Public Transportation Injury Verdicts


Public transportation accidents can be especially serious, simply because of the size of the vehicles involved and the number of passengers and bystanders who may be impacted by a single accident. A bus accident or railroad accident can claim many victims, and the extent of injuries and of contributory negligence may vary dramatically.

The public transportation-related personal injury verdicts and settlements below have been collected from news sources around the country to demonstrate a range of possible injuries, liabilities, and outcomes.

What Happens if You're Injured in a Public Transportation Accident?

Every personal injury case, whether related to a public transportation accident or some other kind of injury, is unique. If you've been injured in a train, bus, airplane, or other common carrier accident, talk to a local personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights.

*Results taken from recent news articles. Results not typical. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Lawyer's Family wins $8.75 Million in Wrongful Death Against NYC

The family of John Healy was awarded $8.75 million in its case against the city for Healy's death in the October 15, 2003 Staten Island Ferry crash. This is believed to be the highest wrongful death payout in the crash. Paul Esposito's $8.9 million settlement in February 2007 for losing both legs was the only one higher. The ferry crash claimed 11 people's lives and injured many more when Andrew J. Barberi slammed into a concrete pier. New York City Officials reported that this is one of 127 claims that have been settled for a total of $45 million; there are still 44 cases remaining. The city tried to take the case into federal court to limit damage payouts to a total of $14.4 million under maritime law, but Judge Edward Korman ruled the city couldn't limit its liability for the deaths and injuries caused by criminal acts of the pilot and former director of the ferry service.

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Families Win Wrongful Death Lawsuit

September 4, 2008

A Minnesota jury returned a $24 million verdict in a wrongful death lawsuit against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. The families of Brian Frazier, Harry Rhoades, Bridgette Shannon and Corey Chase will each receive $6 million for the deaths of the four in a train crash in Anoka, MN in 2003. According to the original investigation, 20-year-old Frazier drove around the gates and into the path of the train with passengers Rhoades, 19, Shannon, 17, and Chase, 20; however, the jury found the railway responsible for the four deaths because the crossing arms on North Ferry Street did not come down when the train approached the intersection. The railway will appeal the verdict as it feels that Frazier ignored the warning signals.

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$1.97 Million for Train Derailment Injuries

A Hinds County Circuit Court jury has awarded a California couple $1.97 million for injuries they suffered in a 2004 Amtrak train crash near Flora, Mississippi. Fifty-eight-year-old Sheila Doyle Lortz, of Murphys, California, suffered back and head injuries and still has chronic pain as a result of the train derailment, while her husband Charles sustained minor injuries in the accident. The Lortz's attorneys revealed at trial that Sheila had $295,000 in medical expenses, as well as medication costs of $12,162. The Lortz's lawsuit is only one of several filed in the accident, which killed one person and injured dozens.

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$2.3 Million for Death of Pedestrians Hit by DC Metro bus

The Washington, D.C. Metro transit authority has agreed to a settlement to resolve a wrongful death lawsuit against the company. The victims included 59-year-old Martha Stringer Schoenborn and 54-year-old Sally Dean McGhee, who were hit by a Metrobus in a crosswalk in downtown D.C. and killed. The lawsuit filed by Schoenborn's husband sought damages for the negligence of driver Victor Kolako, who had already pleaded guilty to two felony counts of negligent homicide. As part of the settlement agreement, D.C. Metro improved safety precautions and added a left-turn lane and left-turn arrow at the intersection where the accident occurred.

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$1.375 million for death in Staten Island public transportation crash

While Chicago has been dealing with public transportation injuries, New York has been handling with injuries of its own. A recent settlement from the city of New York recently was awarded to Osserritta Robinson, the widow of a man killed in the 2003 Staten Island ferry crash. The city agreed to pay $1.375 million to resolve her wrongful death lawsuit, one of many filed for the 11 deaths and many more injuries that occurred when the Andrew J. Barberi ferry crashed into the Staten Island terminal in 2003.

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$1.25 million for injuries sustained during Chicago "El" train derailment

The Blue Line of the Chicago "El" train derailed in July 2006, causing personal injuries and smoke inhalation injuries to a number of people. The first settlement of more than 100 lawsuits filed against the Chicago Transportation Authority was for $1.25 million to an 85-year-old woman named Elfa Lari, who suffered a brain hemorrhage, broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and other injuries and other injuries while evacuating the train in the subway tunnel. Rescue workers found the woman on the train tracks below the evacuation catwalk. A Cook County judge found the CTA to be responsible in the accident, while will lead to further negotiation over not only Lari's case but also the dozens of pending lawsuits.

