An Ohio appeals court jury affirmed a $23 million award for a Buckeye State resident severely injured on a passenger bus. After winning his 2016 trial award, the bus company then filed an appeal in an attempt to overturn the verdict. 

The trial court initially showed that the bus driver fell asleep behind the wheel and caused the accident. The bus company’s appeal asserted that the driver suffered a medical episode instead. It did not present a successful argument, and the Court of Appeals found the bus driver remained at fault for causing the Ohio man’s life-altering injuries. 

Ohio resident proved bus driver caused the accident 

En route to Cleveland from New York City, the bus driver allegedly fell asleep and slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer. Dozens of passengers suffered serious injuries and the collision left one tourist on board dead. 

The impact also crushed the Ohio man and severed his right leg. According to court records, he required at least 30 surgical procedures to repair the damages to his shoulder, foot, arm, pelvis and heart. 

As reported by NBC10 Philadelphia, when he initially filed a legal action against the bus company, he won the case with a $23 million award for his damages. The amount included compensation for his medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income, and punitive damages. 

The bus company, however, decided that its operator did not cause the accident and tried to argue the outcome. The Court of Appeals, however, found that the bus driver remained at fault for ignoring the company’s operating rules. Specifically, she did not adhere to the bus company’s guidelines requiring her to stop the bus after traveling 150 miles. 

Counterparty may defend itself vigorously 

In this case, the injured passenger’s trial verdict prevailed, and the awarded compensation for injuries stands, but it is not uncommon for a defendant such as a bus company to mount a vigorous defense on its behalf. An assertive and well-prepared legal team, however, may successfully counteract a defendant’s claims.