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ARTICLE ID 189266

$________ GROSS REDUCED BY 20% COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE – BUS NEGLIGENCE – PLAINTIFF IMPACTS WITH SIDE OF BUS NEGLIGENTLY ENTERING INTERSECTION AND IS DRAGGED TEN FEET – LOSS OF ONE SIDE OF FOOT – CLOSED HEAD TRAUMA – COGNITIVE DEFICITS – INABILITY TO CONTINUE JOB – DISMISSAL OF CASE AGAINST CITY FOR ALLEGED NEGLIGENCE OF TRAFFIC CONTROL OFFICER AFFIRMED BY COURT OF APPEALS.

New York County, NY

The female plaintiff, age in her mid 50s, contended that the defendant’s bus driver, who was proceeding into the busy intersection after having been gestured to enter against the red light by a NYC traffic control officer, negligently failed to make adequate observations and negligently entered at too high a rate of speed. The plaintiff contended that she was crossing with a number of other pedestrians when she impacted with the side of the bus and was dragged approximately ten feet. The plaintiff maintained that the bus stopped with her foot underneath and that she suffered severe crush injuries that resulted in the amputation of one side of the foot, including three toes.

The plaintiff contended that she suffered a closed head injury that caused cognitive deficits involving memory and concentration that will permanently prevent her from returning to her job as an analyst for a bank. The plaintiff also contended that the traffic control officer was negligently in gesturing for the bus driver to proceed when the light controlling the bus was red and pedestrians were crossing with the green light. The Court dismissed this aspect, holding that the city was immune for such a discretionary act. This dismissal was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

The plaintiff contended that when her light turned green, she and other pedestrians began to cross. The plaintiff maintained that she did not hear the whistle of the traffic control officer or notice him gesture for the pedestrians to stop. The incident was captured on nearby Macy’s surveillance video. The plaintiff pointed to the video that showed one of the pedestrians running in an apparent attempt to miss being struck by the bus, barely succeeding. The plaintiff also contended that the jury could observe that the plaintiff was crossing with other pedestrians and that it was clear that the bus driver failed to enter the intersection with the degree of caution required. The tape also depicted the plaintiff impacting with the side of the bus and being dragged.

The defendant contended that the driver entered the intersection slowly and that the incident occurred because the plaintiff failed to make adequate observations, walking into the front right side of the bus. The defendant contended that he accelerated approximately four seconds before impact and then entered the intersection very slowly. The plaintiff contended that the "black box" of the bus showed that the bus last accelerated two seconds before impact. The plaintiff maintained that it was clear that the bus driver did not inch his way across the intersection and travel with the degree of caution required.

The plaintiff suffered a closed head trauma and subarachnoid hemorrhage and had no memory of the actual collision. The court instructed the jury under the Noseworthy case that they could take her lack of recollection into account. The plaintiff maintained that she will permanently suffer significant memory and concentration deficits. The plaintiff’s foot was trapped under the bus. She suffered severe crush injuries and underwent some seven debridements and two skin grafts over a two-month period. The plaintiff contended that she will suffer severe permanent neuropathic pain and difficulties ambulating as well as a grossly deformed foot.

The plaintiff contended that because of the cognitive deficits she clearly cannot return to her bank analyst job. The plaintiff also contended that because of the severe continuing foot pain and the need for narcotic pain medication, it is evident that she will never be able to work on a full time basis and through days which are worse than others.The jury found the defendant 80% negligent, the plaintiff 20% comparatively negligent and rendered a gross award of $________. The gross award was allocated as follows: $________ for past medical bills; $________ for future medical bills; $________ for past lost earnings; $________ for future lost earnings; $________ for past pain and suffering; $________ for future pain and suffering; $________ to the husband for past loss of services and $________ to the husband for future loss of services.

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