Case details

Driver accelerated bus before passenger sat down, causing fall: suit





Result type

Not present

arm, back, bruise, bulging disc, knee, lumbar head knee, medial meniscus, tear
On July 31, 2015, plaintiff Evelia Renteria, 55, boarded a Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation bus and started to walk toward a seat that was away from the front of the vehicle. Before she could sit down, the bus accelerated forward and then stopped, causing Renteria to fall onto the floor. She claimed of her head, a knee and back. Renteria sued Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation. She alleged that the driver was negligent in his operation of the bus and that Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation was vicariously liable for the driver’s actions. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that when Renteria boarded the bus, she was limping and had a bandage on her foot due to an earlier medical procedure. Counsel asserted that the driver should have realized Renteria was moving slowly and that Renteria would opt for a seat away from the front of the bus due to her foot injury. Plaintiff’s counsel asserted that as a result, the driver should have known that it would take Renteria longer than usual to get to a seat and should have waited for Renteria to sit down before he started moving the bus. Counsel further asserted that the bus driver, as a common carrier, had a higher duty to protect its passengers compared to a regular driver. Defense counsel maintained that Renteria had plenty of time to get to her seat before the bus started moving. Counsel also asserted that the driver had to stop suddenly due to traffic conditions. Plaintiff’s counsel countered that the driver’s negligence did not occur when the bus stopped suddenly, but rather when it moved before Renteria was seated., Renteria sustained a 2.5 centimeter laceration on her head and a minor bruise on her upper arm. She also claimed the incident aggravated her prior bulging lumbar discs at the L3-4 and L4-5 levels. In addition, she claimed the incident either caused or exacerbated a medial meniscus tear in her left knee. The bus pulled over after Renteria fell. She was then placed in an ambulance and transported to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, in Burbank, where she was treated and released. While at the hospital, she required six staples to close the laceration on her head, and she complained of pain in her lower back and left knee. After her discharge, Renteria had several meetings with an orthopedic surgeon and she underwent 15 rounds of physical therapy over the next four months. Renteria claimed that even after she stopped treatment, she still had trouble walking, standing, doing household chores and grooming herself. She sought recovery of $21,000 in past medical expenses. She also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that Renteria’s knee and back pre-dated the accident and denied the incident aggravated either condition. Counsel also asserted that Renteria would not need any ongoing treatment.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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