Serious Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyers

Passion. Commitment. Excellence.

Blog

OSHA Pushes Employers on Reporting On the Job Injuries: Will Workers Be Safer at Work?

October 30th, 2014 by admin

The federal government via the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is pushing for employers to provide more information to authorities on the details of accidents and injuries that happen to workers on the job in this country. The proposed final rule, 29 CFR 1904, will make it federal law that employers must report all fatalities within 8 hours of the death as well as report serious injuries involving “all work-related in-patient hospitalizations,” like amputations or the loss of an eye within 24 hours of the incident.

This will go into effect on January 1, 2015.  Read the new OSHA Rule here.

 

Workers Who Are Seriously Injured On the Job Will Have OSHA Notified Within 1 Day

Here’s how things have changed.

1.  The old rule:

Employers had to report to OSHA:

All work-related fatalities
All work-related hospitalizations of three or more employees

2.  Now, employers have to report the following events to OSHA; employers have to report to OSHA beginning on January 1, 2015 – and they’re under a time deadline now, too:

All work-related fatalities
All work-related in-patient hospitalizations of one or more employees
All work-related amputations
All work-related losses of an eye
Employers must report work-related fatalities within 8 hours of finding out about it.  For any in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss employers must report the incident within 24 hours of learning about it.

Does This Make Workers Safer?

Employers are concerned that this new federal rule may increase how often OSHA appears on the worksite and hands out citations.  But consider the reality that workers die every day while working on the job.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 4,405 workers died on the job in 2013.  That’s 12 workers per day.

Additionally, millions of people are injured while at work. According to the BLS, in 2010 there were 3,063,400 workers who were hurt in non-fatal injuries and illnesses and together, they missed 933,200 days from work as a result.

797 Hispanic or Latino workers were killed from work-related injuries in 2013.  Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 17 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2013.

Construction Work is the Most Dangerous

In 2013, OSHA’s records of workers who died on the job totalled 3929 (or 76 workers/week or 11 workers every single day of the year). Of these fatalities, 20.3% were on construction sites. Out of these construction worker fatal accidents, four types of accidents were the most common and have been called the “fatal four” causes of construction worker deaths. They are:

  1. Falls — 294 out of 796 total deaths in construction in CY 2013 (36.9%)
  2. Struck by Object — 82 (10.3%)
  3. Electrocutions — 71 (8.9%)
  4. Caught-in/between — 21 (2.6%)

Will the new reporting rules effective January 2015 make construction work safer? Time will tell, but any steps taken to make American workers safer is a step in the right direction.

Halloween 2014 Safety Tips: Keeping Your Kids Safe This Holloween

October 28th, 2014 by admin

Halloween is on Friday this year, which is great for everyone who wants to have a fun Hallow’s Eve and then not have to get up early to go to work or school the next morning. Most folk here in Indiana and Illinois are already in full preparation, with candy purchased and costumes planned if not yet purchased or made.

For safety reasons, many communities in our neck of the woods have established “Trick or Treat” hours set up, too. Families need to check for their neighborhood’s specific trick-or-treating schedule, and for those traveling to other places during the night, then recognize that each community’s hours are not exactly the same.

2014 Halloween Trick or Treat Hours for Northwest Indiana

This year, for Northwest Indiana, the Halloween Tricker Treater hours are set as follows:

Gary – 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Burns Harbor – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Cedar Lake – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Crown Point – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Dyer – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Griffith – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Hammond – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Hebron – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Hobart – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Highland – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Lake Station – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Lakes of the Four Seasons – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Long Beach – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Lowell – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Kouts – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Michigan City – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Merrillville – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Munster – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Porter – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Schererville – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
St. John – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Trail Creek – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Wanatah – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Whiting – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Winfield – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Chesterton – 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Ogden Dunes – 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Portage – 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Valparaiso – 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
La Porte – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Westville – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Safety Tips from Indiana State Police for a Happy Holloween

The Indiana State Police have issued the following safety tips for this year’s Holloween, as well. These include:

Costume Tips

•Keep costumes short to prevent trips and falls.
•Try make-up instead of a mask. Masks often obstruct a child’s vision, which makes tasks like crossing the street and going up and down stairs dangerous.
•Make sure children wear light colors or put reflective tape on their costumes.

