New York Woman Awarded $27.5 Million After Losing Leg in a Bus Accident

If you live or work in a city, chances are you cross a bustling street every day and don't think twice about it. Imagine, however, that as you are crossing the street, a bus collides with you, mangling your legs. It not only costs you your physical capabilities, but also your state of mind and your independence as someone who is able to provide for themselves.

This is what happened to Gloria Aguilar, a 45-year-old woman who was run over by a New York City Transit bus in 2005. After having her leg amputated, she was awarded $27.5 million by a New York jury in 2009, four years after the incident.

According to news reports on the incident, Aguilar was crossing the street when a NYC Transit bus, part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), hit her at the intersection of 50th Street and 10th Avenue. She was dragged along the street and remained under the bus while rescuers attempted to help her.

Once she was taken to Bellevue Hospital, she had part of her left leg amputated above the knee. After the trauma of the accident, her right leg was rendered useless. She underwent 10 different surgeries, and due to an infection, her left leg was later amputated completely.

Along with the lasting effects of her physical trauma, Aguilar also suffers from psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression.

The Cost of the Incident

Aguilar, a married mother of three, was originally awarded $27.5 million in 2009 for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of services, the largest amount awarded for a lost leg. A Manhattan jury found the bus driver 100% at fault for the accident, but they also partially blamed Aguilar. The NYC Transit claimed she wasn't inside the crosswalk at the time, was unaware of her surroundings, and actually walked into the bus. The jury ultimately put part of the blame on her.

In 2011, however, a state appeals court knocked the payout down to $18 million. The verdict was appealed by the city on two grounds. The first: The pain and suffering award was excessive. The second: The finding of full liability against the city was against the weight of the evidence presented. Aguilar was instead given $6.9 million for medical expenses, $10 million for past and future pain and suffering, and $500,000 to past and future loss of services.

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