An Update from Our Firm about COVID-19

Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner remains fully operational and committed to serving our clients and colleagues throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. As we follow the CDC guidelines and practice social distancing, we remain available for phone consultations and scheduled in-person meetings with both current and prospective clients and colleagues. Please contact our office by email or by calling 713-222-7211 with any questions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sherman Bus Crash - Operator Error Or Product Defect? Or Both?

As most of you already know, last Friday a fully occupied motor coach went off the road near Sherman, Texas and fell into a creek. When our team arrived at the scene, the National Transportation Safety Board had secured the bus. The scene showed ample evidence of death and destruction that had ensued the night before. Skid and gouge marks showed where the bus, carrying 54 passengers and 1 driver, had left the roadway and fell into a creek. Seventeen passengers were killed and everyone else on the bus was injured. One of the survivors later recounted the events during a press conference and stated she remembered bodies flying during the crash. The question that arises is, could the massive scale of casualties been avoided?

To answer that question one must look from a bio-mechanical viewpoint as to what the human body goes through during such an impact. Upon impact the human body is literally sent flying at a speed close to that of the bus itself pre-impact. Trauma caused by collision with other passengers, seats, interior columns of the bus, or in the worst case, contact with the roadway, usually causes death or catastrophic injury. Can the use of seatbelts prevent these types of injuries? According to studies done in this field, the answer is yes. The bus industry in the United States has taken the (disingenuous) position that using seatbelts on buses put a passenger at greater risk compared to an unbelted passenger. One rationale presented by the bus industry is that a belted passenger on a bus would cause the seat to come unhinged upon impact and send the passenger flying along with the seat, therefore causing a heavier projectile that would be more harmful to the passenger and other occupants. Another justification is that a lap belt (similar to one on a commercial airplane) would cause injuries to the lower back upon impact. Both these problems can be easily remedied: 1) By fortifying the assembly of the seats to the chassis and 2) by using a three point seat belt similar to the ones we have in our vehicles.

Many legal questions will have to be answered in the Sherman bus crash. Was the driver fatigued and in violation of hours of service rules of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration? Were any improper sized or defective tires used on the bus? Did the tires pass a safety inspection? Was the bus inspected by a manufacturer owned/approved service station? Did a third party make any representations about the quality of the operator? Was there a product defect related to the lack of seatbelts, structural integrity/crashworthiness of the bus and window glazing?

It is my experience based on being involved in the Hurricane Rita evacuation bus fire, Volvo bus crash near Victoria Texas and the recent Dina Viaggio bus crash en route from Mexico to Houston, the real answers will not be uncovered without an extensive investigation into all concerned parties.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • $50+ Million Fire & Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs, taking a lead role in the plaintiffs’ steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Plant Fire & Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Worksite Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm’s client.

  • $12 Million 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $48 Million Catastrophic Burns

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $48 million.

Our Record Of Success

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

Read More Success Stories

Let Us Help You Request a Free Consultation Today

Get Help Now

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Back to top