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Appeals court rules on bus crash case

In February 2014, a New Jersey jury decided a motorist was more responsible in a July collision on the New Jersey Turnpike than the bus driver she struck. The court ordered a judgment in favor of the bus driver and NJ Transit. The motorist argued that the jury's finding was inconsistent, and the judge overruled the jury verdict, ordering a new trial.

Subsequently, NJ Transit and the bus driver appealed the judge's decision, saying the jury's finding was not inconsistent and was supported by evidence presented at trial. The appellate court upheld the original jury finding, saying they found no basis to set aside the verdict after hearing the bus driver's account of how the collision occurred because the motorist accelerated into the side of the bus as he tried to merge in front of her on the turnpike.

The appellate court heard the bus driver's testimony of the car crash and determined that the evidence showed the motorist to be overwhelmingly more negligent in the collision than the bus driver.

The amount and quality of evidence presented in court cases, including testimony, may determine the outcome. When both parties have some culpability, they could both be found liable, or as in this case, the evidence could sway the decision against the more negligent party to the incident. A personal injury lawyer may evaluate the amount of negligence and the weight of the evidence in auto accident cases, look for more substantial evidence and help drivers with their testimony about what happened to try to get more favorable outcomes.

Source: NJ.com, Motorist more responsible than NJ Transit bus driver in Turnpike crash, court rules, Bill Wichert, March 4, 2015

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