A Woman is Awarded $14M in Lawsuit Against a Public Bus for a Broken Back Injury she Suffered while Riding the Bus. In California, a woman was award $14M for an injury that she suffered when a bus driver for a bus she was riding went over a speed bump in a school zone going over two times the legal limit and then berated the woman when she hollered out in pain. The woman suffered a factored vertebra. The agency is reviewing the verdict to determine its next steps. In Georgia, with the wide use of public transportation with buses and the MARTA train, it is important to note these types of cases as precedent for what might happen in similar situations in Georgia.
Under Georgia Law, a similar verdict may have been rendered as Georgia Law clearly states that a common carrier has the duty to exercise extraordinary care to protect passengers on its vehicle. This shown in the case of McBride v. Ga. Ry. & Electric Co., 125 Ga. 515, 516 (54 S. E. 674) whereby the executrix’s husband was injured while departing from a bus owned by the company, and when the case was initiated the court held that the company had the duty to exercise extraordinary diligence to protect an alighting passenger that extended not only to take the passenger to his destination and give him a reasonable time to depart from the conveyance but also to see to it that he was safely deposited at such destination and had secured a safe footing upon the street. The court in that case also found that, once the company discharged its duty which it owed to the passenger, it could not be held liable.
Similarly, in Beardsley v. Suburban Coach Co., 83 Ga. App. 381 (63 S. E. 2d 911) the passenger was injured when the back doors of the bus on which she was riding flew open violently when she pushed them to open. The husband of the injured passenger brought a personal injury action against the bus company alleging negligence. The court held that while there was no allegation that the bus driver knew that the passenger was having trouble with the door, in the exercise of extraordinary care toward a passenger, a jury would be authorized to find such bus driver lacking in the exercise of extraordinary care who committed an act that might result in injury to a passenger attempting to alight from the bus, whether the driver actually knew that the passenger was attempting to alight or not.
There are numerous other decisions to the same effect. Therefore, in Georgia, if you are on a MARTA bus, a Cobb County Transit Bus, or the like, then the bus company and the bus driver have a duty to exercise not just reasonable care, but extraordinary care, for the safety of its passengers. In the case in California, the verdict seems unusually high, however. In that case, the jury may have been very sympathetic to the woman since the bus driver berated her when she screamed out in pain. Hence, the large verdict of $ 14M. It is also possible that the woman suffered permanent disabilities as a result of her injuries and that also could explain the high verdict.
If you are injured on a bus in Georgia, then please Contact Us immediately as we are experts in these types of cases. As with tractor-trailer cases as the one that I discussed in my prior blog post, the investigators for the bus company will be at the scene of the accident immediately to determine if there is fault on the part of the bus company and will try to do anything to absolve the bus company of liability, or, at the very least to minimize liability on the part of the bus company and/or the bus driver. Therefore, it is imperative that you have legal counsel on your side to protect your interests, make sure that you receive immediate and proper medical treatment, and that you receive all of the just compensation that you deserve.