PSBR Obtains $6 Million Settlement in Auto v. MTA Bus Rear-End Collision Case

Posted on May 22, 2020

Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP obtained a $6,000,000 settlement for a woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury after her vehicle was rear-ended on the freeway by a Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus.

Plaintiff Kimberlee Watkins was driving her Chevy Volt in the northbound HOV lane of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles when an MTA bus failed to slow down in traffic and violently rear-ended the Chevy at approximately 45 mph.  As a result of the collision, 40-year-old Ms. Watkins suffered a traumatic brain injury, soft tissue damage to her hips and back and bilateral thigh lipomas. Although she only spent one night at the hospital, due to her TBI, she continued to experience discrete and permanent deficits and now has an increased risk of early onset of neurodegenerative disorders including dementia.

Ms. Watkins sued the MTA and its bus driver, alleging the driver was negligent in the operation of the bus and that the transportation authority was vicariously liable for his actions. The defendants admitted liability early in litigation, leaving the nature and extent of Ms. Watkins’ damages as the only issue in dispute.

PSBR attorneys contended that Ms. Watkins worked hard to recuperate, and, after early attempts to return to work as a legal professional failed, she was eventually able to return to full-time work approximately 10 months after the incident. She subsequently, earned exemplary comments in her post-accident job performance reviews and received two pay raises. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Ms. Watkins’ injuries based on  her positive reviews and the findings  of the defense’s experts who examined her.  Following mediation, the parties agreed to settle the matter for $6,000,000 prior to trial.

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