The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating a crash that killed eight passengers on a rain-slicked highway in Texas last week. The cause of the crash was not clear, but the bus driver apparently lost control of the vehicle, leading to its rolling over north of Laredo Saturday.
In addition to the eight fatalities, 44 passengers were sent to area hospitals and one was transferred to San Antonio in need of critical care.
A team of investigators from the NTSB began their examination of the bus crash. On Tuesday, the highway where the crash site was located was closed to allow them the opportunity to make a careful survey of the site.
Investigators had also recovered the electronic data recorder from the bus. The spokesman for the NTSB warned that the unit appeared to be older and less capable, and may not have as much information as they would hope. They will also interview the bus driver and other passengers who survived the crash.
NTSB investigations are very thorough and painstaking, and it is expected that the final report could take as long as 14 months to complete. The investigators refused to speculate on the cause of the crash, but rain-slicked highway likely contributed to the crash.
Concerns have also been raised over the bus company's safety record. Bus companies are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) and according to that agency's records, the bus company, OGA Charters, has had a higher percentage of buses that have been ordered out-of-service that average.
A significant concern for the injured or the families of the deceased victims is obtaining compensation from the bus company. The company may have limited insurance or assets, and those families should not wait to file a claim. With eight fatalities and numerous injuries, it is likely that the potential claims could overwhelm the available pool of compensation.
In situations like this, injured parties often find it necessary to speak with an attorney, who can help guide them when trying to determine the extent of their injuries and evaluate any settlement offers.
Injured passengers should not accept any settlement offers without first discussing them with their attorney
Source: nbcnews.com, "8 Dead, 44 Injured in Charter Bus Crash in Texas," Phil Helsel and Emmanuelle Saliba, May 15, 2016