Trick or Treating

•Make sure older children trick-or-treat with friends. Together, map out a safe route so parents know where they will be.
•Instruct children to stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on.
•Encourage children to trick-or-treat while it’s still light out. If children are out after dark, make sure they have flashlights and travel on well lighted streets.
•Remind children not to enter the homes or cars of strangers.
•Follow your communities trick-or-treating hours.

Treats

•Remind children not to eat any of their treats until they get home.
•Check out all treats at home in a well-lighted place.
•Only eat unopened candies and other treats that are in original wrappers. Remember to inspect fruits for anything suspicious.

Options to Walking the Streets

Additionally, many communities, schools and churches offer children safe alternatives to trick-or-treating designed to keep children safely within parents’ view. Some hospitals and schools allow children to trick-or-treat by going from room to room virtually eliminating the dangers associated with being out walking on the street after dark.

Drivers Need to Be Cautious on Friday

Motorists are reminded that they should also do their part in making Halloween safe for children. Make sure to drive cautiously including driving below the posted speed limit while in town during trick or treat hours.

Avoid talking on a cell phone or other distracting activities. Remember, excited children may dart out into traffic at any time without warning. Drive with your headlights on even during the daylight trick or treat hours so your vehicle is more visible to children.

_______________

Everyone here at Kenneth J. Allen Law Group wishes everyone a safe and happy Halloween this year, of course. However, if you are injured or hurt on Halloween, then please note to keep a record of what happened as well as a list of names of potential witnesses; call the police for a written police report so you have their help and documentation; and remember that getting medical care and attention is of paramount importance and it’s wise to err on the side of caution.  Be careful out there!

CDC’s New Car Accidents Report Includes Suggestions for New State Laws

October 23rd, 2014 by admin

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have just released a new report as part of the CDC’s Vital Signs monthly series regarding motor vehicle accidents in the United States, and the report may be shocking to lots of people. Not only are there a lot of car crashes (along with SUV accidents, and wrecks involving trucks, vans, etc.) in our country, but they cost Americans a tremendous amount in both time and money (not to mention heartache, frustration, pain, and other emotions that were not included in this report).

The numbers are big.

However, also included within this report are some suggestions for new laws to be passed that the CDC suggests will bring these numbers down and decrease the number of traffic accidents in this country: thing is, some of their suggestions may be shocking to some folk. For instance, the CDC would like laws to be passed in every state that requires anyone convicted of any driving under the influence charge (even a first offense) to be required to have ignition interlocks on their vehicles.

What will be the result of the CDC’s suggestions in Indiana, Illinois, or the rest of the country? Time will tell.

However, the real question: if these changes were made, then how much would these accident figures go down?

CDC Report: Costly But Preventable

Read the report, “Motor Vehicle Crash Injuries – Costly but Preventable/October 2014” here.

Among its findings:

  • In the United States, people who are injured in a motor vehicle accident spend a total of ONE MILLION DAYS in a hospital for needed treatment.
  • Over 2,500,000 accident victims had to seek help in an emergency room after being in a crash in 2012.
  • Over their lifetimes, the total financial expense for treating and helping accident victims recover from their injuries totals $18 Billion.
  • In 2012 alone, lost wages and lost earnings for these accident victims totalled around $33 Billion.
  • Those Americans between 15 and 29 years old are at the high risk of being in a car crash where they will need hospital care.
  • Americans over 80 years of age are at the highest risk of needing hospitalization after a traffic accident: 30% of these folk need to go to the hospital after an accident.

From the CDC:

“In 2012, nearly 7,000 people went to the emergency department every day due to car crash injuries,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Ileana Arias, Ph.D. “Motor vehicle crash injuries occur all too frequently and have health and economic costs for individuals, the health care system, and society. We need to do more to keep people safe and reduce crash injuries and medical costs.”

Fighting To Stop People Being Hurt in Traffic Accidents

There are all sorts of ways to fight against people being hurt in motor vehicle accidents. Things like seat belts and air bags are just two examples of things that have proven successful in keeping people from being seriously injured or killed in a car crash.

CDC Suggestions for New State Laws

However, much more can be done. No state has the exact same laws in effect regarding traffic safety, for one thing. Easy example: compare the motorcycle helmet laws of Indiana and Illinois with states like California, where safety laws are much more strict.

