Our client was a passenger on a Greyhound bus, which struck a car when
it changed lanes. The bus driver claimed that he was not at fault, and
that he had completed his lane change when the car struck the bus in the
rear. Greyhound also claimed that our client was not hurt because there
was no property damage to the bus, and only moderate damage to the car
involved in the crash.
Our client was from New York and had been a regular customer of Greyhound's
for approximately 20 years. She frequently rode Greyhound buses from New
York to the District of Columbia to visit her family which lived in the
D.C. area. As a result of this collision, she suffered a herniated disk
in her thoracic spine, a weakening of the muscles in her abdominal wall
and an aggravation of pre-existing neck and low back injuries. She had
2 pre-existing herniated disks in her neck, and one pre-existing herniated
disk in her back as a result of the two prior bus collisions. These pre-existing
injuries were made worse because of this collision. The law in the District
of Columbia (and most states) is that the wrongdoer is responsible for
the worsening of any pre-existing injuries, even if the injury would have
been less severe if it happened to someone who did not have pre-existing injuries.
Our client was 47 years old at the time of the crash. She worked as a campus
security guard at the time of the collision. She testified that her duties
were modified as a result of the injuries she suffered in this collision.
She could no longer patrol the campus, and her job accommodated her by
giving her a position where she could remain seated. However, in order
to accept this "light duty" position, she had to work the graveyard
shift. In addition, the injuries prevented her from visiting her family
in the DC area, because these trips aggravated her symptoms. As a result,
she missed holidays and birthdays with her family. She had incurred approximately
$47,000 in medical bills which included 3 years of physical therapy, multiple
trigger point injections and 2 epidural blocks. She had approximately
$6,000 in lost wages.
The jury found Greyhound, and their bus driver liable and awarded our client
all of her medical expenses and lost wages and $402,000 for pain and suffering.