A CTA and Chicago police investigation determined that Stark was negligent and should have seen Szynalik, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said. Stark was immediately put on an unpaid suspension and later dismissed from his job, Steele said. Stark had only about one year of experience driving buses, the CTA said at the time."
The CTA fought this case for 5 years before finally agreeing to settle the case. Despite some issues surrounding comparative fault, the CTA should have cut its losses and settled earlier.
The negligence analysis in the steel worker fall case applies here, but note that the CTA is a common carrier and therefore owes special duties of care to its passengers and even bystanders. Clearly the bus driver breached several duties of care, his negligence was the cause of her death, and she clearly was harmed. It is questionable to rely on a jury to uphold any affirmative defense and so the CTA decided to settle. The CTA may have gotten a better settlement figure if they settled early and not only saved themselves 5 years worth of attorney's fees but also 5 years of fighting and suffering for the family of the victim. Most plaintiff's who suffered such damages are rarely dissuaded from a trial after 5 years. I believe that the CTA could have settled this matter for significantly less if it acted quickly and graciously after it had evaluated the situation and honestly determined culpability.