The estate and parents of Adam Herold, one of the Humboldt hockey players killed in the highway bus accident, is suing the semi-truck driver, trucking company, and the manufacturer of the bus.
The horrific accident occurred on April 6, 2018 at about 4:30 p.m. at the intersection of highways 35 and 335 (known as “Armley Corner”). A bus made up of junior hockey team players, coaches, the team radio announcer among others were headed to a playoff game. As a result of the accident, sixteen were killed and another thirteen were injured.
Russell and Raelene Herold and the estate of Adam Herold (the “Plaintiffs”) have filed a Statement of Claim at the Regina Court of Queen’s Bench. The Statement of Claim states that they are seeking an unspecified amount in damages, expenses, costs, and interest. Adam Herold was the youngest member of the Humboldt team at 16 years of age.
The Plaintiffs have commenced their lawsuit against the man who was driving the semi-truck, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu (“Sidhu”); the Alberta-based trucking company, Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd; and the unidentified manufacturer of the bus that transported the Humboldt Broncos.
According to the Statement of Claim (a written statement by the Paintiffs setting out the facts they intend to rely on and the relief they seek), the Plaintiffs allege that the sight lines for northbound traffic on highway 35 are not sufficient to allow drivers to see the traffic approaching the intersection from highway 335, contrary to provincial rules and regulations. The Plaintiffs also claim that there have been many accidents at the Armley Corner intersection prior to the accident in question. They further allege that Sidhu, the driver of the semi-truck, had inadequate training (only two weeks) and had failed to stop at a flashing stop sign at the rural intersection.
The Statement of Claims contains allegations that the bus itself was defective and posed a risk to its passengers due to the roof design, the lack of shoulder harness seat belts, and the lack of an early warning safety feature to warn the driver of a potential accident.
The Plaintiffs are also seeking a number of “declaratory orders” from the court. These orders include:
- That the intersection in question be found unsafe to drive on as it is currently designed and maintained;
- That the sight lines at the intersection are unsafe for northbound traffic;
- That coach buses carrying sports teams in Saskatchewan be equipped with shoulder harness seat belts and other safety devices, such as early warning devices;
- That the roof of the bus was not designed or manufactured to ensure it stayed in place in an accident; and
- That all semi-truck drivers pass “strict safety tests” before being allowed to haul “Super B Trailers” in Saskatchewan.
The Plaintiffs are also asking the court to find that the Automobile Accident Insurance Act and the Fatal Accidents Act are outdated and do not adequately address compensation for victims and their families.
The Plaintiffs claim that Adam Herold would have played in the National Hockey League and had the potential to earn $20 to $30 million over the course of his NHL career. They also maintain that outside of hockey their son would have taken over the family farm near Montmartre, Saskatchewan.
The Herolds’ allege that they are suffering from extreme physical and emotional pain and suffering as a result of the accident that has caused them to lose significant enjoyment of life. They are also seeking damages for medical, funeral, and counselling expenses, and loss of earnings.
The Statement of Claim is made up of details that have not yet been proven in court. A Statement of Defence has not, as of yet, been filed by the Defendants.
CRIMINAL CHARGES PENDING
On July 6, 2018, Jaskirat Sidhu, the truck driver involved in this terrible accident, was arrested and charged with 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily injury.
Sidhu recently appeared in court in Saskatchewan. He was released on $1,000 bail and must abide by several conditions, including that he must reside at his home in Calgary, he must follow a curfew, he cannot drive, and he must surrender his passport.
NEW MANDATORY DRIVER TRAINING
In Alberta, the province plans on making driver training for new commercial truckers mandatory as early as January 2019. This training will apply to individuals seeking their Class 1 (tractor trailer), Class 2 (bus), and Class S (school bus) licences.
Alberta will also be eliminating temporary 60-day safety certificates for newly registered trucking companies, thus eliminating the “chameleon carrier”. This is in an effort to eliminate those trucking companies that simply change their name and begin operation under another name following a suspension for safety violations.
Transportation Minister Brian Mason explained:
We’re the only province that issues these temporary safety certificates and we’re going to be ending that practice. Carriers will have to comply with requirements of a safety certificate before they can start operation, not after.
The province is also making plans for changes to the road test model for Class 1 and Class 2 licences and they are considering a mandatory compliance review for new carriers within nine months to a year from the day they open, and ongoing.
Ontario is currently the only province with a mandatory entry-level training program, which requires all drivers to complete a minimum of 103.5 hours of training before they can road test a semi-truck and they must show they can handle a loaded truck on major highways.
Cuming & Gillespie LLP will continue to provide updates through this blog as we receive further information on any new developments.
In the meantime, if you or a loved one have suffered a serious personal injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have suffered. Please contact the award winning lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP either online or by calling 403-571-0555. We can get started with a free case evaluation and are dedicated to providing you with the legal help you deserve.