Bay Area mom thrown off bus seat awarded $15 million

Maria Francisco fell off her bus seat and was injured when an Alameda-Contra Costa transit bus driver, according to Francisco’s lawyer, took a speed bump at 30 mph. Francisco can walk, but has been awarded $15 million for her injuries, and her daughter, then 4, a further $1 million for witnessing her mom’s fall. I’m quoted in Britain’s Daily Mail expressing misgivings about the level of damages (“spin to win”).

One reaction via @LauraKMcNally on Twitter: “Compare re: soldier injury comp.”


  • The jury was probably outraged that (1) the bus was speeding through a school zone; and (2) the bus driver’s immediate reaction was to tell the plaintiff that she wasn’t hurt and to threaten her with some kind of prosecution for “wasting her time.”

    All that said, I think the award is outrageous and should be reduced. In addition, $1 million in medical bills for a lumbar fusion sounds excessive, even in a time where doctors collude with lawyers to exaggerate medical bills to achieve a higher verdict. Maybe there was some other injury that was not reported on.

    Finally, $1 million to the little girl for seeing her mother get bounced up in the air? That’s just plain crazy.

  • Another winner in Litigation Lotto.

  • This sort of award seems to becoming the norm in the US these days. The unfortunate thing is that some American citizens see this as an earner, same over here it’s true, but not quite so extreme (yet)! Ridiculous!