Virginia Lawyers Weekly: Liability hotly contested in pedestrian vs. bus accident –
Monday, October 5, 2015
SETTLEMENTS AND VERDICTS IN ALL CASES DEPEND ON VARIOUS FACTORS AND CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH ARE UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. THEREFORE, PAST RESULTS IN CASES ARE NOT A GUARANTEE OR PREDICTION OF SIMILAR RESULTS IN FUTURE CASES WHICH THE ALLEN LAW FIRM AND ITS LAWYERS MAY UNDERTAKE.
Settlement Amount: $500,000
Attorney for plaintiff: Jason W. Konvicka, Richmond - Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen
By Virginia Lawyers Weekly
Published: October 5, 2015
This personal injury action arises out of a bus versus pedestrian accident. Plaintiff was struck by a bus owned and operated by the defendants when it made a right-hand turn at a busy urban intersection in central Virginia. The accident occurred at approximately 10:35 a.m. on a weekday. The incident was recorded in part by a security camera mounted on a nearby building and surveillance video cameras mounted inside the bus. None of the cameras showed the bus actually striking the plaintiff. However, the plaintiff and bus were shown at various times prior to and after the collision.
Liability was hotly contested. The videos and deposition testimony of the parties and witnesses confirmed that the plaintiff attempted to cross the intersection with the protection of the “walk” signal. However, she was not crossing the intersection using the designated crosswalk and instead was crossing approximately 10-15 feet to the right of it. In addition, video from the bus suggested that the plaintiff was looking at her cell phone while crossing the intersection. The plaintiff also testified that she did not see the bus at any time before it struck her. The bus driver testified that he never saw the plaintiff as he attempted his right turn. Video from the bus suggested that the plaintiff was visible briefly as she attempted to cross the street, but also that she was in the driver’s blind spot. Plaintiff argued that the defendant driver was negligent for failing to adequately scan for pedestrians as he was making a right hand turn. Defendants argued that their driver acted reasonably under the circumstances, that the driver would have seen the plaintiff if she had been in the marked crosswalk, and that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent.
The plaintiff suffered various orthopedic injuries as a result of the crash, including a left anterior wall acetabular fracture, right mid-shaft clavicle fracture, left sacral fracture, fractures of right ribs 2, 3, 4 and 5, right superior pubic rami fracture, right inferior pubic rami fracture, left proximal fibular head fracture, left foot navicular fracture, left periorbital hematoma, left parietal head hematoma, numerous abrasions and tire marks to her left and right upper extremities.
None of the plaintiff’s injuries required surgery. She was hospitalized for 17 days, although the length of the stay was due in part to lack of health insurance and difficulty locating an appropriate place for her to stay after discharge. Ultimately, she moved to Maryland, where she rented an apartment, remained on bed rest and relied on her mother for support with ADLs over the next eight weeks.
Approximately four months after the crash, the plaintiff told her orthopedic surgeon that she had been experiencing headaches and scalp numbness in the area of her prior hematoma that persisted since the accident. Dr. Greg Domson referred the plaintiff to Richard Kunz, M.D., who works in the Concussion Care Clinic at VCU Medical Center. Dr. Kunz saw the plaintiff for the first time six months after the accident and referred her to Jeffrey Kreutzer, Ph.D., for a neuropsychological evaluation. Neuropsychological testing administered by Dr. Kreutzer supported a diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury and post-concussive syndrome. This aspect of the case was also challenged by the defendants since the plaintiff had no documented signs of a concussion or brain injury in any of her initial hospital records. The plaintiff had also successfully returned to work where she received two positive performance evaluations and two pay increases, continued to drive a car and was able to live a normal, active and independent life. In addition, neuropsychological testing administered by the defense neuropsychologist (with the assistance of an interpreter) suggested that her earlier low test scores (primarily in verbal domains) were due to the fact that an interpreter was not utilized during the earlier testing and English was the plaintiff’s second language.
With regard to the orthopedic injuries, the plaintiff continues to experience pain in her left ankle and periodic pain in her hips. Dr. Domson was prepared to testify that, given the nature of the left acetabular fracture and the plaintiff’s young age, she is likely to experience post-traumatic arthritis necessitating a total hip replacement (and two revision surgeries) in the future. The defendants retained an orthopedic surgeon, Cyrus Krump, M.D., who testified that the plaintiff will not require a left hip replacement in the future due to the fact that her acetabular fracture was non-displaced and did not require surgery or traction.
The case settled during mediation one month prior to trial.
Type of action: Personal injury – bus/pedestrian accident
Injuries alleged: Various non-operative orthopedic injuries, mild traumatic brain injury, post-concussive syndrome
Date resolved: July 30, 2015
Special damages: Past medical bills – $99,066.34; past wage loss – $7,897.46; future medical bills – $307,417; future wage loss – $20,769.12
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorney for plaintiff: Jason W. Konvicka, Richmond
Attorneys for defendants: John R. Owen and Emily P. Bishop, Richmond
Plaintiff’s experts: Greg Domson, M.D., orthopedic surgery; Richard Kunz, M.D., physical medicine and rehabilitation; Jeffrey Kreutzer, Ph.D., neuropsychology; Sharon Reavis, life care planning
Defendants’ expert: Cyrus Krump, M.D., orthopedic surgery; James Wade, Ph.D., neuropsychology; Isabell Richmond, M.D., neurosurgery