A Florida jury awarded $1.625 million to the victim of a 2006 school bus accident, who was 16 years-old at the time of the crash and suffered a traumatic brain injury and vision loss.
The plaintiff, Marcus Button, was on his way to school on September 22, 2006, when the Dodge Neon he was riding in as a passenger struck a Pasco County school bus that turned into their path. The vehicle struck the bus between the wheels and went underneath of the bus, resulting in injuries to Button and his driver, Jessica Juettner.
Following trial, the jury found the school bus driver negligent and attributed 65% responsibility for the accident to the school district. Juettner was found to be 20% responsible and Button was found to be 10% responsible for his injuries for allegedly not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. The school district’s share of the verdict comes to about $875,000.
The only occupants on the school bus were the bus driver and a backup driver who were not injured in the accident. Juetner did not suffer a serious injury in the bus accident, and settled her claim out of court, according to The Tampa Tribune.
As a result of the traumatic brain injury suffered in the accident, Button claimed that he has continuing memory loss, no sense of smell, diminished sense of taste, impaired ability to feel textures and vision loss leaving him nearly blind in his right eye.
Although Button maintained that he was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident, the school district successfully argued that his lack of a seatbelt when rescuers found the two students in the car after the crash indicated he was not wearing one. The school district also maintained with partial success that Juettner could have avoided the accident if she had been more attentive while driving.