California mother Maria Francisco is being awarded an incredible $15 million after a bus she was riding went over a speed bump at too high of a speed and sent her flying. The incident severely damaged her lower back, and she’s needed three surgeries since, including a lower vertebrae fusion.
The lawsuit payout is the biggest ever in the history of Alameda-Contra CostaTransit. While there is no denying the incident caused serious damage to Francisco – her medical bills from surgeries and treatment are expected to exceed $3.5 million – many in the legal community are questioning if such an enormous payout is warranted.
Here is video of the incident:
She is officially being paid $10 million for past and future pain and suffering, $3.3 million for past and future medical expenses, and $800,266 for future loss of earnings. Francisco’s daughter is being awarded an additional $1 million for past and future emotional distress caused by witnessing the event.
To summarize: this woman is now a multi-millionaire because she injured her back on a bus. Is this just? Cato Institute Senior Fellow Walter Olson does not think so.
“Why $10 million for pain and suffering in this one case?” he said. “Why $1 million, paid by taxpayers, to a 4-year-old for seeing her mother fall off a bus seat? Why not $100,000 and $10,000 instead? In a case like this the American legal system has no real reason for picking one number rather than the other and no real consistency between cases. It's just spin to win.”
Not surprisingly, Francisco’s lead attorney disagrees.
“She wasn’t looking for this to happen,” attorney Brian Panish said. “She has chronic pain for life. She has a fused spine and she is going to need to have future surgeries. It has severely damaged her quality of life and it is only going to get worse. She can walk but she struggles to bend and stoop.
“This verdict will ensure that Ms Francisco is able to get the long term treatment that she needs and will be able to take care of herself and her daughter. That is what this case was about.”