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WMATA Bus Injury Settlement

Monday, January 23rd, 2017 By

On February 10, 2001, District of Columbia resident, 57-year-old Barbara Joyner’s life changed forever. That day, the retired duty nurse was a passenger on a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) bus. As a result of her decision to take the bus that day, she became severely injured and her life was irrevocably changed. One might assume her injuries came as a result of a bus crash since according to a 2010 study from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, there was an average of 63,000 buses involved in crashes from 199 to 2005. In these accidents, there were 14,000 that caused injuries to the passengers. The study also found inter-city buses to have a higher risk of accidents. Therefore, to assume Barbara’s injury was a result of a bus crash of some type makes sense. However, a bus accident was not in fact what lead to the victim’s injuries in this case.

The Cause of Barbara Joyner’s Injury

Barbara’s bus made an 180-degree turn in order to get into the station at Minnesota Avenue. As a result, the placement of the bus when parked created an optical illusion. This made it seem from Barbara’s point-of-view as if the bus was flush with the curb and she could safely disembark. This wasn’t the case, though. The bus was instead parked at an odd angle from the sidewalk. The sidewalk was, in fact, two to three feet away from the bus, even though it looked flush. Barbara happened to be the first passenger to exit the bus. As she was exiting, she stepped down, assuming there was a sidewalk underfoot. Due to the awkward placement of the bus, she stepped down into thin air. This caused her to fall between the bus and sidewalk. The passengers who followed her off the bus inadvertently stepped on her as she struggled to regain her balance. To make matters worse, the bus driver called out to Barbara, “You didn’t fall off my bus! You must be stupid!” Not only was the bus driver uncompassionate towards his passenger’s plight, he was also inexperienced as he had only been on the job for around 10 months and was talking on a cell phone and acting carelessly while driving.

Long Term Injuries

Barbara suffered contusions and bruises throughout her whole body. She also had a navicular fracture in her left foot. This injury required grafting of the bone from her knee onto her foot. The process required two surgeries because doctors had to go back in and remove hardware from her foot and leg. The end result caused significant scarring to Barbara’s foot and leg. She was also placed in a cast multiple times and had to use a walker and cane during her rehabilitation. As one might image, her daily activities were greatly altered. She claims she was unable to complete many of the tasks that she was able to handle before, which has led to great hardship.

The Settlement

Barbara sought the help of attorney Joel DuBoff in an effort to recoup the losses she suffered as a result of this unfortunate accident. Her medical bills alone were estimated in excess of $54,000 as a result of the ordeal. The plaintiff, in this case, was awarded a huge verdict of $10,000,000 on January 27th, 2003. Attorney DuBoff was able to prove that the plaintiff, Barbara, became a captive in her own home after the accident. Furthermore, she was on a fixed income and had no physical or financial help available. As a result, the jury ruled in her favor after a deliberation of two and a half hours. Thankfully, this verdict will go a long way in restoring the quality of life Barbara lost through no fault of her own.

What to do After a Bus Accident

If you someone you love have been injured as a result of riding a bus, contact us at DuBoff & Associates, Chartered. We are the law firm that cares, and due to our past experience with this type of case, we can offer  you valuable counsel, as we work to restore your life. Contact us today to learn more.

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