Bus Accident Verdicts and Settlements

  1. Melissa B. – Question as to which vehicle had green light
  2. X-J – Pedestrian pinned by rear wheel
  3. Alicia C. – 10 year old killed, mother injured


Bus Accident – Question as to which vehicle had green light
XIX/15-6 MOTOR VEHICLE – BUS- QUESTION OF LIGHTS OTHER VEHICLE LIABLE BUS PASSENGER SUFFERS TORN MENISCUS AND HERNIATED LUMBAR DISC

Melissa B. v. NYCTA, Iris Dawson, Diakite Youssouf, and Ryder Truck Rental 47339/97 2-week trial Verdict 8/23/01 Kings Supreme

Judge: Richard D. Huttner

Verdict: $125,000 v. Youssouf and Ryder (6/0). Breakdown: $50,000 for past pain and suffering; $25,000 for future pain and suffering; $30,000 for past lost earnings; $10,000 for future lost earnings; $10,000 for future medical expenses.

Defense verdicy for NYCTA and Dawson. Jury; 1 male, 5 female.

Pltf. Atty: Thomas P. Cleere of Daniel Buttafuoco & Associates, Woodbury

Deft. Atty: Paul Verbesey of Kramer, Martynetz & V erbesey , Manhattan, for NYCT A and Dawson Robert I. Pfuhler of Connors & Connors, Staten Island, for Youssoufand Ryder

Facts: The accident occurred on 10/19/96 at 6:25 AM at the intersection of Flatbush and DeKalb Aves. in Brooklyn. Pltf., a 58- year-old hospital worker at the time, was a passenger on a City bus, driven by Deft. Dawson, when it was hit by a Ryder truck driven by Deft. Youssouf (both 100% liable). Each driver claimed to have a green light. An eyewitness testified that the Transit Authority bus had the green light.

Injuries: torn meniscus of the right knee with arthroscopic surgery; herniated lumbar disc at L4-5. Deft. contended that Pltf.’s injuries were degenerative and caused by her overweight condition and her age. Deft. also argued that the arthroscopic surgery was successful and that the meniscus was not completely torn. Pltf. had pre- existing cardiac and pancreatic problems. Pltf. s counsel stated that a post-verdict interview of the jury indicated that they felt that Pltf. was no longer working due to other medical problems. Demonstrative evidence: models and charts of the knee and back. Offer: $150,000; demand: $200,000; amount asked of jury: $300,000. Jury deliberation: 4 hours.

Pltf. Experts:

Dr. Ali Guy, physiatrist, Manhattan; Stuart Sachnin, vocational economist, Manhattan

Deft. Expert:

Dr. Barry Jupiter, orth. surg., Hewlett.

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Bus Accident – Plaintiff Pinned Under Bus
X/36-9 BUS ACCIDENT – PEDESTRIAN PINNED BY REAR WHEEL

DEGLOVING INJURIES TO FOOT AND ARM WITH SCARRING

X. J. v. Metropolitan Suburban Bus Authority and Robert Giovi 17811/89 3-week trial Verdict 1/28/93 Judge John DiNoto, Nassau Supreme

VERDICT: $851,013, reduced to $246,793.77 for 71% comparative negligence of Pltf. (6/0). Breakdown: $59,013 for past lost earnings; $ 510,000 for past pain and suffering; $32,000 for future medical expenses; $ 50,000 for future lost earnings; $200,000 for future pain and suffering. Jury: 4 male, 2 female.

Pltf. Atty: Daniel P. Buttafuoco, Mineola.

Deft. Atty: Paul Devine of Curtis, Zaklukiewicz, Vasile, Devine & McElhenny, Merrick.

Facts: The accident occurred on 3/30/88 at 8:55 AM at Freeport Plaza North. Pltf., a 17-year-old high school senior, claimed that she was dragged by Deft.’s bus which was driven by Deft. Giovi. Pltf. claimed that she ran to board the bus but the front door closed when she arrived. She testified that she banged on the side of the bus to alert the bus driver as the bus began to pull away, but the driver did not stop. Pltf. claimed that she saw the bus start to make a right turn to travel underneath the Long Island Railroad tracks at the Freeport railroad station, but she claimed that Deft. did not steer the bus through the turn correctly in that the right rear tandem wheel mounted the curb and corner, pinned her under the right rear wheel, and dragged her for approximately 20 feet. The rescue team had to lift the bus to rescue Pltf. by using inflatable air bags. She remained conscious throughout the rescue, which took approximately 30 minutes.

Deft. denied that the bus mounted the curb when it made the turn. Deft. Giovi testified that halfway through the turn he heard a banging noise coming from the right rear of the bus and passengers yelled at him to stop the bus.

