Appellate Court Upholds Jury Finding Bus to Blame For Crushing Death of Pedestrian - No Eyewitnesses

On April 12, 2016, an Appellate Court agreed with a Bronx jury in a 3-2 decision which held that there was sufficient proof presented at trial to hold the NYC Transit Authority responsible for the crushing death of a 51 year old mother at a bus stop. There were no eyewitnesses to the accident; however, there was compelling physical evidence. There were photographs of the accident scene with the decedent's body in the roadway. The jury also considered DNA analysis of blood and body tissue found by swabbing the bus tires at the scene. The pedestrian was found dead under the bus lying face down on the service road of the Henry Hudson Parkway in the Bronx. Finding that the jury was presented with facts from which both "negligence and causation could be reasonably inferred," the Appellate Court stated the jury had not engaged in impermissible speculation to reach its verdict of approximately $1,000,000 for the wrongful death of the pedestrian. Oates v New York City Transit Authority, Appellate Division, First Department, New York explains how circumstantial evidence (as opposed to direct evidence) alone can be sufficient to prove your case.

According to the Appellate Court: "In particular, plaintiff's showed that the decedent's body had been crushed by the bus at such an angle that the bus driver, pulling out of the bus stop, should have, with the proper use of his senses, seen decedent." The plaintiff's accident reconstruction expert explained that the decedent was found five feet into the roadway and north of the bus stop because she had been propelled there by the impact with the bus. Two of the five appellate court justices disagreed and would have dismissed the case noting: "Had decedent been struck by the bus and her body propelled...five feet...the contents of the grocery bag and her tote bag would have scattered onto the roadway."

The jury accepted the plaintiff's medical expert's testimony, based on the autopsy report, that the decedent likely survived the impact for two to five seconds while consciously experiencing pain. The jury's award for pain and suffering of $300,000 was also found reasonable.

Ronald C. Burke, Esq

Trial Attorney with 30+ Years of Experience Attorney Ronald C. Burke, Esq. has more than 30 years of experience and has focused his career on representing clients in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice and legal malpractice. He is a seasoned trial lawyer and has won many seven-figure settlements and verdicts for his clients over the years, including many case victories listed among the largest in the history of the New York State. He has been featured in the news and is a regular lecturer for the New York County Lawyers Association, as well as having lectured before the New York State Bar Association. Ron is also an attorney with Kelner & Kelner, a New York personal injury law firm. Awards and Accolades Mr. Burke's awards and accolades are many. Among them, he has been included in New York Super Lawyers® each year since 2010, and he has received the highest-possible AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. Verdict Search, a part of the New York Law Journal, frequently recognizes his notable successes after winning some of the highest settlements and verdicts in past years. He was also featured in their list of the "Top New York Verdicts " and "Top New York Settlements." He is a member of the New York State Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, as well as before the United States Supreme Court. When Attorney Burke is not handling legal malpractice cases, he is highly involved in the local community. He was a member of the Village of Rockville Centre Volunteer Fire Department, has served on the local school board and as Chairman of the local Zoning Board. Learn more about Attorney Burke and how he can skillfully handle your malpractice case by contacting the Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke, Esq. right away to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. Our firm is here to help! Contact a New York Legal Malpractice Attorney Our firm provides each client's case with thorough preparation and aggressive representation, ensuring that you win the best possible results for your case whether it is settled or goes to trial. As a seasoned trial lawyer, Mr. Burke can provide the strong and relentless representation you need to establish negligence in a legal malpractice case and to recover any damages you may have suffered. Our firm can recover compensation for pre-trial and trial malpractice, violations of fee arrangements, loss of income, pain and suffering, and much more. Contact us today!


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