Earlier this month, the Nebraska Supreme Court issued an opinion in a personal injury case brought against a local government, alleging that the negligence of a government employee resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. In the case, Moreno v. City of Gering, the government admitted that its employee was at fault in the accident, but it contested the amount of damages sought by the plaintiff. Thus, the case proceeded to trial on the damages issue only.
The plaintiff was injured after she was ejected from a bus. Apparently, the woman was riding in a county bus when a volunteer fire-fighter negligently struck the bus. After a trial in front of a judge, the plaintiff was awarded about $575,000. Some of the damages award was designated to cover the cost of a surgery the plaintiff underwent after the accident.
Government Immunity Can Be Waived
Government immunity acts to protect state and local governments from liability in some situations. However, even if a government is entitled to immunity, that government will not necessarily assert its immunity to prevent the plaintiff’s recovery. In some cases, as was the case above, the government recognizes that an employee’s negligence resulted in harm to a member of the public, and the government wants to make things right.
However, even if the government does admit liability, the issue of what the appropriate amount of damages is will likely still arise.
The Government Contests Plaintiff’s Surgery
In Moreno, the plaintiff suffered from a pre-existing back issue. According to the plaintiff, the accident aggravated her injury and required she get corrective surgery. However, the government called its own expert medical witness to testify that the surgery the plaintiff had performed was unnecessary, and that the government should not be on the hook to cover the cost of the erroneous procedure.
After considering the testimony of all witnesses, the appellate court hearing the case determined that the lower court was proper in hearing the evidence as presented and awarding damages to the plaintiff in the amount of roughly $575,000. The court explained that contradicting testimony between two experts does not require a court to choose a certain party. The lower court was free to side with either party. As a result of the ruling, the plaintiff will be entitled to the full amount of damages.
Have You Been Injured on Government Land?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured while on government property, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. While government immunity does arise in some situations, it will not always be appropriate. Even in cases in which it is not, there may still be other issues that must be litigated, such as the amount of damages that is appropriate. It is very important to have a skilled bus accident attorney at your side for all the negotiations. Call 703-491-7070 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated attorney. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we are ultimately able to help you obtain the recovery you deserve.
See More Blog Posts:
Court Allows Plaintiff to Rely Solely on Circumstantial Evidence in Lead-Based Paint Lawsuit, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, April 18, 2016.
West Virginia Court Finds in Favor of Plaintiff in Road Rage Accident Case, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, March 25, 2016.