Can Help
No one wants to imagine the possibility of their children being hurt or killed in a bus accident. However, buses are a part of our everyday lives and we need to be aware of the possibility of negligence. Buses take us to and from school, offer a cheap alternative to flying or carry our student-athletes across the state. Despite their ever-present existence in our lives, buses carry serious dangers for riders and motorists. If buses are not being operated by well trained, attentive employees and if the equipment is not properly maintained, dangerous situations can occur. In addition to your own Channelview bus accident lawyer, we have a team of investigators and nurses who will fight to protect your rights.
A bus crash is complex and requires an advocate with experience and the resources to handle the case. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving any type of bus, contact a qualified Channelview bus accident lawyer at The Carlson Law Firm as soon as possible.
We have decades of experience representing victims and their families of serious bus accidents. Our experienced personal injury lawyers, professional medical consultants, private investigators and caring staff will help you piece together the various questions you may have regarding the Channelview bus accident or any other bus accident involving a loved one while seeking just compensation for your injuries and losses.
We care. We can help.