Jury awards former Mount Laurel woman $742,000 after bus accident

Posted: Thursday, March 1, 2012 6:49 pm | Updated: 9:30 pm, Thu Mar 1, 2012.

By Matt Chiappardi Staff writer |

A Burlington County jury awarded a former Mount Laurel woman $742,000 in damages for a bus accident in New York that her attorney said has left her in daily “unthinkable pain” for five years.

Stephanie Washington, 44, was involved in an accident in December 2006 with a passenger bus from the Olympia Trails Bus Co.

Washington was on her way to a pre-Christmas hair appointment in Manhattan when her compact car was sideswiped by a 40-foot Newark Airport Express bus, according to a statement from her attorney, Brian Katz.

The accident, near 8th Avenue and 42nd Street, left Washington with a spinal injury that has caused her “disabling pain,” according to the lawsuit.

Her medical team has recommended she undergo major spinal disk replacement surgery. Washington has not yet had the operation, Katz said.

She brought the suit against the Newark bus company in Superior Court in Mount Holly.

Because both the plaintiff and defendant are from New Jersey, the case could be litigated anywhere in the state, Katz said. It was heard in Burlington County because Washington lived in Mount Laurel and Katz practices in Evesham.

A jury deliberated for five hours before awarding Washington $742,000 this past week, according to her attorney.

“I am so appreciative to the jury and to my attorney for ensuring that justice has now been done,” Washington said Thursday. “After being severely injured by a large bus, I was upset for the 5½ years the bus company refused to take responsibility for what they did to me.”

Washington has since moved from Mount Laurel to Atlanta to be closer to family, Katz said.

She also had to leave her job as an administrative assistant for the New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits.

“Stephanie is a courageous individual who, despite her circumstances, is hopeful that this outcome might make other bus operators and their employees more careful and more responsible,” Katz said.

Olympia Trails officials did not immediately return a call requesting comment Thursday.

Matt Chiappardi: 609-871-8054;

email:; Twitter: @mattchiappardi

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