OK Legal Eagles… What is the jerk and jolt doctrine in personal injury cases? And how is it applied to Port Authority and Septa bus accidents?
Well it is a legal doctrine concerning bus accidents.
This legal concept in Pennsylvania requires an injured person to show that the bus jerk was SO unusual and extraordinary that it exceeded a bus passenger’s reasonable expectation of ordinary movements of a bus.
The key here is that it has to be an unusual and extraordinary jolt by the bus driver that causes someone to be injured.
Usually this is done by showing that other passengers who were on the bus were also injured in your case.
If you are the only one who was injured because the bus suddenly jolted forward, the likelihood is your case is gonna be thrown out of court.
Most people can understand the reason for this law.
The doctrine was established in 1966 in the Connolly case.
Quite frankly the reason for the rule is to prevent anyone who is slightly jarred while riding a bus from turning around and suing the bus company.
If you’re standing on the bus and it makes a sudden stop and you’re just mildly pushed forward, without the jerk and jolt doctrine you could make a claim that your back is hurting you due to the sudden stop at the bus.
The ideal situation if you’re an injured party and Pittsburgh wrongful death, medical malpractice, slip and fall, jerk and jolts, car accident and criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully is representing you is if many other people on the bus were injured because of the violent stopping of the bus.
So what is all this getting to?
Well recently a jury in Chester County Pa. awarded an injured plaintiff $250,000 for the injuries he sustained in a jerk and jolt bus case.
The victim was on a Septa bus when he was injured. He claims that he was catapulted so aggressively by the sudden emergency stop that it caused his rotator cuff to tear.
After extensive argument a jury awarded him $250,000 for his injuries.
Now that case is on appeal and the bus companies are seeking to overturn the jerk and jolts doctrine completely.
They would rather have the jury told that sudden movements of a bus are normal and predictable. They also want the jury to be told that the injured victim assumed the risk by getting on the bus in the first place.
Pittsburgh wrongful death, medical malpractice, slip and fall, jerking jolts attorney, and car accident and criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully thinks it is unlikely that a higher court is going to change the law in this regard.
This law seems to strike a fair balance between the fear of bus companies from being sued and the rights of people who paid money to ride on a bus not to have their life put in danger by a aggressive angry bus driver who is trying to make the next stop.
Well that’s how I see it.
How do you see it?
Thanks for reading!
You are the best!
Bernie the Attorney.