NJ: Woman Hit By Bus to Get $7.7M

WOMAN HIT BY BUS TO GET $7.7M

A Paterson woman whose leg was amputated after she was struck by an NJ Transit bus in 2008 reached a tentative $7.7 million settlement with the agency Tuesday, according to sources close to the case.

Plaintiff Mercedes Perez's civil case against NJ Transit and one of its bus drivers, Kirsys Santiago-Carcamo, was just about to go to trial before Superior Court Judge Anthony Graziano in Paterson on Tuesday when the settlement was reached.

Perez's suit, filed in April 2009, alleged that the agency's negligence resulted in her "life-threatening" injuries. The suit states that Perez was struck while crossing Market Street at Cianci Street in Paterson on Oct. 9, 2008.

Her injuries included facial fractures, above-the-knee amputation of her left leg and partial right-foot amputation, according to the suit.

"Defendant NJ Transit was negligent in the training, preparation and instruction of defendant, Santiago-Carcamo, and other drivers, rendering them incapable of negotiating certain types of maneuvers on the bus she was driving," the suit states. "The defendants failed to properly adjust to certain intersections, types of maneuvers and were or should have been aware of the danger their drivers posed to the general public while negotiating these maneuvers," the suit also states.

"Defendant NJ Transit knew or should have known that defendant Santiago-Carcamo was operating the vehicle in a negligent, dangerous manner and that she was not suitable to operate the vehicle," the suit adds.

The bus driver's hometown, and whether she is still with NJ Transit, could not be confirmed Tuesday.

Attorney Brad S. Scenerman of Clifton, representing Perez, declined to comment. He said the settlement was confidential and would not confirm a monetary figure. The settlement was not memorialized on the record before Graziano in open court.

A source close to the case said the settlement still had to be approved by the governor.

A jury had been selected to hear the case before Graziano, and opening statements were set to begin in the morning court session Tuesday when, after several hours, the jury was dismissed because a settlement had been reached. According to court papers, at least 10 witnesses were to be presented in support of Perez's case. The trial was expected to last about two weeks, court papers said.

E-mail: petrick@northjersey.com

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