Personal Injury: Motor Vehicle – Bus – Passenger – Intersection
Woman alleged bus went straight in turn-only lane.
CASE Ariadna Ramirez-Saenz v. Rosa Maria Ramirez and VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority, No. 2005-CI-01613
COURT Bexar County District Court, 225h, TX
JUDGE Peter Sakai
PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY(S) Andrew E. Toscano, Gene Toscano, Inc., San Antonio, TX; Candelario S. Trevino, Jr., Gene Toscano, Inc., San Antonio, TX
DEFENSE ATTORNEY(S) Mark E. Hernandez, Brock Person Guerra Reyna, San Antonio, TX Ricardo R. Reyna, Brock Person Guerra Reyna, San Antonio, TX
FACTS & ALLEGATIONS On March 10, 2004, plaintiff Ariadna Ramirez-Saenz, 25, a pharmaceutical technician, was a front seat passenger in a 1990 Chevy Suburban driven by Rosa Maria Ramirez. The vehicle was northbound on Broadway when it stopped at a right light at the Austin Highway intersection in San Antonio. A Via Metropolitan Transit Authority bus operated by Scott Reid was also stopped at the same red light.
There are three northbound lanes at the Broadway and Austin Highway intersection – the far right lane is right tum-only, the middle lane is optional right turn and the left lane is straight only. Ramirez and Ramirez-Saenz maintained they were in the middle lane, exercising the option to turn right, when Reid, in the far right tum-only lane, went straight and collided with their vehicle.
Ramirez-Saenz sued Ramirez and Via, alleging negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Ramirez settled before trial and was non-suited.
Ramirez-Saenz argued the final resting locations of the vehicles supported her version of the accident.
Reid contended he was in the middle lane, exercising his option to go straight when the suburban made a right turn in front of the bus from the far left straight-only lane.
The defense argued Ramirez-Saenz’s stories were inconsistent because she initially brought suit against both Ramirez and Via, claiming both were negligent. The defense also produced six witness statements from bus passengers agreeing with Reid’s version.
INJURIES/DAMAGES cervical strain; slap lesion tem; shoulder; torn rotator cuff
Ramirez-Saenz was examined and treated by emergency medical services personnel at the scene of the accident. The next day, she went to an emergency room. She sustained a cervical strain, a torn rotator cuff and a slap tear. She underwent surgery to repair the rotator cuff injury six months later.
The plaintiff’s expert, her treating surgeon, testified about the procedure and its necessity.
Ramirez-Saenz asked the jury for $280,605 in damages.
The defense argued that the damage from collision was minor and did not support the alleged injuries.
RESULT The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff and awarded her $155,352.50.
- $50,000 past medical cost
- $25,000 future medical cost
- $5,000 past physical impairment
- $353 past lost earnings
- $50,000 past pain and suffering
- $25,000 future pain and suffering
INSURER(S) Progressive for Ramirez; Self-insured for VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority
- Trial Length: 3 days
- Trial Deliberations: 3 hours
- Jury Vote: 11-1
PLAINTIFF EXPERT(S) Sanjay Misra, M.D., orthopedic surgery San Antonio, TX (treating physician)
DEFENSE EXPERT(S) None reported
POST-TRIAL With taxable costs and prejudgment interest the award came to $185,207.70.
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