Woman awarded medical expenses, but nothing for mental anguish over wreck with school bus

David Yates Apr. 7, 2009, 8:56am

A Jefferson County jury found that a Beaumont Independent School District bus driver caused a collision with another automobile and ordered BISD to pay the medical expenses of the other driver.

The civil trial of Tina McDaniel vs. BISD begin April 1 in Judge Milton Shuffield's 136th Judicial Court and ended the following day, with jurors finding both parties partially negligent in causing the wreck.

The jury awarded McDaniel $2,700 for past medical expenses, but nothing for her future medical expenses, lost earnings or mental anguish.

In June 2007, McDaniel filed her suit in Jefferson County District Court, alleging one of the school district's bus drivers clipped her vehicle and dragged it several feet before stopping.

According to her suit, on May 24, 2006, McDaniel was driving her daughter to school. She had entered the school drop-off zone when "a school bus came at a high rate of speed and turned, striking McDaniel's automobile on the right side and dragging her about 15 feet with it."

"During the collision, the school bus caused McDaniel's vehicle to jar and her steering wheel twisted and gave a severe jarring to her neck," the suit states. "McDaniel suffered injuries to her back and neck."

She alleged the BISD driver was negligently failed to make a proper turn and stay in his lane. Her original complaint sought damages for past and future medical expenses, lost earnings and mental anguish.

In its answer to the suit, BISD denied "every allegation" and asserted that as a political subdivision of the state of Texas it has governmental immunity.

McDaniel was represented in part by Beaumont attorney Clay Dugas.

BISD was represented in part by attorney Melody Chappell of the Wells, Peyton, Greenberg & Hunt law firm.

Case No. D179-343

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