Posted in Personal Injury on April 1, 2015
Lawyers for a group of 11 victims injured in a 2013 bus crash have filed a $15 million lawsuit that includes claims against two GPS manufacturers, Garmin and TomTom.
The injuries occurred when a charter bus collided with a low overpass on Soldiers Field Road in Boston. The 11-foot-tall bus could not fit beneath the 10-foot-high overpass, and the roof of the bus was nearly torn off. The driver, Samuel Jackson, told police he was just following the GPS.
Jackson had two GPS devices with him while driving, one made by Garmin and one by TomTom. It’s not clear which one was in use at the time of the accident. Neither device was designed for use in commercial vehicles.
The lawsuit claims that the devices did not indicate that they were not fit for commercial vehicles and that neither warned of low overpasses. Is says both companies have access to this information and use it in models geared toward commercial drivers.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, which is responsible for Soldiers Field Road, is also facing allegations of negligence in the lawsuit, which claims that at least one sign warning of the low overpass was missing or damaged, and others were blocked from view due to construction.
When the roof of the bus collided with the overpass, it collapsed, causing the luggage racks and monitors to fall onto the heads of passengers.
Thirty-five people sustained injuries in the accident, the most severe of which was a spinal cord injury suffered by Matthew Cruz. Cruz was 16 years old at the time. His lawyer, Jim Ronca, said that Cruz is now paralyzed from the waist down, and has only limited use of his arms. Cruz is also no longer capable of extending his fingers. According to Ronca, Cruz has since learned to use a wheelchair, sign his name, and type on a tablet using his knuckles.
Unfortunately, the former track runner and basketball player won’t be able to play sports ever again. The passengers on the bus were a group of high school students from the Philadelphia area and their chaperones.
They were on a trip sponsored by the Destined for a Dream Foundation, which serves underprivileged and disadvantaged youth. The students had spent the day visiting Harvard University and had just started back toward Pennsylvania when the accident occurred.
One month after the crash, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration responded with efforts to try to prevent future such incidents.
The administration issued recommendations for GPS devices approved for commercial vehicles and created cards to be placed in sun visors.
These cards warn drivers about the danger of using a GPS, which might not contain information about low bridges. Ronca said the GPS companies were added to the lawsuit after he discovered how often similar bridge accidents had occurred, with over 200 occurring in New York State alone.
The lawsuit is one of the first personal injury claims leveled against GPS manufacturers.
If you or a loved one has suffered from an injury, you may need to find a Personal Injury lawyer.
Learn more at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.