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$25 million for victims of Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minnesota

The families of victims of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse were approved to receive a settlement of $25 million total by the Minnesota state Senate Finance Committee for lawsuits brought against the state for wrongful death. Two bills have been offered: the Senate bill puts a cap of $400,000 per claim, and the House bill has no limit, while also barring insurance companies from reducing payments to individuals in proportion to the state award. The bill must still be agreed upon by both houses, and approved by the governor to be finalized.

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$10 Million for Brain Injury in Boston Bus Accident

A jury in Middlesex County, Massachusetts awarded $10 million to a woman hit by a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) bus who suffered permanent brain damage as a result of the accident. The bus hit her while she was waiting at a bus stop on an icy road in February 2004, and she was thrown 5 feet against a parked car, where she fell unconscious, according to Boston Globe reports. As a result of the injury, she has balance and memory trouble, as well as sensitivity to light and reading comprehension trouble. She requires constant care, which costs around $200,000 per year. The MBTA offered a settlement of $1 million before trial.

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Three Victims Awarded $2.6 Million In Accident Caused by Poor Road Design

Alfred Yahoah of Ghana was killed and two Angola penitentiary workers were injured in a 2001 car crash on February 26, 2001. The jury found the Department of Transportation mostly at fault for the accident because of poor road design that caused water to flow across the state roadway during a rainstorm. Kelly Glass Logging was also found partially at fault for blocking a nearby roadside ditch which contributed to the water flow. Yamoah's son was awarded $1.1 million for the wrongful death of his father. The jury also awarded $1.5 million to Taffy McCray who suffered disfiguring injuries and $64,995 to Sherlyn Brooks who suffered minor injuries in the accident.

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LA man receives $13.8 million from bus accident

A Los Angeles citizen named Robert L. Garcia was awarded $13.8 million from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority in compensation for personal injuries sustained in a bus crash that left him partially paralyzed. An MTA bus hit a semi truck parked on Santa Monica Boulevard while Garcia was riding. The accident injured him and five other passengers. Garcia was inflicted by permanent brain damage and paralysis on his left side. Garcia's California personal injury lawyer sought an award of $40 million, which was much higher than the MTA's original personal injury settlement offer of $5 million.

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$7 million class action settlement receives preliminary approval

A federal judge recently gave preliminary approval to a $7 million class action settlement involving a 2002 train derailment and chemical spill in North Dakota. Plaintiff's attorneys will receive one-third of the settlement. The remaining two-thirds of the settlement will be for people who were affected by the derailment who have not filed individual lawsuits. Hundreds of people have already individually sued the Calgary, Alberta-based railroad that has its U.S. Headquarters in Minneapolis. In 2002, an early morning derailment on the west edge of Minot, North Dakota released a cloud of anhydrous ammonia, a toxic farm fertilizer. One man died while trying to escape the toxic event while hundreds of other people were treated for burns and breathing problems. The National Safety Board later ruled that inadequate track maintenance and inspections were to blame.

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$13.8 million awarded for bus crash

A Los Angeles jury recently awarded $13.8 million to a bus passenger who was partially paralyzed following a crash with a parked big-rig. Joseph Garcia was riding the bus west on Santa Monica Boulevard in 2005 when the driver hit the parked truck. All six passengers were injured in the bus accident>, with Garcia being left with permanent brain damage and paralysis on his left side. The jury decided that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority was responsible for the damages.

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$8.4 Million Awarded For Injuries Suffered By Railroad Worker in Train Accident

In October 2004, Keith Baird was run over by three train cars and lost his left leg. He filed a lawsuit against his employer, Louisville & Indiana Railroad, Company for negligence leading to his severe personal injury. He is only 27 and has had to endure more than 36 operations on his legs. His lawyer argued that a supervisor neglected to warn him the railroad cars were coming towards Baird. A jury found the railroad company 90% responsible and awarded Baird $8.4 million for his injuries. The parties subsequently settled for $7.9 million payable in 30 days.

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$4.3 Million Awarded for Connecticut Metro-North Train Death

The estate of Robert Ard Jr. was awarded $4,344,053 for damages in the lawsuit claiming the Connecticut Metro-North was responsible for Ard's death. Ard, an assistant conductor, was crushed to death in 2004 when a train ran him over at the New Haven station. The jury concluded that Metro North did not enforce its safety procedures and therefore caused the death of Ard.

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$10.5 Million for Plane Crash Widow

The family of a man from Bellevue, WA will receive $10.5 million after a Snohomish County Superior Court jury ruled that an air show and several other parties failed to provide sufficient emergency response and fire protection when the man's experimental airplane crashed. Donald Allen Corbitt was found to have initially survived when his plane crashed at the Arlington Airport, but died while trapped in the wreckage, which caught fire. Bystanders tried unsuccessfully to douse flames with portable fire extinguishers until emergency fire and rescue teams arrived, six minutes later. Karen Corbitt, the man's widow, had sued the Northwest Experimental Aircraft Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association and the City of Arlington and its fire department.

