Illinois Jury Finds For School Bus Driver Turning Into Bicyclist; Then Court Orders New Trial

On Oct. 10, 2008, 12-year-old Ryan Walsh and his cousin were riding their bikes to school at Thompson Junior High School in Oswego, Ill.  They were traveling northbound on the sidewalk along Boulder Hill Pass.  Ryan was crossing the school’s driveway apron when the defendant school bus full of students made a right turn into the driveway.  This caused a collision with Ryan and his bike in the crosswalk.

The impact between Ryan’s bike and the school bus occurred between the bicycle and the passenger side of the bus immediately behind the front tire.  This caused Ryan to become lodged underneath the bus and be dragged 10-15 feet, according to the bus driver.

Ryan sustained a right-sided L-5 transverse process fracture, right-sided S-1 fracture, puncture wound to the right buttocks, road rash and abrasions to his hands, arms and legs.  Ryan later developed permanent degeneration of his lumbar spine with a bulging L4-5 disc.  His medical bills were $49,452.

Ryan maintained that his bike entered the crosswalk first and that the defendant bus driver, Bruce McBain, had a heightened duty of care in a school zone and that the defendant breached that duty by choosing not to see and stop for the bicyclist.  The defendant denied negligence, maintained that the defendant bus driver met his burden of care in the operation of the school bus and argued that Ryan Walsh was the proximate cause of the incident due to his failure to yield the right-of-way to the bus.

 It was also claimed that Ryan chose not to pay attention to where he was riding or make the proper lookout for his own safety.  In addition, the defendant claimed that Ryan was riding his bike at a fast speed and rode into the side of the bus. 

After the trial, the court granted plaintiff’s post-trial motion for a new trial and vacated the defendants’ judgment in its favor.  Accordingly, even though the jury found in favor of the defendants, the court ordered a new trial and vacated the verdict.

A new trial will be held in Lake County at a later date.

Before trial, the demand to settle the case was $425,000 with an offer of $90,000 from the defendants.

The attorneys representing Ryan Walsh were Kevin Golden and Mark C. McCallister.

Ryan Walsh, a minor v. Bruce McBain and Oswego Community Unit School District 308, No. 09 L 45 (Lake County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling bicycle accidents, truck accidents, bus accident cases and car accidents cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Chicago (Stockyards, Canaryville, Bridgeport, Bronzeville, West Loop, West Town, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Edgebrook), Bensenville, Elmwood Park, Glendale Heights, Melrose Park, Forest Park, Park Forest, Oak Forest, Palos Park, Oakbrook and Prospect Heights, Ill

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