$2,100,000 Settlement—Our client, an honors paralegal at the Federal Trade Commission, waited to cross 7th Street Northwest, in the District of Columbia. Her light turned green, and as she walked across 7th Street, in the crosswalk, with about 50 seconds remaining, a Metrobus wheeled around the corner from Pennsylvania Avenue, made a right turn, and ran her down in the crosswalk. The bus driver never saw her, and continued to drive; she grabbed a bike rack in the front of the bus and clung for her life, as the bus drove 37 feet down the street, stopping only when passengers screamed at the driver.
The impact of the bus badly fractured her lower back at L4, resulting in a Chance, or burst fracture, and the danger of paralysis. EMTs took her to George Washington Hospital, where she underwent surgery to implant 5 screws and two metal rods in her back, fusing together her bones from L3 to L5.
She suffered permanent injuries from the accident, chronic pain, restrictions in activities, early onset degenerative disease and anxiety associated with driving and buses. Our client tried very hard to recover, working with physical therapists and physicians, exercising to build her strength, and went on to attend and graduate from law school, participate in physical activities and refuse to be viewed as a victim. The defense physicians, however, commented that her injuries would affect the number of children she could have, and admitted that she was at a higher risk of suffering degenerative joint disease.
The parties agreed to mediation and the case settled several weeks before trial, in large part because of the remarkable nature of our client, and her courage and determination to try to lead a normal life.