DOWNTOWN — The Chicago Transit Authority will pay $20 million to settle a 2019 lawsuit after a bus hit and pinned a Pennsylvania woman crossing the street, causing severe injuries to her leg.
The Chicago Transit Board agreed to the settlement during their meeting Friday, voting unanimously to accept the payout on the recommendation of their lawyers.
Insurance will cover $5 million of the settlement as well as the transit agency’s cost of legal fees, board president Lester Barclay said.
The crash happened Aug. 2, 2019.
Diane Schachner, then 59, was in town helping her daughter move into an apartment in Streeterville, her attorney Patrick Salvi said. Schachner had gotten some supplies and was walking across Fairbanks Court and Ontario Avenue at 8:45 a.m. when a bus hit and pinned her, Salvi said.
Schachner hit her head on the ground and the bus dragged her 27 feet before stopping and pinning her right leg, her attorneys said. Schachner was trapped underneath the bus for nearly 30 minutes until first responders were able to free her, according to her attorneys and news reports at the time.
She was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious condition, the Sun-Times reported at the time.
A CTA spokesperson said the bus driver involved in the crash no longer works for the agency.
Schachner can now walk, but she has had about a dozen surgeries on her leg, Salvi said Friday. The incident forced Schachner to quit her job as a nursing coordinator in a cystic fibrosis ward, Salvi said.
Schachner is from the Pittsburgh area in Pennsylvania, Salvi said.
As litigation continued, doctors gave differing opinions on the extent of Schachner’s injuries and future prognosis, Salvi said.
Lawyers for Schachner argued the bus driver should have seen her crossing the street in broad daylight. Video surveillance showed Schachner had the right of way, but was walking just outside the marked crosswalk when the crash occurred.
The case was scheduled to go to trial in March, but the two sides reached a settlement through mediation in December, Salvi said.
The Schachner family was happy with the outcome, Salvi said.
“We’re very pleased with it,” Salvi said. “Although she suffered a very serious injury, the amount of money that she’ll receive will be able to take care of her for any treatment and loss of earnings going forward. Also, it is appropriate compensation for her disfigurement, her loss of a normal life and her pain.”
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