“Motor vehicle crashes and related injuries are preventable,” said Gwen Bergen, PhD, MPH, MS, behavioral scientist in the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Although much has been done to help keep people safe on the road, no state has fully implemented all the interventions proven to increase the use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts; reduce drinking and driving; and improve teen driver safety.”

In the aftermath of its latest research findings, the CDC is encouraging all states to regulate citizens in the following ways:

  1. Increasing seat belt use through primary enforcement seat belt laws that cover everyone in the car.
  2. Improving child passenger safety with restraint laws that require car seat or booster seat use for children age 8 and under or until 57 inches tall, the recommended height for proper seat belt fit.
  3. Reducing drinking and driving by using sobriety checkpoints and requiring ignition interlock use for people convicted of drinking and driving, starting with their first conviction.
  4. Improving teen driver safety through the use of comprehensive graduated driver licensing systems.
  5. Supporting traffic safety laws with media campaigns and visible police presence, such as sobriety checkpoints.
  6. Linking medical and crash data to better understand why crashes happen, the economic cost of those crashes, and how to prevent future crashes.

To help state legislatures make these decisions, the CDC has published its online Motor Vehicle PICCS (Prioritizing Interventions and Cost Calculator for States).

According to the CDC, this online app should help the states tally an estimate for the costs of each suggested implementation and compare that cost against an estimate of lives saved as well as a estimate of the number of injuries that would be prevented with the implementation in that state.

 

Can You Sue Your Hospital? Yes

October 21st, 2014 by admin

Two months ago, few in our part of the country had heard of Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, and now odds are most everyone recognizes that name. After all, Texas Presbyterian is where Thomas Eric Duncan was hospitalized for Ebola last month, and it is in one of their hospital rooms that Mr. Duncan passed away earlier this month.

Texas Presbyterian Hospital (full name being Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas) is also the hospital where two of its nurses have now been diagnosed with Ebola, though neither one of these two victims is being treated there.

Nurse Nina Pham is being cared for in Baltimore, Maryland; nurse Amber Joy Vinson is being treated in Atlanta, Georgia.   No other cases of Ebola have been reported, and Mr. Duncan’s family members have been released from quarantine after 21 days of isolation without any signs of infection.

There is a growing focus on this Texas hospital and what happened there to cause two of its staff to come down with the terrifying virus as a result of treating Mr. Duncan. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reported to have stated that there was a contamination at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas which was a “breach of protocol” under CDC guidelines.

 

Hospitals Get Sued for Malpractice, Just Like Doctors

It’s not clear what the future will hold for Texas Presbyterian Hospital. Will it be the defendant in a lawsuit? Time will tell.

However, one thing that may be confusing to some folk is that a hospital can be sued for malpractice just the same as an individual doctor can be sued for making a medical mistake. Hospitals are “legal entities” just like people under both Indiana and Illinois law, for example. They can be named as defendants in lawsuits.

When someone is hurt by an error or mistake while they are being treated in an Indiana or Illinois hospital, they may well have a legal claim for damages against that facility. Unless the facts show that the reason that they were harmed was someone’s intentional evildoing, then that lawsuit will most likely be based upon state negligence law, or medical malpractice.

When a hospital is sued, a human being will act as the hospital’s duly authorized representative in much the same way that a corporation will have one of its officers or directors sitting at the defense table at trial as the representative of that company. Similarly, if settlement negotiations take place between a patient who is suing a hospital, then there will be a person authorized to represent the hospital at the negotiation table who will have the authority to agree on a settlement amount.

Hospitals Are Responsible for Mistakes Made by Hospital Employees

When an employee of a hospital is negligent — they make a mistake or error that harms a patient — then the hospital can be held responsible for that employee’s negligence. Nurses, technicians, assistants, aides, paramedics, EMTs, and others who are paid on the hospital payroll are among those individuals whose medical negligence can form the basis of a negligence lawsuit against a hospital.

Whether or not the malpractice of a doctor or physician will be the basis of a lawsuit against the hospital isn’t as clear under our laws. It will depend upon the relationship between the hospital and the doctor: if they are shown to have an employer-employee relationship — as opposed to an independent contractor arrangement — then the hospital may be sued for the doctor’s medical errors.

