$850 THOUSAND

Back Injury - Car Accident

The case was set for trial. Stephenson and Rife hired an animation company to prepare a video exhibit to help the jury understand the complexity of the surgery C.M. had to endure. Our attorneys shared the exhibit with State Farm at mediation shortly before trial. State Farm paid $850,000 to settle the case.

our client results

When bus accidents occur there are usually numerous factors leading up to the incident. While a police investigation concentrates on criminal responsibility, a thorough legal investigation will identify all parties at fault. Oftentimes, there may be driver negligence, equipment failure, or safety violations. The McNeely Stephenson firm has a war chest of resources to thoroughly investigate all accident cases.

Causes of Bus Accidents in Indiana

As with all motor vehicle accidents, a number of things can cause or contribute to a bus accident, such as equipment that is inadequately maintained. Some categories of buses are subject to strict federal and state regulations. In Indiana, school buses must be inspected annually. School buses and commercial motor coaches that sell tickets to passengers must keep very detailed safety and inspection information right on board. But private buses, such as those owned and operated by churches, are not subject to the same rules. Tires may blow out, which apparently was the case in a September 2013 church bus crash in Tennessee that killed eight people. Brakes may fail, which was allegedly the cause of the Indianapolis church bus crash in July 2013.

Another area of regulation by the federal government is hours of service (HOS) for drivers of buses which travel across state lines. Designed to keep fatigued drivers off the road, the HOS regulations set specific limits on the amount of time a bus driver can be behind the wheel. Drivers are required to keep detailed log books.

Driver inattention is frequently cited in bus accidents, just as it is in car accidents. Whether the driver’s attention was distracted by a navigation device, cell phone, or unruly students, a bus driver who is not totally focused on the road is a dangerous driver.

Too Many Tragedies…

In recent years, Indiana roads have been the site of a number of tragic bus accidents:

  • A Greyhound bus and an SUV were involved in a fiery head-on collision near Angola, Indiana, on June 21, 2009. The accident killed one and injured 11.
  • Early on March 12, 2012, an Indianapolis school bus crashed, killing two and injuring 10, two critically.
  • In July of 2013, a church bus returning the youth group from camp in Michigan crashed in Indianapolis, just a short distance from their destination. Three people were killed and dozens of others were injured.
  • A school bus accident on September 25, 2013, sent eight students to the hospital for evaluation. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.

The Data on Bus Safety

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration studied buses involved in fatal accidents (BIFA) during the years 1999 through 2005. Five different carrier types were included in the project:

  • School — Any public or private school or district, or contracted carrier operating on behalf of the entity, providing transportation for K–12 pupils.
  • Transit — An entity providing passenger transportation over fixed, scheduled routes, within primarily urban geographical areas.
  • Intercity — A company providing for-hire, long-distance passenger transportation between cities over fixed routes with regular schedules.
  • Charter/tour — A company providing transportation on a for-hire basis, usually round-trip service for a tour group or outing. The transportation can be for a specific event or as part of a regular tour.
  • Other — All bus operations not included in the previous categories. Includes private companies providing transportation to their own employees, non-governmental organizations (e.g., churches or non-profit groups, non-educational units of government such as departments of corrections), and private individuals.

The BIFA report found that, in total, about 63,000 buses are involved in traffic crashes each year, including 325 with a fatal injury and 14,000 with a non-fatal injury. Of all types of buses, school buses were most often involved in fatal crashes (38.1%); transit bus accidents accounted for 32.5% of fatalities; charter/tour buses, 11.4%; “other,” 11.1%; and intercity only 3.7%.

Clearly, bus transportation is not without risk, regardless of the type of bus you’re on.

Holding Those Responsible Accountable

A number of different parties may be held liable in a bus crash, from the bus driver to the company he or she works for to the manufacturer of faulty equipment. After a bus accident, many law enforcement and investigative agencies are likely to get involved, including the state police and the National Transportation Safety Board. One of their objectives will be to determine the cause of the crash, and this will point to the person or entity which may be held responsible.

