Nursing home, relatives settle Rita suit


A lawsuit that was filed against a nursing home by twenty-three families who had lost loved ones when a bus transporting patients exploded was settled on Tuesday, September 25th, according to an Associated Press Report.

In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the South, killing more than 18,000 people and causing more than 80 billion dollars in damage. So when Hurricane Rita threatened the residents of Brighton Gardens, a Houston-area assisted living community, a month later, the decision to flee the area seemed a wise choice. When the bus that was evacuating the nursing home patients exploded, however, the families of the 23 patients who lost their lives were left to question the decisions and methods of evacuation the home chose.

Lawyers of the families and for Sunrise Senior Living Services Inc., of Mclean , VA said terms of the settlement were confidential. Last year, victims and relatives of victims reached an $11 million settlement with the bus company, Global Limo, Inc. and BusBank, the travel broker that hired it.

A federal inquiry into the deaths found that the bus fire started when poorly lubricated wheel bearings overheated, igniting a tire. The fire spread to oxygen canisters in the bus’s cabin, causing them to explode. Those who died in the fire were too frail to escape the bus on their own. While 23 patients perished, 14 passengers survived.

When a loved one is claimed by an accident, their families are left behind to pick up the pieces of shattered lives. The radical changes that the death of a family member causes can be overwhelming, but it is important to seek justice against those that were negligent.

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