Appeals Court Lets Cerebral Palsy-Bus Accident Case Go To Trial

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Posted on 13th July 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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A Georgia appellate court has reversed a summary judgment ruling that threw out a suit filed by a woman motorist whose vehicle was hit by a school bus, which she claims caused her newborn to develop cerebral palsy, according to Daily Report.

http://www.dailyreportonline.com/PubArticleDRO.jsp?id=1373454765112&Court_Reverses_Summary_Judgment_In_School_Bus_Accident&slreturn=20130613223835<

The mother, Katina Nixon, sued the Pierce County School District over a March 10, 2008 accident. Nixon, nine months pregnant, was driving a small sedan when she was hit from the rear by a District school bus. In the crash, Nixon suffered bruises on her chest and lap from her seat belt, and had neck and shoulder injuries, the Daily Report said.

Nixon was rushed to the hospital, where doctors induced labor. The next day, March 11, Nixon gave birth to a girl, Kylee. But all was not well. At age six months it became apparent that the baby was favoring her left side, and at age one she was having trouble crawling because of the limited use she had of her right side, according to the ruling of the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Nixon took her daughter to a pediatric neurologist, who diagnosed Kylee as having cerebral palsy due to a perinatal stroke.

In her negligence lawsuit, Nixon blamed her daughter’s stroke and subsequent cerebral palsy on the collision with the bus. In a deposition, the neurologist said the crash could have caused Kylee’s condition, but that she couldn’t say there was a direct “casual connection” between the stroke and bus accident beyond a 50 percent chance, the appellate court said.

The school district filed a partial summary judgment, which was granted by the trial court. It found that Nixon “failed to create a jury question as to whether Kylee sustained an injury as a result of the bus accident,” the appeals court said in its ruling.

But the appeals court disagreed and reversed.

“We agree with the District that the causal connection between the stroke and bus accident presents a specialized medical question that requires expert testimony but … we hold that the record evidence is sufficient to create a jury question on that issue,” the appellate court said.

So the case will go to trial.


Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
g@gordonjohnson.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.