A bus accident can forever change the lives of those on board. Whether they are injured or witness the severe injury or death of other passengers, those involved in bus accidents will suffer as a result of someone else’s actions or inactions. Some families will be left without a loved one, perhaps the family breadwinner. Even though there is no way the accident can be undone, there may be legal recourse which can improve the lot of those injured or left to mourn. Through a personal injury lawsuit, people injured in a bus accident may be awarded damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and earning capacity, scarring or disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. Family members of those fatally injured may be compensated through a wrongful death claim.

real-life cases

“B.K.” was driving on a two-lane road one Sunday afternoon with his mother in the front seat and his brother and sister-in-law in the back seat when his life was forever changed. B.K. was struck head on by D.C.

D.C. had spent the day drinking with a friend and had stopped at a restaurant less than five miles from the point of the accident where D.C. had been served several drinks. D.C.’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

As a result of the terrible wreck, B.K. received devastating injuries, which included multiple broken bones, facial fractures, and loss of vision. B.K.’s mother, brother, and sister-in-law were all killed in the accident.

As one would anticipate, D.C. had virtually no insurance. Stephenson, through his thorough and detailed investigation, was able to prepare claims against the restaurant and those that provided the alcohol.

Stephenson pursued dram shop claims against those responsible CASE SUMMARY

D.H. was a competitive bicyclist who was riding in preparation for a cross-country fundraising ride. In the spring of 2010, D.H. was riding across an old steel-grated deck bridge in Shelby County when he hit a hole in the bridge and flipped over the handlebars of his bike. The impact to the bridge decking caused severe injuries to his face, teeth, tongue, and elbow.

Through the investigation, they were able to learn as early as 1998, the bridge inspection reports showed the bridge in question needed to be replaced. The county never authorized additional inspections. The county obtained $844,000 in funding for the replacement of the bridge in 2000, but the Historical Society and adjacent property owners wanted the bridge repaired rather than replaced.

This crash could have been avoided if the inspectors and county had done their jobs. CASE SUMMARY

Our client (“D.W.”) was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a UDF truck making deliveries. D.W. received broken arms and legs, as well as internal injuries. Stephenson was retained by D.W.’s personal counsel to prepare and try the case. Discovery determined that the UDF driver had multiple driving violations. Stephenson retained numerous experts to show the jury the devastating effects of the injuries. Before trial, the defendant’s company stated that a jury in a small southern county in Indiana would never return a verdict for $1 million in this case.

The defendant was correct; the verdict was twice that amount. CASE SUMMARY

Your Trusted Advisor and Proven Advocate

The Indiana law firm of McNeely Stephenson has been successfully litigating personal injury cases since 1982. When something goes wrong – as clearly it did in the bus accidents described in our opening paragraphs – we have the experience and commitment to fight for the rights of those injured. That might be in delivering persuasive arguments in a courtroom, or it might be in forging a settlement at the conference table.

Call Indianapolis bus accident lawyer, Mike Stephenson at 855-206-2555 or use our online contact form and hand your worry over to us.

Updates
Personal Injury Lawyer
October 15, 2018 / Personal Injury, Truck Accidents
How About Some Good News?

It’s not all bad news these days, despite how you might feel after regular exposure to the media. Our state police have received a high honor related to keeping us safe on interstates and Indiana state roads. The enforcement officers and civilian employees of the Indiana State Police’s (ISP) Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division were acclaimed best in the nation at making sure large trucks obey our laws and safety standards. Their ove...

AWARDED. CREDENTIALED. PROVEN.

Mike Stephenson is a Super Lawyer in Indiana along with many of his peers at McNeely Stephenson. This is one of the highest honors an attorney can achieve

AWARDED. CREDENTIALED. PROVEN.

The AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale Hubbell is the HIGHEST RATING and considered a significant accomplishment. It is a peer-reviewed process reflecting that other attorneys rank Mike Stephenson at the highest possible level of professional excellence.

AWARDED. CREDENTIALED. PROVEN.

Attorney Mike Stephenson is a proud member of The Litigation Counsel of America’s Honorary Society. A close-knit, peer-selected, and aggressively diverse honorary society of 3,500 of the “best trial lawyers” in the country. Less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers, vigorously vetted for skills, expertise, and service; an invitation-only collegial network.

AWARDED. CREDENTIALED. PROVEN.

The American Board of Trial Advocates is an invitation-only organization for attorneys of “high personal character and honorable reputation.” ABOTA works for the preservation of the civil jury trial, “Justice by the People,” and supports the right of a jury trial.

AWARDED. CREDENTIALED. PROVEN.

Our attorneys are proven advocates and trial attorneys. They have served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials, and have handled litigation in 18 states