Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

A McHenry County jury returned the second highest personal injury verdict in the county’s history when it entered a $897,000 verdict in the case of David Fuller v. Richmond Burton High School, District 157, et al., 07 L 317 (McHenry County). The case involved a 2007 intersection accident that occurred between the plaintiff, David Fuller, and the defendant school bus driver, Rhonda Fiumetto.

The accident occurred at the intersection of Route 173 and Lakeview Road in Richmond Township. At the time of the bus accident, Fuller was attempting to make a left-hand turn onto Lakeview Road when Fiumetto’s bus drove into Fuller’s car. Fuller’s car had been stopped at the time of impact, but the bus was going in excess of 45 mph. The force of the impact caused Fuller’s car to be pushed into oncoming traffic, at which point he was hit head-on by a minivan.

While Fuller suffered some superficial face wounds and cuts, the main outcome of the intersection accident was a compression fracture of the L2 vertebrae in Fuller’s upper spine. Within twenty-four hours of the bus accident, Fuller underwent extensive surgery to try to repair his spinal fracture. Since that time, Fuller has undergone an additional two spinal fusion surgeries. In his personal injury complaint, Fuller contended that he is permanently disabled and has lost his prior employment as a sheet metal worker.

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The Illinois Appellate Court clarified the duty owed to pedestrians who are outside of set crosswalks in the personal injury lawsuit of Amanda Jimolka v. Chicago Transit Authority, et al., No. 1-10-2894 (2011). The court held that motorists only owe a duty to pedestrians who are within the limits of an identified crosswalk. As a result, the Jimolka matter was dismissed based on evidence that the plaintiff was not within a crosswalk at the time of her injury.

The bus accident at issue occurred in August 2001 near the intersection of Belmont Ave. and Clark St. in Chicago. The plaintiff, Beverly Longo, was walking across the street when she was hit by a CTA bus. Although Longo was outside the crosswalk when she was hit, her guardian alleged that the CTA and its bus driver were still at fault in the pedestrian accident.

Longo’s attorneys contended that she was not in the crosswalk because of heavy pedestrian traffic and also blamed a bike rider who was making a delivery for a sandwich shop. Longo claimed because of these impediments, she was unable to walk in the crosswalk and was forced to walk in other areas. Longo also accused the bus driver of speeding and claimed that if he had been driving at a normal speed that the bus accident could have been avoided.

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People get into routines when they drive. For example, some drivers go into autopilot as they commute to and from work, following the same route and never diverging from it. Other drivers go with the flow of traffic and might not be aware of the speed they’re driving at. However, regardless of the routine you get into, most drivers are always aware of the color a light is as they approach an intersection. Yet in the case of Charles Comer v. United Quick Transportation, Inc. and Martrell Parker, 09 L 12120, both drivers involved in an intersection accident claimed to have the green light.

The accident occurred in June 2008, at the intersection of Kostner Ave. and 16th Street in Chicago between two buses. Charles Comer was driving a CTA bus along 16th Street, while Martrell Parker was driving a school bus along Kostner Ave. Both bus drivers entered the intersection, both drivers claimed to have green lights, and both drivers claimed to have been hit by the other bus driver.

While Parker’s injuries were relatively minor, Comer suffered from knee, neck, and back injuries. The damage to his right knee was so severe that he required surgery in order to correct his medical problems. In addition, Comer’s medical condition caused him to miss one year of work as a CTA bus driver. As a result, Comer filed a personal injury lawsuit against Parker and his school bus company employer in an attempt to recover for the damages he sustained in the Chicago bus accident.

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As a personal injury attorney, you begin to see patterns in the types of injuries sustained as a result of certain accidents. For example, slip and fall injuries generally result in back, wrist, or ankle injuries. Likewise, rear-end collisions typically cause lower back and spinal injuries, as seen in the Chicago personal injury lawsuit of Joel Castillo v. Chicago Transit Authority, et al., 1343.

The plaintiff, Joel Castillo, was stopped at a red light in a Chicago intersection when he was rear-ended by a city bus. Like many victims of rear-end collisions, Castillo sustained injuries to his lower back. However, because Castillo was hit not just by another car, but by a bus, his injuries were perhaps a little more severe than most. Not only did he suffer from an herniated disc at his L5-S1 vertebrae, but also sustained a left rotator cuff tear.

Again, Castillo’s subsequent medical treatment mirrors that of most rear-end collision victims. He underwent physical therapy to try and improve the level of pain he experienced as a result of his rotator cuff tear and herniated disc. In addition, Castillo’s underwent epidural injections at the recommendation of his medical providers in an effort to relieve his continued pain.