 

Illinois and Indiana: Ebola Preparations

October 16th, 2014 by admin

There have not been any cases of Ebola in our part of the country, but many are concerned about the potential of the virus spreading to Indiana and Illinois. To that end, lots of information and support is being provided by the health officials in both states and we’re got the links to all that information (which is routinely updated) here:

1. Illinois

See the Illinois Ebola Info Website

In Illinois, the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health has announced that a hotline is being set up for the public to call and ask questions about Ebola. From Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck:

“Although, to date, there have been no persons in Illinois under investigation for suspected Ebola that has warranted testing, we understand there is concern and people have many questions. IDPH will be setting up a hotline to help provide answers to questions the public may have, including who may be infected with Ebola, how is it spread and what can I do to avoid it.

“After this morning’s announcement of a second health care worker at a Texas hospital who provided care for the first U.S. Ebola victim preliminarily tested positive for Ebola, I would like to reassure Illinoisans that IDPH continues to work closely with hospitals and local health departments to provide guidance to quickly identify any potential cases of Ebola and contain any possible spread.

“The situation in Texas is being investigated to determine how the transmission of Ebola occurred. Information learned by hospital, state and federal officials will be used to inform our efforts in Illinois to help prevent a similar situation here.

“We will continue to communicate with the public and will report any suspected or confirmed Ebola case in Illinois.”

2. Indiana

See the Indiana Ebola Info Webpage

In Indiana, Governor Mike Pence has announced that his office, working with the Indiana Department of Health, will be publishing a webcast for Indiana medical providers (doctors, nurses, etc.) on how Indiana is prepared for the Ebola virus. From Governor Pence:

“At this time, we have no reported cases of Ebola Virus in Indiana. However, there is no doubt that the Ebola Virus has been a cause for international concern and is a growing concern here in the U.S., now more than ever,” said Pence. “In Indiana we have successfully managed emerging diseases before, most recently, the H1N1 Pandemic Flu in 2009 and the first U.S. case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome earlier this year. The professionalism, dedication and medical expertise demonstrated by our public health and healthcare community during these and other outbreaks gives me confidence that we are prepared to effectively respond to Ebola in our state, should we get a case.”

You can watch the 57 minute video here.

 

 

Old Tires Can Cause Serious Accidents and Even Death

October 14th, 2014 by admin

Most people know to check their tires for tread wear and cracks or slow leaks. It’s risky to drive on bald tires, you can blow out while driving at high speeds and crash. However, many people are not aware that tires age, and even if you don’t drive your car that often and the tires look great tread-wise, they still may be dangerous to have on your vehicle.

In fact, news reports are that the one-car crash that killed actor Paul Walker of “Fast and Furious” fame was caused, at least in part, by the aging tires on the Porsche Carrera that crashed.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the California Highway Patrol found that the fact that the Porsche’s aging tires may have contributed to the crash by lessening the drivability of the car, especially at high speeds, as well as the ability of the driver to handle the sports car on the road.

 

Tires Age Over Time

The truth about tires is that they are made of rubber, and just like rubber bands, the rubber will age and deteriorate. Even if the tires set in a warehouse and never get put on a vehicle, after so many years they will be useless.

If your car has old tires, then you may be driving with a dangerous condition. The same is true for other vehicles on the road: that big rig or semi truck driving on the Interstate next to you may be a moving safety hazard if those tires are old on that huge truck.

Tires that are sold with higher mileage ratings may age slower than tires with lower mileage because the more expensive tires will have chemicals added to them that slows the rubber’s deterioration and gives the higher mileage tires more time on the road before they age out.

However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there is no set standard for when tires need to be retired from use for being too old. You cannot find a table on the internet, for instance, that will list when specific makes and models of tires are too old to have on your car.

Weather Conditions and Aging of Tires

It is known that tires exposed to hotter climates will age faster. For those who drive vehicles in the southern United States, their tires will age faster than those driven in our part of the country, for instance.

Why? The heat will accelerate the deterioration of the tire. This is true even if the tire is your spare, setting unused in the trunk of your car or hoisted onto the back of your SUV.

Car Manufacturer Recommendations

Car makers include recommendations for the time to replace tires in their owner manuals. For example, Ford Motor Company has a 6-year tire replacement recommendation, regardless of tread wear, for its cars. From the Ford website:

Age

If a tire is more than 6 years old, it is generally in need of replacement. Tires degrade over time, even when they are not being used. Heat caused by hot climates or frequent high loading conditions can accelerate the aging process. You should replace the spare tire when you replace the other road tires due to the aging of the spare tire.

