LINCOLN, Neb. — The Associated Press reports that Judge Steven Burns of Lancaster County District Court ordered Norris School District to pay 70% of the damages awarded to Jeff Hall, a pickup truck driver injured in a 2009 collision with a district school bus, totaling $770,000.
Nearly two dozen students were hurt when their bus collided with Hall’s truck at a rural intersection where a stop sign was missing and visibility was blocked by corn fields.
Hall said in his lawsuit that the bus driver was at fault for speeding at nearly 50 mph into the intersection, according to Associated Press. In a 2010 ruling, the trial court awarded Hall $1.1 million but reduced the figure by 30%, saying Hall was in part responsible for the crash because he recognized it was a blind spot. The judge ordered the district to pay 50% and the county 20%, saying the county was liable because if it had conducted regular inspections it would have discovered the stop sign was missing.
In April, Supreme Court Judge William Cassel, writing for the Nebraska Supreme Court, overruled the judge on assessing the county some liability, saying there was no way to know how long the stop sign had been missing, according to the Associated Press. He instructed the trial court to reapportion the county's 20% liability between Hall and the district. Burns last week ordered the district to cover all 20%, plus the 50% he had previously ordered the district to pay.
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