|Tim McDuffey, Attorney At Law|
High school student settles after bus crash
Motor Vehicle Collision
- Venue: Camden County Circuit Court
- Case Number / Date: 14CM-CC00006 / July 31st, 2015
- Plaintiff's Experts: Dr. Chris Leslie, Camdenton (medical)
- Defendant's Experts: Dr. Russell Cantrell, Kirkwood (medical); James Israel, St. Louis (vocational); Brooke Liggett, Springfield (accounting, damages, economics)
- Special Damages: Past medical of$256,325.37. Future medical estimated between $277,500 and $329,800. Lost earning capacity estimated between $611,461 and $1,241,783.
- Insurer: M.U.S.I.C. for School of the Osage
- Caption: Adam Richard v. School of the Osage R-2 School District and Mark Elliot
- Plaintiff's Attorneys: Tim McDuffey, McDuffey Law Firm, Osage Beach
- Defendant's Attorneys: Scott Kehlenbrink, Childress Ahlheim Cary, St. Louis
By David Baugher
Special to Missouri Lawyers Media
A young man who was badly injured when his vehicle was struck by a school bus will receive a $2 million settlement from the school's insurance.
"The guy stopped at the stop sign and crossed two lanes of travel -- east-bound lanes of the divided highway there," plaintiff's attorney Tim McDuffey said of the bus operator. "He just kind of guns it through the intersection trying to go straight across the highway."
Motorist Adam Richard was traveling west on U.S. Highway 54 in Miller County when the larger vehicle allegedly struck him from the driver's side. He filed suit against bus driver Mark Elliot and the School of the Osage over the February 2012 accident.
The bus driver said he didn't see the plaintiff, according to McDuffey.
Richard, a high school senior at the time of the crash, was flown from the scene to the University of Missouri for multiple injuries, including concussion and brain injury.
"His left arm was fractured. Probably his most significant injury was that he had a tibial plateau fracture of his left leg," said McDuffey. "He was basically pinned in his car. When the bus hit him on the left side, basically everything was fractured."
McDuffey said his client underwent multiple surgeries on his left arm and knee.
"The case came down to damages. There wasn't really any fight on liability," he said. "The difficult part of the case was to try and figure out what kind of future consequences there were going to be from a medical standpoint."
Expert testimony established that Richard would develop progressive arthritis in his left knee, eventually requiring arthroscopic surgery and replacement of the joint, McDuffey said.
The other complexity of the case involved lost wages, he said. The defense contended that Richard was capable of attending college and could make an adequate living, he said. However, McDuffey said his client didn't wish to pursue college and wanted to be a construction worker, a field that would require manual labor. That meant future difficulties from his injuries would ultimately involve a diminished ability to work.
"It is not your typical case where you have somebody with clear wages where you can say here's what they earned in the past and here's how that's going to be affected in the future," he said. "Adam had no earnings. He hadn't ever begun his career."
Richard now works laying tile, he said.
Defense experts confirmed the need for an eventual knee replacement, though there was a debate over the cost, McDuffey said.
"I think that what turned the case is when even their experts, after they got a chance to look at all the facts, saw that this was a significant injury and it was going to impact him over a lifetime," McDuffey said.
McDuffey listed Scott Kehlenbrink of Childress Ahlheim Cary as representing the defense. He did not return a request for comment.
McDuffey Law Firm, LLC
Ph. (573) 302-7211
Fax. (573) 302-7215
5754 Parkside Village Ct.,
P.O. Box 368
Osage Beach, Mo 65065
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