Commonwealth Court Panel Strikes Down Six Figure Award for Bus Accident Injury
A panel of the Commonwealth Court recently struck down a $250,000 verdict awarded to an injured bus passenger. The man had sued the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) after tearing his rotator cuff while riding a SEPTA bus in 2013. According to the court, the man failed to prove that the accident was sufficiently unusual or extraordinary to justify awarding him damages under Pennsylvania law.
The original case was based on an incident in which the man boarded a Route G bus in February 2013. He said that the bus began to move but then stopped sharply, causing him to twist his right shoulder hard enough to tear his rotator cuff. The injury required surgery to fix.
Pennsylvania law contains a rule known as the “jerk and jolt” doctrine. It prevents passengers on public transportation from suing for injuries caused by jerks, jolts, or bumps, unless they were hurt by a jerk or jolt that “was so unusual and extraordinary as to be beyond [the passenger’s] reasonable anticipation.”
The court found that the jolt that caused the man’s injury simply did not qualify. Judges pointed to the facts that the bus had not been speeding, there was no collision, and no other evidence indicated that the jolt was anything other than “ordinary.” The court found it wasn’t the kind of jolt that Pennsylvania law allows to be compensated in damages.
If you or anyone you know has been injured in any way, you need an experienced Bloomsburg injury attorney on your side. The Law Offices of Kreisher & Gregorowicz strive to help each client determine exactly what happened and can hold negligent parties accountable for the harm they’ve caused. For a free and confidential consultation, contact our office today.
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