HOUSTON, March 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Five passengers injured in a 2013 rollover crash of a Greyhound Lines, Inc. bus in Ohio have won a $6 million settlement after obtaining the first known court-ordered sleep study of a bus driver, the Zehl & Associates PC law firm said today.
According to crash survivors' lawsuit, the Detroit-bound bus departed Cincinnati and crashed early in the morning of Sept. 14, 2013 after the driver fell asleep at the wheel on Interstate 75. The bus rolled over into a cornfield about 100 feet off the highway, severely injuring many of the 51 passengers onboard.
Ryan Zehl, of Zehl & Associates PC, said, "This settlement will not only help the crash survivors attempt to regain their lives, but will bring needed awareness to the catastrphopic consequences of untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea in commercial drivers."
The crash survivors, whose ages range from 17 to 64 years old and who suffered serious injuries, including compound fractures and back and neck injuries, are represented by Mr. Zehl, who is lead counsel, and Kevin C. Haynes, of Zehl & Associates PC, in Houston; and Carmen S. Mitchell, of The Law Office of Carmen S. Mitchell, in Dallas. The crash survivors are residents of Florida, Michigan and Tennessee.
Just over a month before the crash, the bus driver was suspected by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) medical examiner of having sleep apnea. The DOT doctor recommended an overnight sleep study (polysomnography) and limited his driver certification to three months. Despite these warnings, Greyhound never had the driver tested for sleep apnea and claimed, instead, that the driver lost consciousness after choking on a sip of coffee while while driving the bus.
In April 2015, Mr. Zehl obtained an order from the trial court requiring the driver to undergo the overnight sleep study. Greyhound, seeking to avoid the testing, appealed the court's decision, but the court of appeals upheld the trial court's ruling and allowed the testing to proceed. The study confirmed that the driver had moderate to severe sleep apnea, the lawsuit alleged.
Mr. Zehl added, "We believe this is the first time plaintiffs have successfully obtained an order from both a trial court and court of appeals requiring a commercial motor vehicle driver to undergo an overnight sleep study. Our hope is that these rulings will help prevent future fatigue related collisions by encouraging bus and trucking companies to be more proractive when screening for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders that, when untreated, place passengers and the motoring public at serious harm."
The case is "Ruthie Allen, et al., v. Greyhound Lines, Inc., et al.," Cause No. CC-13-05789-C in County Court at Law No. 3 in Dallas County, Texas.
For more information about Zehl & Associates PC, please see http://www.zehllaw.com.
Contact: Erin Powers, Powers MediaWorks LLC, for Zehl & Associates PC, 281.703.6000, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE Zehl & Associates PC