A lawsuit arising out of a serious bus crash in 2013 has been settled for $6 million by Greyhound Bus Lines. While Greyhound had claimed the driver of the bus lost consciousness from a coughing fit while drinking coffee behind the wheel, plaintiffs in the case maintained the driver suffered from an undiagnosed sleep disorder. The 2013 bus rollover injured at least 35 people. An investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol found that the Greyhound bus left the road and entered a cornfield about 25 miles north of Cincinnati while en route from Detroit. The driver had reported he was drinking coffee when he suffered a coughing spasm and passed out at the wheel. The bus rolled several times, injuring many of the passengers.
The plaintiffs had contended that the driver fell asleep due to a sleep condition. Five of the passengers injured in the rollover sued Greyhound, alleging that the bus driver Dwayne Garrett actually suffered from sleep apnea. Greyhound denied the assertion. It was alleged by the plaintiffs that Greyhound could have avoided the bus accident had the defendant responded to a recommendation from a medical examiner with the US Department of Transportation.
The medical examiner suspected Garrett of suffering from sleep apnea and recommended restrictions to his driving certificate for a period of three months. That would allow Garrett the opportunity to participate in an overnight sleep study to gauge his sleeping habits and capabilities. That recommendation was issued a month before the crash in Ohio.
It was alleged that Greyhound failed to need the recommendation, which if followed, that might have prevented the accident from happening. The plaintiffs’ lawyers obtained a court order in April 2015 requiring Garrett to undergo an overnight sleep study. Greyhound appealed the trial court’s ruling, continuing to maintain the driver lost consciousness after choking on some coffee. However, an appellate court upheld the trial court’s ruling, and the sleep study went ahead.
The study confirmed that the driver did actually suffer from moderate-to-severe sleep apnea, supporting the claims made by the plaintiffs. The bus accident caused injuries to a number of passengers, who ranged from 17 to 64 years of age. The bus rolled several times before coming to rest about 100 feet from the highway. The lawsuit was filed against Motor Coach Industries International Inc., FirstGroup America, and the driver Dwayne Garrett.
Source: Insurance Journal
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