Case details

Inattentive bus driver caused crash, plaintiffs claimed





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, emotional distress, herniated disc, lumbar, lumbar knee, mental, neck, psychological
On July 6, 2009, plaintiffs Elena Baltazar, in her 60s, Angela Ortega, 30s, Milagros Hidalgo, 13, and Sydney Barros, 16, were all passengers in a City of Montebello bus operated by Samuel Quinones. The bus was traveling on westbound Whittier Avenue when it was struck by a van operated by Maria Ramos. The bus continued forward and struck a lamp pole. The plaintiffs sustained . This case was a consolidation of eight other cases with 26 plaintiffs, who were all on the Montebello bus. Both the city and Ramos were sued. Ramos’ van was making a left turn from eastbound Whittier Avenue onto Concourse Avenue, when it collided with the front of the Montebello bus. The plaintiffs and Ramos alleged that bus driver Quinones was inattentive and was on a cell phone. The city and Quinones contended that Ramos’ van struck the bus first — causing the collision. Defense counsel added that Quinones was attentive, as he reacted immediately. In August 2013 the liability trial went forward and the jury found the city 70 percent liable and Ramos 30 percent at fault. The damages trial by the four named plaintiffs went forward in January 2015 against the city and Quinones. All other plaintiffs settled before the damages trial. Also, Ramos settled out of the case with the four named plaintiffs and another plaintiff, for her policy limits., Many plaintiffs were evaluated at the scene by paramedics. Some were treated by paramedics, and many visited a hospital post-accident, while others received no evaluation or treatment. Baltazar alleged an increase in neck and back pain. She required a knee arthroscopy post-accident. Ortega alleged dental trauma and general body aches. Her two minor children settled out of the case and she initially claimed emotional distress form witnessing their . However, Ortega did not file a government tort claim for the negligent infliction of emotional distress claim for this, and as a result the court excluded this from trial and allowed only her and her emotional distress claims to go forward to trial. Barros claimed a bruised knee at the femur bone. She alleged she would require future surgery on her knee. Hidalgo received injections to the low back and claimed that she would require $150,000 for a future, multiple disc fusion surgery for the lumbar levels for alleged lumbar bulges. The defense contended that Baltazar had a knee injury and related it to the subject accident, but argued her other were pre-existing. Defense counsel added that Baltazar was impeached at trial for denying past . Further, the defense contended that Barros healed and was fine and did not require surgery. Also, defense counsel contended that Hidalgo had no bulging discs in the low back.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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