Julio Huayanca who lost part of his leg after being hit by a public bus in Southern California while in a crosswalk, has settled his lawsuit for $15 million. The case was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
The settlement came just before a jury completed their deliberations and reached a verdict for the plaintiff.
Southern Transit Inc., which had a contract to provide city bus service in the city of Baldwin Park, was the defendant and agreed to the settlement.
The plaintiff was injured on August 27, 2012 when he was struck by a city bus while crossing the street within the designated crosswalk controlled by a traffic light. The 36,500-pound bus attempted to turn left without yielding to the pedestrian and came to a rest right on top of Huayanca’s legs. Following this accident, he had to undergo seven separate surgeries in an attempt to save his right leg. Unfortunately, doctors were unsuccessful and his right leg needed to be amputated below the knee.
It was reported that since Huayanca had lived on his own prior to the accident, he had to remain in the hospital for more than ten weeks, and then was transported to a residential care facility, confined to a wheelchair.
During litigation, the Southland Transit bus driver admitted fault, acknowledging liability for the accident. He also revealed that he had three prior accidents during his six-year career, before striking Huayanca. Additionally, the driver failed to successfully complete the minimum eight hours of driving training required by both federal and state regulations. Southland Transit Inc. failed to acknowledge full liability for the pedestrian accident until six weeks before the trial began.
The jury only had to determine the amount of damages awarded. The attorneys for the parties reached the settlement just before the jury announced that it had reached a verdict. Even though the trial judge allowed the reading of the verdict, which would have awarded more than $17 million, a settlement had been reached and accepted by the court. Therefore, the verdict had no effect.
Clearly, this bus driver never should have been driving if he had not completed the driving training required by federal and state regulations. Even though the jury’s verdict was for $17 million, he was satisfied with settling for $15 million, which will help pay for his medical bills and cost of living expenses.
For more information, feel free to contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).