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ARTICLE ID 162107

$________ - BUS NEGLIGENCE - DEFENDANT DRIVER OF SENIOR CITIZEN BUS LOSES CONTROL AND COLLIDES WITH PARKED VEHICLES - AUTO PROPELLED INTO SIDEWALK - PEDESTRIAN SUFFERS FATAL CRUSH INJURIES - GREEN/BITNER DAMAGES.

Ocean County, NJ

The plaintiff contended that the driver of a senior citizen bus negligently applied the accelerator pedal, rather than the brake pedal, moments after placing the bus in drive after dropping off her passengers. The plaintiff maintained that as a result, one of the vehicles parked on the street that was struck by the bus was propelled into the 58-year-old sidewalk pedestrian, causing severe crush injuries that took her life. The defendant driver indicated in discovery that there was sudden unintended acceleration when she placed the bus into drive. The defendant testified that she applied the brake pedal, but the brakes were not functioning.

The defendant’s carrier retained an automotive expert, and this expert, as well as the plaintiff’s automotive engineer, found that there was no indication of a mechanical malfunction. The plaintiff would have argued that it was very likely that the defendant driver initially applied the gas pedal and then attempting to depress the brake pedal, inadvertently applied the accelerator pedal again, resulting in the incident.

Portions of the accident, in which the defendant struck parked vehicles, were captured on a neighboring store’s surveillance camera. The video did not depict the decedent being struck. Numerous individuals had witnessed the accident. The evidence disclosed that the decedent was conscious for ten to 15 minutes after suffering the massive crush injuries, and the plaintiff would have argued that the pain and suffering was extensive.

The decedent was married and had two adult daughters who were married. The decedent worked part-time as an Avon salesperson and had very limited earnings. The plaintiff’s economist would have discussed the lost value of household services and intangibles such as guidance and advice. The expert concluded that the loss of household services to the husband approximated $________ and would have also discussed approximately $________ as to the value to the husband’s of loss of care, companionship guidance and advice. The expert would have based his calculations on the decedent’s actuarial age and the projections assumed losses until the year ________.

The plaintiff’s expert would have also projected a total of approximately $________ in loss of parental nurture and advice to the daughters. The testimony would have reflected that the daughters lived relatively close to their mother and that the family was very close knit.

The defendant had very significant coverage. The case settled for $________.

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