Court Upholds $575,000 Damages Award to Woman Ejected From Public Bus After Collision With Fire Truck

The Supreme Court of Nebraska recently released a decision that affirmed a lower district court judgment awarding over $575,000 to a personal injury plaintiff in her lawsuit against a Nebraska city. The woman received the award as compensation for injuries she sustained when the bus she was riding on was hit by a vehicle operated by the city’s fire department. The defendant had appealed the ruling to the state supreme court because they were not permitted to subpoena records from a physician who treated the plaintiff’s injuries, but the high court agreed with the district court that the requested records were not relevant to the case. As a result of the Nebraska Supreme Court’s ruling, the plaintiff will be able to collect compensation for her injuries caused by the negligence of the city employee.

bus-1209153_960_720The plaintiff in the case of Moreno v. City of Gering was injured in a car accident in January 2011, when the county bus she was riding in was hit by a fire department vehicle. After the impact, the woman was ejected from the bus and landed on the pavement, and she was subsequently taken to a local hospital by ambulance with serious injuries. In the course of her treatment, the patient’s doctor determined that an existing back injury was aggravated by the crash, and she would require spinal fusion surgery to fully recover from the accident. A surgery was performed on the plaintiff in June 2011.

The City Admits Liability for the Crash But Challenges the Propriety of the Spinal Surgery

The plaintiff filed a claim against the City of Gering under the state’s Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act in November 2012 and sought damages to compensate her for the expenses and losses related to the accident. The city accepted responsibility for the negligence of the employee who caused the accident and waived any immunity they may have had as a municipality. However, the city challenged the plaintiff’s claimed damages, arguing that the spinal surgery was not necessary or helpful to her condition. The city’s defenses were not successful, however, and the district court judge made a finding that the surgery was in fact a necessary part of her treatment, which was affirmed by the higher court on review.

Florida State and Municipal Liability Claims and the Limits on Damages

Florida Statute 45.768.28 governs negligence and other tort claims made by private parties against state or local entities in Florida. The law permits injured parties to file a claim against the state or a local municipality, although there are stricter procedural requirements to successfully make a claim than with a private party defendant. In addition to the procedural hurdles that plaintiffs must navigate, there are also damages limits to claims against government entities that don’t exist in the private realm.

In a Miami negligence lawsuit against a local or state entity, a single plaintiff is limited to $200,000 in damages, and all injured parties are limited to a combined total of $300,000 in damages from a single incident. In cases in which a judge or jury awards a larger sum against a government defendant, the defendant can ask the court to reduce it to meet the statutory limit. These limits are not absolute, however, since excess amounts may be sought from the state legislature pursuant to the statute, and negligent parties may also be liable in their private capacity.

How to Find a Qualified Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident, the first step to obtaining relief is a consultation with the right attorney. The experienced Miami accident lawyers at Friedman, Rodman & Frank have tried hundreds of cases and obtained substantial compensation for our clients. Our dedicated and knowledgeable Miami accident attorneys will make your case proceed as painlessly as possible. At Friedman, Rodman & Frank, we represent clients in Miami and throughout South Florida in personal injury and wrongful death cases, including car accidents. If you have been injured, contact us toll-free at 877-448-8585 or via our online contact form. Se habla Español / Nou Parlé Creole.

More Blog Posts:

State Supreme Court Reverses $4.5 Million Award in Auto Accident Case, April 14, 2016, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

Judgment in Favor of County Fair Association Affirmed after Plaintiff Injured During Free Fireworks Display, April 21, 2016, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

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