A pickup truck, whose driver was allegedly driving under the influence, caused an accident with a school bus on the evening of November 22, 2011. Twenty people, including fifteen students from Great Mills High School, were treated at a nearby hospital for injuries. Fortunately, no fatalities or serious injuries were reported. The bus driver sustained back injuries.
At about 9:23 p.m. that night, 45 year-old John Patrick Kravats allegedly ran a stop sign while another car, a Ford Fusion, was in the intersection. Kravats’ truck hit the Fusion, sending it into the school bus’ lane. The school bus, carrying members and coaches of the Great Hills High School Girls’ Basketball team, struck either the pickup truck or the Fusion and went off the road and into the woods. Local news coverage showed the bus wedged between trees in a wooded area just off the road.
Witnesses credited the school bus driver with heroic driving maneuvers that prevented the bus from tipping over and prevented serious injuries. The bus driver, another adult, and fifteen students were taken to the hospital. The driver of the Fusion and a 13 year-old passenger were also taken to the hospital.
Police at the scene arrested Kravats for driving under the influence. Local news discovered that Kravats is listed on the Maryland sex offender registry because of a conviction for sexual abuse of a minor. While this is of little to no relevance in determining Kravats’ liability for the accident, it will not help him in the criminal case for DUI.
Based on news reports of the accident scene, it appears that Kravats’ truck did not directly strike the school bus. The school bus may have hit the truck, and it was the efforts of the school bus driver to avoid tipping over that took the bus off the road and into the woods. A personal injury attorney would therefore need to examine causation, to see if Kravats would be legally liable for injuries to school bus passengers. It seems that he should be liable for injuries in both the Fusion and the school bus.
In determining liability for negligence, the question is whether the defendant’s negligent actions caused the plaintiffs’ injuries from a legal standpoint. This is known as “proximate cause,” and the question is twofold: (1) could the accident have occurred but for the defendant’s negligence? and (2) were the injuries a reasonably foreseeable result? Here, the driver of the pickup truck was allegedly driving while intoxicated, which goes a long way towards establishing a breach of duty for the purpose of proving negligence. He also allegedly ran a stop sign, and but for that action he likely would not have collided with the Fusion. From that point, it does not seem unreasonable to conclude that other vehicles on the road would be in danger. Even if the truck had not made contact with the school bus at all, liability would not be difficult to establish.
The Maryland accident injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen are skilled at pursuing justice for people injured in automobile accidents on Maryland roads. Contact us today online or at (800) 654-1949 for a free and confidential consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Two Maryland School Bus Accidents Lead to Possible Injuries and One Death, Maryland Accident Law Blog, March 27, 2009
$3 Million Maryland Bus Accident Lawsuit Filed Against Cecil County Board of Education, Maryland Accident Law Blog, January 15, 2009
Maryland Family Settles WMATA Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Tragic Valentine’s Day Pedestrian-Bus Accident, Maryland Accident Law Blog, June 30, 2008
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