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Typically auto accidents occur between two vehicles engaged in the driving process. It is fairly unusual for a driver to hit a parked car or standing vehicle without some contributing factors. Yet that is what happened in the Chicago bus accident that resulted in the Illinois personal injury lawsuit of Jose Maldonado v. Leona Meade, 09 L 6610 (Cook County).

In 2007, Jose Maldonado, a CTA bus driver, was sitting in his disabled bus. The bus was facing northbound on Chicago’s Sheridan Road, its flashers on. At the same time, the 89 year-old Leona Meade was driving her car northbound on Sheridan Road. Despite being on the opposite side of the street as the parked bus, Meade somehow managed to crash her car into the front of Maldonado’s CTA bus.

As a result of the Chicago car-bus accident, Maldonado suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The labrum is the area of cartilage around the shoulder socket that helps stabilize the shoulder joint. An injury in this area can require a lengthy recovery, during which time shoulder mobility is extremely limited.

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A Cook County jury came to a decision in a Chicago trucking accident case involving a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus driver and a semi-trailer. The truck driver admitted to having caused the truck accident; however, her lawyers contested the extent of the CTA bus driver’s injuries. The Illinois jury returned a verdict of $363,853 in favor of the plaintiff bus driver in Earnestine Johnson v. Marian Pociask, Mr. Bult’s, Inc., 09 L 1613.

At the time of the Chicago truck accident, the plaintiff, Earnestine Johnson, and the defendant truck driver, Marian Pociask, were both driving down Chicago’s LaSalle Street and were both making a left-hand turn onto 47th Street. However, Johnson was making the turn from the left-hand lane, while Pociask was making the turn from LaSalle’s center lane. As Pociask was turning, her truck clipped the right front bumper of Johnson’s bus.

Not only did Pociask’s truck drift into Johnson’s lane, causing the accident, but Pociask was making an illegal left-hand turn from the center, straight-only lane. At the time of the bus accident, Pociask was employed by Mr. Bult’s, a waste transportation company. Both Pociask and her employer were named as defendants at the personal injury trial and both admitted liability for the truck accident.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a warning to users of 15-passenger vans to take specific safety steps in keeping its occupants safe. There had been two recently reported fatal truck crashes, one in New York and one in Georgia involving 15-passenger vans that have rolled over and resulted in ten deaths.

NHTSA has warned that tire maintenance is essential in preventing rollover crashes. Users of 15-passenger vans are cautioned to make sure that the vehicles have appropriately-sized tires that are inflated to the correct level before each trip. NHTSA has also recommended that spare tires not be used as replacements for worn tires. Fifteen-passenger vans have a history of tire wear that necessitates rotation of tires and/or replacement on a regular basis. Many tire manufacturers recommend that tires older than ten years old not be used at all.

Many of these vans are used for church groups, non-profit organizations, colleges and public schools.

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While crossing a Chicago west side intersection with her sister, an 18-year-old woman was struck by a bus. The woman’s estate filed suit against the bus driver and the private bus company for the wrongful death of the decedent.

In any wrongful death case certain criteria must be met. Negligence must be established on behalf of the defendant and the death must be determined to be the result of the defendant’s actions. Furthermore, if the decedent left behind dependents and the dependents suffered monetary damages as a result of the death, then a wrongful death case may be filed.

In Illinois, and in many other states, a pedestrian in the crosswalk always has the right of way. This means that drivers must always stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, even if the light is red and the pedestrian is walking against the light. Therefore, it is important that the driver of any vehicle exercise due care while crossing an intersection and be cautious and mindful of any pedestrians attempting to cross the street.

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This month Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law Senate Bill 84 (CTA §41 Notice Repeal), overturning a six-month requirement previously aligned with any Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) case. The rules under the new law are effective for any causes of action that accrue on or after June 1, 2009, such as Illinois bus accidents or Chicago train accidents.

Under the old requirement, any cause of action against the CTA had to submit a written notice to the CTA within six months of the relevant incident that advised the CTA of a potential cause of action. Failure to provide this notice barred the case from being brought. The formal notice required very specific facts regarding the action and essentially preserved the case for a later filing.

Under the newly passed law there is now no longer any required notice. However, a one year statute of limitations still stands for any and all CTA cases. This means that even though the required six-month notice has been repealed that an individual or party must still bring a cause of action against the CTA within one year after the incident occurred.

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