Case details

Pedestrian: Bus driver failed to see her and stop in time




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

above the knee, fracture, leg, paralysis, partial, pelvis amputation, quadriplegia, sacrum pelvis, soft tissue
On March 14, 2012, plaintiff Jung Hye Lee, 18, a student, was a pedestrian attempting to catch an Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District bus in Montclair. It was a rainy night and Lee was initially waiting across the street from the bus stop under an awning of a restaurant. When she saw the bus approaching the bus stop at the intersection of Moraga and LaSalle Avenues, she thought it was going to stop and ran across three lanes of traffic against a red pedestrian light. However, the bus operated by Mayra Sabas passed by the bus stop and went through the intersection on a green light. As a result, Lee was run over by the bus, causing catastrophic , including pelvic fractures, an injury to her right leg, and the eventual amputation of her left leg. Lee sued Sabas and Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District. Lee alleged that Sabas was negligent in the operation of the bus and that AC Transit was vicariously liable for the negligence of its driver. A two-month police investigation and report found Lee was exclusively at fault for the accident, with no associated factors on AC Transit or its driver. However, plaintiff’s counsel started his own investigation, re-interviewing witnesses and canvassing the neighborhood to obtain new evidence and testimony. An evaluation and analysis of the intersection was also undertaken to document the movement of buses and pedestrians in the area, utilizing a 3-D engineering survey. Counsel also performed detailed examinations of hours of onboard bus surveillance videos of the accident, and deposition testimonies of bus employees and witnesses. As a result, plaintiff’s counsel contended that his investigation produced testimony that demonstrated that Lee was visible to the bus driver, who should have seen her and reacted. Counsel further contended that the bus driver was required to stop at the bus stop, but failed to do so. Thus, plaintiff’s counsel asserted that Sabas’ should have seen Lee in time to recognize the need to stop for her, but, instead, struck her. Defense counsel noted that Lee ran toward the bus in the crosswalk against an illuminated “DON’T WALK” sign. Counsel also noted that Lee ran in front of another vehicle, which honked for three to four seconds and was forced to slam on its brakes to avoid striking her. Sabas claimed she approached the intersection on a green light, scanned the area, and checked the bus stop to her right for potential passengers. She alleged that when she saw no one at the bus stop, she continued slowly toward the intersection. Sabas claimed she saw Lee’s umbrella seconds before the impact, but was unable to stop the bus in time to avoid contact with Lee. Thus, defense counsel asserted that Lee was negligent for running out in front of the bus against a “Don’t Walk” sign., Lee suffered comminuted pelvic and sacral fractures, resulting in internal . She also suffered an injury to her right leg, resulting in an insensate leg, and severe to her left leg. As a result, Lee was treated at Highland General Hospital in Oakland, Stanford Hospital & Clinics in Stanford, and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose. Her left leg was ultimately amputated above the knee approximately six weeks after her initial hospitalization and she suffered some soft-tissue loss. She also needed to undergo internal fixation as a result of the pelvic and sacral fractures, as well as an ileal conduit (a surgical procedure where a small urine reservoir is created from a segment of a bowel and is located just under the abdominal wall) and a urostomy (a surgically created opening in the abdominal wall through which urine passes) as a result of her internal . Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Lee’s admissible past medical costs, per Howell, amounted to $905,000. Counsel also contended that the present value of Lee’s future medical costs amounted to $29,573,474. Lee also sought recovery of non-economic damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed Lee’s alleged future economic damages, asserting that Lee’s future medical costs would actually amount to around $3 million to $4 million.
Superior Court of Alameda County, Oakland, CA

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