Replacing Your Tires

Only use replacement tires and wheels that are the same size and type (such as P-metric versus LT-metric or all-season versus all-terrain) as those originally provided. Use of any tire or wheel not recommended by Ford can affect the safety and performance of your vehicle, which could result in an increased risk of loss of vehicle control, vehicle rollover, personal injury and death. Additionally, the use of non-recommended tires and wheels could cause steering, suspension, axle or transfer case/power transfer unit failure.

It is recommended that the two front tires or two rear tires generally be replaced as a pair.

 

 

Doctors getting Big Money from Big Pharma

October 9th, 2014 by admin

For several years now, ProPublica has been investigating how much money is being paid to doctors by the big drug makers. It’s a lot. For details, check out the ProPublica webpage with several articles dealing with their investigations at “Dollars for Docs.

Search for Doctors Getting Paid by Health Care Companies

1.  You can search for Indiana and Illinois health care providers found to be recipients of payments from these health care companies by ProPublica online here.

 

2.  However, this month another major resource for patients and their families to learn how much drug manufacturers are paying health care providers, particularly their own personal physician, debuted as the “Open Payments” website.

The Open Payments website is published and maintained by the federal government and has been created in accordance with a portion of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) as the federal “Physician Payment Sunshine Act.”  This new federal law has forced the companies to reveal to the authorities what they are paying to health care providers and to identify who’s getting the money.

These companies are paying doctors to use their products.

Drugs, medical devices, etc. — providers have been getting bonus money for choosing to use one health care company’s stuff over another.

Of note, the Open Payments site isn’t complete yet — over $1 billion in payments over five months last year (August – December 2013) isn’t included yet. Entries that are being challenged by the health care providers aren’t being made public yet, either.

However, over 500,000 doctors have been included so far, with a physician’s name being listed on Open Payments if he or she has shown up once on a company payment list.

Bottom line, doctors are getting money from companies to use their stuff. How widespread this practice is with the health care community, and has been over the past few years, appears to be HUGE according to ProPublica — but the database at Open Payments is far from complete and giving us a complete picture of this situation.

Tracy Morgan v Walmart: Lesson in How Injury Victims get Victimized in Lawsuits

October 7th, 2014 by admin

This past week, a great example of how personal injury lawsuits progress was provided by beloved American comedian Tracy Morgan, as his accident case against Wal-Mart moves forward.   The case is far from trial and no jury has been picked, but already the defendant is attempting to limit its liability by pursuing defenses against the victim.

Comedian Tracy Morgan (2008)

Image: Alex Erde, Wikimedia Commons

This happens all the time.

The defendant and his insurance carrier have the goal of avoiding any liability for the accident, or finding arguments that their legal responsibility should be far less than 100% liable for the damages that the victim has sustained.

Defendants will urge all sorts of things in the injury lawsuit fight.

There are defenses like the plaintiff filed his claim too late (i.e., failed to meet the deadline set by law in the statute of limitations), or that the plaintiff wasn’t as hurt as he claims to be (e.g., conflicting medical expert testimony).

However, particularly shocking is when the defendant offers a defense that seems so uncaring and callous as an argument that the injury victim is responsible for what has happened to him.

Sadly, this kind of argument happens a lot: slip and fall victims, for instance, will often hear defendants argue that just because they fell, they’ve got to be partially at fault (regardless of how blatant the slippery surface negligence may be).

It’s done for a reason. If the percentage of fault can move from 100% toward the defendant, to even 80% fault on the part of the defendant, then the defendant is looking to find a way to pay less in damages, if any at all. (This will depend upon how “comparative fault” is handled under the law of the state where the accident happened.)

In Tracy Morgan’s situation, reports are that he may never be able to take on a TV role, do a film, or entertain on a stand-up comic stage because of the traumatic brain injuries he suffered in the crash between the Wal-Mart truck and Mr. Morgan’s limo van.

Flying in the face of this news is the defense argument being advanced by Wal-Mart that Mr. Morgan is at fault in the accident because he was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Wal-Mart may be posturing for a comparative fault type of defense that is perfectly legal. However, it’s a great lesson to all plaintiffs in accident cases: expect to defend your actions, and in cases where there is media coverage, consider that potential jurors are reading all this and taking note, too.