The driver claimed that he got out of the bus and then saw Pltf. for the first time pinned under the wheel. Deft.’s expert testified that based on the position of the bus after the accident, it was impossible for it to have come in contact with the curb. A passenger on the bus testified that she saw Pltf. run to the bus while it was stopped and that she yelled at the bus driver to wait for more passengers. She also claimed that she saw Pltf. bang on the side of the bus as it pulled away and claimed that Pltf. then disappeared. She was not sure if the bus mounted the curb.

Another passenger testified that she felt the bus mount the curb. A bus driver in another bus at the scene testified that he saw Pltf. leave the curb, run towards the rear door of the bus, and then slip and fall under the rear wheel.

Injuries: degloving injuries to the right foot and heel; degloving injuries to the left arm; tire tread scars to the left flank and abdomen. Pltf. underwent numerous skin grafting operations and was left with scars on the right thigh and buttocks, which were the donor areas. She was hospitalized at Nassau County Medical Center for 62 days. Pltf. claimed that she is unable to hold a job for an extended period of time because the skin grafts on her right foot break down, requiring long periods of bed rest. Demonstrative evidence: videotape of accident scene; enlarged police photographs; slides and enlarged photographs of Pltf.’s injuries; computer-generated diagrams of the accident scene with overlays showing the bus at different locations. The jury viewed Deft.’s bus and the scene of the accident. Offer: $150,000; demand: $750,000; amount asked of jury: $ 1,600,000 for future lost earnings; over $1,000,000 for future pain and suffering. Jury deliberation: 6 hours. Pltf. Experts: Dr. Roger Simpson, treating plastic surgeon, Garden City; Dr. Thomas Kershner, Ph.D., economist, Saratoga Springs; Grahme Fischer, engineer, Hauppauge. Deft. Expert: John McManus, engineer, White Plains.

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Bus Accident – 10 Year Old Killed, Mother Injured
XIX/27-36 BUS ACCIDENT – PEDESTRIAN – WRONGFUL DEATH OF 10- YEAR-OLD SON PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURIES ZONE OF DANGER NEGLIGENT INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

SETTLEMENT: Alicia C. v. Mountainside Transportation Co., Inc. and Raymond Secreti 47698/99 Date of Settlement 11/21/01 Kings Supreme

Pltf. Atty: Daniel P. Buttafuoco of Buttafuoco & Associates, Woodbury

Deft. Atty: Blane Magee, Garden City

This action settled for $2,000,000 before opening statements. On 12/6/99, Pltf., a 38-year-old nanny and mother of two, was walking her 10- year-old son, D., to school at approximately 8 AM when this accident occurred at the comer of Baxter and Broadway in Elmhurst, Queens. Testimony indicated that it was raining at the time. Pltf., who spoke only Spanish and used an interpreter at deposition, claimed that she began to cross the street in the crosswalk on Broadway with a green light in her favor when she was struck by Deft.’s bus, driven by Deft. Secreti, as it made a left turn from Broadway onto Baxter. Pltf. was thrown approximately 20 feet away from the bus by the impact; her son was killed when he was run over by the wheels of the bus. Note: The settlement includes an award of $150,000 for the child’s estate on his wrongful death claim. Deft. would have argued that Pltf. was contributorily negligent for the occurrence of the accident based on her deposition testimony that she did not see the bus before impact. Deft. would also have contended that Pltf. had no claim for significant lost wages, based on her $250 per week salary as a nanny/child care provider. Pltf., an illegal alien who was trained as a nurse in her native country of Paraguay, would have claimed projected lost earnings of $2,500,000, based on a nurse s salary. Deft., however, would have claimed that Pltf. could not work as a nurse in the United States because of her immigration status and inability to speak English.

Injuries: soft tissue injuries including bulging cervical and thoracic discs, confirmed by MRI; cervical radiculopathy; negligent infliction of emotional distress; post-traumatic stress disorder. Pltf. claimed that she suffered psychological injuries for being in the zone of danger. She received psychological treatment and claimed that she is completely psychologically disabled as the result of witnessing her son’s death. Carrier: Lancer Insurance.

Pltf. Experts: Pltf. would have called Dr. Pedro Rodriguez, psychologist, Manhattan; Dr. John Wilson, Ph.D., psychologist, Forensic Center for Traumatic Stress, Cleveland Heights, Ohio; Dr. Aric Hausknecht, neurologist, Hewlett.

Deft. Expert: Deft. would have called Dr. Monette Basson, neurologist, Woodside; Dr. Robert Palumbo, psychologist, New Hyde Park; Dr. Raymond Koval, orth. surg., Elmhurst; James Pascuiti, vocational rehabilitation, Springfield, New Jersey.

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