Nostra Damas, 20, was killed in Lee County, Florida in a fatal church bus accident this past Saturday. According to news reports, a church van from Maranatha Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lauderhill, Florida overturned following a tire blow out. The group was traveling to a religious conference in Tampa, Florida.
Sadly, 15 other people were injured, including a 2 year old girl. The Highway Patrol reports that 4 of the 15 passengers were critically injured. These include: Claudine Aveske, 2, of Lauderhill; Evelie Jean Francois, 39, of Fort Lauderdale; Gertha Petit Frere, 62, of Sunrise, and Ose Elian, 22, of Sunrise.
The other passengers include: Leeann Jean Jack, 44, of Fort Lauderdale; Angeline Aveske, 30, of Lauderhill; Mari Desauguste, 62, of Fort Lauderdale; Carine Celestin, 34, of Lauderhill; Fifie Joseph, 62, of Lauderhill; Junny Ducatel, 44, of Lauderdale Lakes; Roland Celestin, 43, of Lauderhill; Venevoix Caneus, 42, of Fort Lauderdale; and Elimane Pierre, 42, of Lauderdale Lakes.
From my perspective as an injury attorney, this bus accident will illustrate the importance of maintaining commercial vehicles and the need for adequate liability insurance.
While the cause of the tire blow out has not yet been determined, one possible cause is due to a lack of proper maintenance. In many cases where car accidents caused by tire blowouts, we learn that the owner of the car in question failed to properly maintain or replace worn tires. This includes proper inflation as well as balancing.
If a vehicle’s tires are not properly inflated or the tread is worn all the way down, a safety hazard is created. This safety hazard is magnified when we are dealing with a van packed with people. In such cases, the sheer weight of all the people adds to the problem when a tire blows out.
However, it is equally possible that the tire was damaged from road debris, such as a nail. Again, the cause is yet to be determined.
Sadly, this case has resulted in a death.
As a result, the surviving family members of Nostra Domas may have a claim against any insurance policy the church may have had in effect for its van. The other people injured in the crash may have a claim as well.
This is especially important for those who require on-going medical treatment, but who may not have health insurance or the financial means to pay for healthcare on their own.
To get the most from the insurance companies, it is important to hire an injury attorney for representation. An individual should not try to handle such a claim on their own.
Most importantly, we need to remember that a young man has lost his life. Florida’s roads are dangerous and people die on them every week. Having followed car accidents like these for many years, it still shocks me every time I hear a case like this one.
My prayers and condolences go out to the family and those in mourning over this terrible accident.