A Los Angeles jury recently decided that the County Metropolitan Transportation Authority should pay $13.8 million to a 58-year-old man who was partially paralyzed in a crash with a parked big-rig, according to an Associated Press news report posted on the San Diego Union Tribune’s Web site.
Joseph L. Garcia was in a bus that was traveling west on Santa Monica Boulevard on June 25, 2005 when the bus hit the big-rig. All six passengers who were on board were hurt, but Garcia suffered the most serious injuries including permanent brain damage and paralysis on the left side of his body.
The jury deliberated a day before returning a verdict on June 11. Interestingly enough, Garcia’s attorney had asked the jury for a $40-million award. MTA officials said they accept the jury’s verdict. They even tell the Associated Press that it was an “unfortunate situation” and that they tried to settle the case and had told the plaintiff’s attorney all along that they would cover his medical expenses. According to the plaintiff’s attorney, MTA had offered $5 million to settle the case before the trial began.
The fact that MTA tried to settle the case and their comments after the jury returned with the verdict, clearly indicate that the agency understands that it is liable and responsible for what happened to the victim. The plaintiff’s attorney also rejected the settlement because he knew that Garcia will get more if the case went to trial.
Bus and train accidents are becoming exceedingly common in Southern California. These accidents often result in serious personal injuries or fatalities. The causes of bus accidents may range from driver negligence and bad roadways to defective products and improper vehicle maintenance. If you are a passenger on a bus that is involved in such an accident, the bus company – whether public or private – owes you the “duty of utmost care,” which is higher than the negligence duty owned by bus companies to drivers of other vehicles and pedestrians.
If you have been seriously injured in a bus accident, we at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options and assess your case. Claim for damages against a public entity or governmental agency is a complex process, which is bound by strict time limitations, as short as 180 days.
Consultations for people who have been severely injured or suffered the loss of a family member are always free with me. Call for an appointment 800-561-4887.