In August, a Queens jury awarded damages in excess of 20 million dollars to a woman struck by an MTA bus in Long Island City. The plaintiff, a housekeeper, was awarded summary judgment after a surveillance video established that the pedestrian had the right of way. The bus did not yield and struck the plaintiff. Among her resulting injuries were multiple fractures of her dominant arm, facial abrasions and contusions, and subsequent amputations of the right (dominant) arm above the elbow and right leg below the knee. The plaintiff required twenty subsequent surgeries and seven months of rehabilitation.
The plaintiff claimed negligence on the part of the bus driver, and vicarious liability on the parts of the MTA, New York City Transit Authority, and MTA Bus Company. “Vicarious liability” allows for an employer to be held liable for the actions of his or her employees in certain situations. Generally, the employee must be performing the standard operations of his or her job description at the time the offense occurs for the employer to be held liable. In the case at hand, the plaintiff asserted vicarious liability because the driver negligently performed an everyday aspect of his job. The MTA employs him to drive the bus with reasonable care. and in this instance, he performed this duty negligently, so his employers could be found responsible for his negligence.
The breakdown of damages is as follows:
- $483,907.00: Past medical expenses
- $4,832,142.00: Future medical expenses
- $4,000,000.00: Past pain and suffering
- $11,000,000.00: Future pain and suffering
The defense has appealed both the summary judgment finding and the amount of the damages. The plaintiff has also moved to increase the award for past medical expenses. The law firm, Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, PC, represented the plaintiff.