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$8 Million for Spinal Cord Injury in Greyhound Bus Crash

A 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2005 verdict to pay a Saginaw, MI woman who is now a paraplegic $8 million in damages for a Greyhound bus crash in October, 2001. The bus was traveling from Chicago, IL to Orlando, FL when a Croatian man attacked the driver of the bus and slit his throat, causing the bus to crash. Seven passengers were killed, including the attacker. 34 others were injured. Evidence presented at the trial showed 42 other incidents in which a bus driver had been grabbed or assaulted. Greyhound has since installed barriers that protect the driver from passengers. Surles, now 61, had been afraid to fly because of the September 11 attacks. Her injuries resulting from the accident require 24-hour care.

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$37.5 Million for Train Track Accident

Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCS) paid a $37.5 million settlement to the family of four who were struck by a train in 2001. The rail company had been repairing a crossing in Arcadia, LA and temporarily left it to attend to another crossing when a mother and four daughters in the Kemp family crossed the tracks, seeing only covered lights at the intersection when a train struck them. Mrs. Kemp is now a quadriplegic on life support with a feeding tube. One daughter was killed, with two other suffering severe brain injuries.

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$7.7 Million for Amputated Leg after Bicyclist Hits Bus

Angelo Lopez will receive $7.7 million for a traffic accident that caused the amputation of his leg. A New York jury determined that Lopez was only 30% liable for an accident in which Lopez, while riding a bicycle, collided with a bus. The bus driver, Luis Jimenez, did not stop, and the left rear wheel of the bus crush Lopez's right leg and foot. The judgment for $11 million was reduced to $7.7 because Lopez was found to be responsible for the initial collision.

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$10 million for 2003 Bus Accident

Youlanda Scott of Long Island, NY will receive $10 million for a bus accident that severed both her legs. Scott was sitting on a bench outside the Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus terminal when the driver of a Long Island Bus lost control of the vehicle, trapping Scott beneath a pile of metal and debris. Scott filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Cummins Engine Co., and Nassau County for mechanical problems that caused the accident. The three defendants agreed to pay Scott $10 million.

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$352,000 settlement for bus collision

Charles Amerio, 38, of Lahaina, Hawaii was awarded a $352,000 verdict against Roberts Tours & Transportation for a 2001 incident. Amerio suffered permanent injuries to his neck, arm, shoulder, and lower back when he was hit by a bus. Amerio was sitting on his motorcycle waiting for the bus when the bus backed into him. Roberts Tours & Transportation had issued 11 company warnings to the bus driver over 13 years for speeding, causing accidents, and other acts. The company also failed to provide a spotter, which the bus driver had requested, because a blind spot behind the bus could not be seen from side-view mirrors.

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$3 million settlement with ferry accident victim

The city of New York settled with the estate of a woman who died in a tragic Staten Island ferry accident. Debra Castro died two months after the crash, when the boat collided with a concrete pier. Ten other people were killed in the collision.

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$150,000 settlement for train accident

A Pennsylvania couple reached a settlement with Amtrak after they sustained injuries in a train crash in Florida. Robert Simmers injured his back and kidneys, while his wife received cuts and bruises in a crash that the National Transportation Safety Board concluded was a result of faulty maintenance on the train tracks. 140 other people traveling from Florida to Virginia were also hurt in the crash.

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$11.8 million awarded for train-automobile accident

A jury awarded $11.8 million to Jennifer Kilpatrick, who was hurt when the train she was riding on derailed after a collision with a truck stopped on the tracks. Kilpatrick, who was on her way to work at the time, must use a walker or wheelchair as a result of her injuries.

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$1.9 million awarded for bus injury

A Los Angeles jury awarded $1.9 million to a man who was injured while trying to board a bus. Haroun Mehdipour sustained a traumatic brain injury and other injuries when the driver closed the door and pulled away from the curb while the 79-year-old man was touching the bus, running him over. The original jury verdict was $2.6 million, but was reduced by 25% due to Mehdipour's own negligence.

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$2.5 million settlement for tram injury

Los Angeles County agreed to pay a $2.5 million settlement to a woman who was injured by a tram at the Los Angeles County Arboretum. Deanna Sprinkel was dragged 20 or 30 feet after being hit by the tram. Sprinkel sustained significant injuries to her knees and her back, and she was unable to return to her work as a financial assistant.

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