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School bus crash leads to $1M N.C.I.C. award


A woman who was seriously injured after her car was hit head-on by a school bus has been awarded $1 million in damages—the maximum recovery allowed under the state’s Tort Claims Act—by the North Carolina Industrial Commission, her attorneys report.



Jim Barnes and Robert R. Underwood of Oxendine Barnes & Associates in Raleigh report that their client, Takesha McKenzie, was traveling south on U.S. Highway 29A in Landis on Sept. 22, 2016 when the driver of the school bus, who was heading north, took her eyes off the road. The bus crossed over the double-yellow line, and the driver did not apply the brakes at any point prior to the collision with McKenzie’s car.

The bus weighed approximately 10,000 pounds, and the force of impact was powerful enough to be felt within the interior of the bus, the attorneys report. The damage to McKenzie’s car was so severe that she required an extraction from the vehicle. She was transported to a hospital, where doctors confirmed that she had shattered her ankle and suffered a hematoma in her chest wall.

McKenzie filed a negligence claim against the Rowan-Salisbury School System under the Tort Claims Act. The school system admitted that the bus driver was the sole cause of the collision. After an evidentiary hearing, Deputy Commissioner David Mark Hullender awarded McKenzie the full $1,000,000 statutory cap, plus litigation costs, on Feb. 15. The Attorney General’s office appealed to the full commission, and the commission affirmed the award on December 9.



Follow David Donovan on Twitter @NCLWDonovan


Amount: $1,000,000

Injuries alleged: Shattered ankle, chest wall hematoma

Case name: Takesha Chambers McKenzie v. Rowan-Salisbury School System

Court: North Carolina Industrial Commission

Case No.: I.C. No. TA-26081

Commissioner: David Mark Hullender

Date of verdict: Feb. 15

Highest offer: $55,000

Attorneys for plaintiff: Jim Barnes and Robert R. Underwood of Oxendine Barnes & Associates in Raleigh

Attorneys for defendant: Charles G. Whitehead and Christina Hayes of the North Carolina Department of Justice

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