March 28, 2017 by personalinjuryatty.com
In July of 2006, a school bus full of Pennsylvania children was driving north on Route 95 in Maryland, on the way back from a camp field trip to the Baltimore Aquarium. After a brief contact between the right front of the bus and the back left of a tractor-trailer, the truck stopped. The bus continued past the truck, and flipped over. The specifics of the accident were disputed between the school bus company and the owner on a tractor-trailer.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, school buses are a very safe form of transportation. In fact, they are the safest form of transportation for children to school. Students who ride school buses are 50 times more likely to arrive at school alive if they take a school bus to school than if they ride with a teen driver, and 20 times more likely than if they rode with an adult driver.
Although this accident resulted in more than 50 claims, many of them were previously settled, and 15 were dismissed. The remaining claims were from the families of five minor passengers who were on the bus and claimed injuries. The minors ranged from 9-12 years of age. They sued the company which operated the bus, as well as the trucking company which owned the tractor-trailer truck involved in the collision. Both of these companies said that the other driver failed to maintain his lane of travel, entered the other’s lane and caused the collision.
Evidence showed that the bus was traveling in the left lane and the truck was traveling in the center lane. The families’ accident reconstruction expert said that the truck passed the bus on the right and then began to enter the left lane occupied by the bus. After a brief contact between the right front of the bus and the back left of the tractor; the truck stopped and the bus continued past the truck, left the road surface, and flipped over.
The families claimed that the driver of the school bus was under the legal age to conduct a bus from one state to another. Additionally, they claimed that he was using his cell phone when the collision occurred.
Minor A had road rash burns to his back, shoulders and right arm from being dragged by the bus. He was also diagnosed right arm nerve damage, a closed head injury with brain damage characterized by a behavioral disorder. He will be precluded from many fields of employment in the future as a result of his accident-related injuries and that he sustained a diminished future earning capacity. The families’ economist estimated Minor A’s total economic damages to be $2.3 to $2.8 million.
Minor B, suffered a laceration to his left arm complicated by infection. He also alleged a left arm injury with nerve damage, a closed head injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. His father asserted a claim for past and future loss of wages resulting from the time off from work that will be required for him to care for his son.
Minor C was diagnosed with a left arm fracture as a result of the collision.
Minor D claimed to suffer an ankle injury and closed head injury with chronic migraine headaches.
Minor E contended that she suffered a closed head injury with post-traumatic stress disorder and back and neck injuries with ongoing chronic back and neck pain.
The case settled for a combined total of $5,887,500 prior to trial. The settlement was apportioned to the plaintiffs as follows: $3,700,000 to Minor A, $1,500,000 to Minor B, $417,500 to Minor C.; $160,000 to Minor D and $110,000 to Minor E.
The trucking company ultimately assumed the bulk of responsibility and contributed $5.5M of the settlement proceeds. The school bus company paid $387,500.