Four young women from North Central Texas College were killed in a motor vehicle accident in 2014. Several others were seriously injured. The women were all members of a college softball team, and they were on their way home from a sporting event in Oklahoma.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the crash and determined that the accident was probably caused by the failure of a truck driver to control his rig. According to the Board, the driver was operating a semi that crossed the median and collided with the bus in which the young women were riding.
Recently, several new developments have occurred in the case.
Criminal Charges and Death of the Allegedly At-Fault Truck Driver
The NTSB’s report indicated that several factors, including the truck crossing the median, likely contributed to the fatalities suffered in the crash. One of the factors was the driver’s “incapacitation likely stemming from his use of synthetic cannabinoids.” In 2015, the trucker was reportedly charged criminally for his alleged conduct in causing the accident. If he were convicted of the four counts of manslaughter with which he was charged, the truck driver could have been sent to prison, fined, or faced other serious consequences of a felony conviction.
The criminal case was reportedly set to go to trial in early March, but a trial will no longer be necessary because the truck driver took his own life late last month. Although the Fifth Amendment would have prevented him from having to be a witness against himself in the criminal trial, his death could have potential consequences in civil litigation arising from the crash.
Multiple Theories of Liability in Civil Court
As is often the case in multiple fatality accidents, especially those involving professional drivers, big trucks, and buses, the families of the deceased passengers may have multiple claims against the various parties whose negligence allegedly contributed to the accident.
A recent news report indicated that litigation is pending against both the manufacturer of the bus in which the young women were riding when they were killed and the college that owned and operated the bus. The reasoning behind these claims can likely be found in the NTSB report, which states that the passengers’ lack of restraint use and the bus’ lack of appropriate crashworthiness contributed to the severity of the young women’s injuries.
It may be years before all of the claims are resolved, especially if a case proceeds to trial before a jury. Jury trials often result in appeals, which can add additional years to the litigation process in many cases.
Seek Legal Assistance with an East Texas Motor Vehicle Accident Case
Those who are involved in truck or car accidents are often tempted to put off talking to an attorney about their case in hopes that the responsible party’s insurance company will offer a settlement without the need for formal litigation. Such an approach is dangerous and short-sighted. Not only does an accident victim risk a serious devaluation of his or her case if evidence is not preserved through a prompt, plaintiff-focused investigation, but also other potential claims – and sources of monetary recovery – could be overlooked. To talk to an experienced east Texas truck accident lawyer about your case, call Earl Drott Law at (903) 531-9300.
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