Technology To Fight Against Distracted Driving Traffic Accidents

October 2nd, 2014 by admin

There seems to be a growing industry dedicated to finding ways to use technology to combat serious injuries and deaths from traffic accidents, and we’ve already seen how gadgets and gizmos are being placed in trucks to monitor the behavior of truck drivers, and into cars to prevent drunk drivers from operating their vehicles.

However, due on our roads in the near future are even more advanced forms of technology. These are focused upon stopping distracted driving on our roads, a serious and growing problem these days with all the popularity of smartphones, on-board mapping devices, etc.

Image

1. General Motors Building Cars That Can Monitor Driver Distractions

First, the largest car maker in the United States has announced its newest campaign: GM is about to start selling cars that have internal devices to check the driver’s eyes and the driver’s head movements. From monitoring where the driver is looking and how the driver’s head is positioned, the new GM cars reportedly be able to determine if the driver is distracted and warn him or her of the danger.

GM isn’t making this gizmo. General Motors is buying around 500,000 of the distracted driving tracking devices from Takata, the tracking device manufacturer.

 

2. Police Gun Will Be Able to Zap Cars, Locate Distracted Drivers

A Virginia gizmo maker has announced a new device that it will be selling to law enforcement around the country: the “Sniffer Sleuth” which is a “texting gun.” This gizmo allows a police officer to point it at a car driving down the road, and tell if the driver is using a phone to make a call, or to text, or to transfer data (say get directions from a map).

For states like Indiana and Illinois, where there are different laws for texting versus talking on the phone, this gizmo will be very helpful for local police to determine if someone is violating traffic laws or not, since the Sniffer Sleuth can report who is texting vs who is talking on their smartphone.

Don’t expect the country’s men (and women) in blue to be using these routinely any time soon, however: there are still privacy hurdles for the gizmo to jump before the Sniffer Sleuth becomes part of the US police officer’s tools of the trade.  They are for sale, online, however – you can purchase one for around $1500.00.

College Softball Bus Crash with Tractor-Trailer Truck: Another Tragic Truck Accident

September 30th, 2014 by admin

Last week, a happy bunch of college kids who played on their school’s softball team were having lots of fun as they were traveling back home to North Central Texas College from a scrimmage with Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. It was around nine o’clock on a Friday night, after dark but not that late. They were about an hour’s drive south of Oklahoma City, and halfway home.

Suddenly, a semi-tractor-trailer jumped the median of the interstate, slammed into the softball team’s bus, and just kept going. The big rig ended up on the side of the road. It took the police almost an hour to find the semi-tractor-trailer truck.

Sadly, the truck – bus crash left 4 students dead there at the scene of the accident. Another student died while being treated at the hospital. Fifteen other bus passengers were also injured in the crash, with the truck driver being hurt but expected to be okay.

The accident is being investigated by law enforcement as a potential homicide case.

We’ve written before about how police will sometimes file homicide or murder or manslaughter charges against a truck driver when there is a fatal truck accident. It’s been done before, and more truck driver arrests will happen in the future.

Justice In a Fatal Truck Accident

However, in cases like this, the justice for these crash victims and their families must include lawsuits filed and claims made by these victims and their loved ones against those responsible for this tragedy. Fatal trucking accidents like these will include potential claims against several possible defendants, including:

  • The trucking company who is responsible for their employee
  • The truck driver for his failure to drive responsibly and safely
  • The truck manufacturer or parts maker if there turns out to be a parts problem or design flaw (did the brakes jam? Did the steering freeze? etc.)

Truck Driver is “Deadliest Job in America”

Today, the British news is reporting that being a truck driver in the United States today is the “deadliest job in America.” The report comes with statistics like:

  1. Nearly 4,000 Americans die in large truck crashes each year, and driver fatigue is a leading factor
  2. In 2013, more than 700 commercial drivers died on the job
  3. Nearly 50 per cent of truckers interviewed as part of a federal study said they had dozed off behind the wheel
  4. A recently proposed change to federal regulations would let drivers put in as many as 82 hours a week on the road

In the Oklahoma softball team bus crash, the driver of the school bus was not injured and the semi truck driver was hurt but will survive the crash. Five young people died. It’s time that more news coverage was given to the seriousness of trucking accidents in this country.

Truck crashes, particularly ones like these where so many are hurt and so much tragedy results, need to be on everyone’s front page.