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Collier County, FL

The plaintiff alleged that a bus, owned and operated by the defendant, negligently struck him as he rode his bicycle down a Collier County road. The defendant denied that its driver was negligent and maintained that the collision was caused when the plaintiff drove his bicycle through a stop sign and turned directly into the path of the oncoming bus. The defense alleged that the plaintiff was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision.

The plaintiff was a 41-year-old migrant worker at the time of the accident. He testified that he was riding his bicycle straight down the road in route to a store when the defendant’s bus attempted to pass him. The plaintiff claimed that the bus passed too closely and struck him with the passenger side rear-view mirror, knocking him from his bicycle.

The plaintiff was transported by helicopter from the scene of the accident to the hospital. He was comatose upon arrival. After spending a month at the hospital, the plaintiff was discharged with a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage, falx subdural hematoma, basilar skull fracture and aspiration respiratory failure, among other ailments.

The plaintiff underwent a right frontotemporal craniotomy with evacuation of the hematoma and a partial temporal lobe lobectomy. The plaintiff has not returned to work since the date of the accident. He claimed permanent hearing and memory loss, confusion and headaches.

The defendant asserted that the plaintiff was solely responsible for the accident. The defense claimed that evidence showed the plaintiff was intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of between .25 and .29 at the time of impact. The defendant’s toxicology expert testified that the plaintiff’s blood alcohol level was the equivalent of nine to 11 12 ounce beers in his system at the time of the accident. The defendant’s bus driver, as well as a passenger on the bus, testified that the plaintiff failed to stop at a stop sign and drove directly into the path of the oncoming bus. The defense contended that there was nothing that the bus driver could have done to avoid the impact.The jury found that defendant was not negligent. The defendant’s motions for attorney fees and costs are pending.

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