A judge has awarded a family from Pennsylvania more than $4.5 million compensation for a bus accident on vacation after the negligent party failed to enter a defense.
In October 2012, the Yuschak family from Dresher, Montgomery County PA, was staying at the Los Altos Beach Resort and Spa in Costa Rica. They decided to spend a day on the beach and boarded the resort-owned shuttle bus to take them there – a converted truck with a canvas roof and two horizontal benches for seats.
Access to the beach is via a twisting and turning downhill track and, as the bus approached the foot of the track, the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed it into a tree – flipping the bus onto its side and sending the family flying from their seats to all be on the driver´s side of the vehicle..
The mother of the family – Susan – sustained a depressed fractured of the skull in the accident, while her daughter – Caitlyn – fractured bones in the lumbosacral region of her lower back. Her son – Eric – suffered ligament damage in his left knee, and her husband – James – fortunately suffered no physical injuries.
The family was taken to a local hospital where they received rudimentary treatment for their injuries before Susan was transferred to a regional care center. James took his two children back to Pennsylvania the following day, where Caitlyn received professional care for her back injury and Eric had to undergo surgery to repair his torn ligaments.
When Susan returned to the United States in December, she was diagnosed as having suffered traumatic brain injury. Susan was unable to return to her job as a part-time pharmacist due to her short-tem memory loss and other issues with her cognitive ability. She also suffered from depression and developed suicidal tendencies – affecting the marital relationship with her husband.
The family claimed compensation for a bus accident on vacation against the Los Altos Beach Resort and Spa, alleging that the converted truck was unfit for its purpose as a bus. In addition to claiming for the physical injuries that the family had suffered, James made a claim for the emotional trauma he had suffered and was still suffering as his marriage deteriorated.
The Los Altos Beach Resort and Spa failed to enter a defense against the claim for compensation for a bus accident on vacation, despite being in communication with the Yuschak family lawyer. Subsequently – at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania – Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg entered a default judgment against the resort and awarded Susan $3.4 million compensation for her pain and suffering and her future lost income.
Other awards of compensation for a bus accident on vacation were made to Caitlyn ($700,000) for her back injury; Eric ($700,000) for his ligament injury; and James ($150,000) for the emotional trauma he continues to suffer.