HOUSTON – The Gulf Coast Center, a public transportation company that serves Galveston and Brazoria counties, lost its appeal on Feb. 6 to cut in half the liability payout to a bus-pedestrian collision victim Daniel Curry Jr.
The 1st Court of Appeals found that Curry's injury and consequent medical attention stands as sufficient evidence to justify the restitution from Gulf Coast. The company's appeal for protection as a government entity was denied, and Justices Evelyn Keyes, Gordon Goodman and Julie Countiss affirmed the trial court's order for $216,000 in restitution.
The trial court ordered Gulf Coast to pay the medical restitution to Curry, but the company countered with its appeal that it's protected as a government entity under the Texas Tort Claims ACT (TTCA), which would have reduced maximum liability to $100,000. The company also argued that Curry's evidence of injury was insufficient to justify the payout.
Curry was struck by a Gulf Coast van in February 2016 as he attempted to cross an intersection while he had the right-of-way. Witnesses described the impact as forceful enough to launch Curry one lane's width from the site of the impact.
Curry alleged he was in a level of pain that restricted him from being able to walk at the time of the collision. He was transported by ambulance to Mainland Medical Center, where he consulted with an orthopedic surgeon.
Curry's injuries, which included annular bulges, lumbar disc herniation, required two months of physical therapy and prompted him to sue Golf Coast for his expenses and suffering.
Curry testified that his mobility and use of arms has not fully returned after a year of physical therapy. He reported being unable to engage in his daily activities and hobbies, such as his job as a dishwasher and taking walks around the park.
While Gulf Coast argued that loss of enjoyment of life is not viable clause for physical impairment, the justices disagreed.
1st Court of Appeals case number 01-18-00665-CV