Woman Injured Standing Up on Double-Decker Bus Sues Bus Company

Lauren Guerra, hurt while touring Venice, says she was prompted to file a lawsuit by the recent death of a Manhattan Beach teen who was struck by a freeway overpass while standing on the upper level of a Starlines Tour bus.

A double-decker bus in Hollwyood. Path file photo.
A double-decker bus in Hollwyood. Path file photo.

A woman who claims she suffered a fractured skull and eye injuries when she was struck by a tree branch while standing on the upper deck of a Starline Tours bus in Venice filed a lawsuit today against the bus company.

Lauren Guerra's lawsuit against Starline Tours seeks unspecified damages, although she contends she has already incurred about $20,000 in medical costs to treat her injuries.

Starline officials could not be reached for immediate comment on the lawsuit, which was filed less than a week after 16-year-old Mason Zisette of Manhattan Beach died from injuries suffered when his head struck a freeway overpass while on a Starline bus.

"After hearing about what happened to Mason and realizing that this company did nothing to prevent this from happening and having my face broken on the bus, they didn't take any steps to make sure that this didn't happen again and this death could have completely been prevented, is infuriating and incredibly upsetting to me," Guerra said.

Guerra, 35, said she was injured in October while riding a bus with a group of friends on Venice Boulevard.

"Pretty much everybody who was invited on the bus was on the top of the bus, beyond seating capacity," she said. "There were times when people had to duck under branches. I stood up at the wrong time and I got taken out at about 45 miles an hour by a rather large tree branch that shattered the bottom of my eye socket and also damaged the lower muscle of my eye."

Her attorney, Brian Kabateck, said Zisette's death on Saturday precipitated the lawsuit filed today.

"The reason we're filing this lawsuit today, even though my client hasn't completed her course of treatment and has by no way resolved the problems is because of the event that occurred this past week, with the young man who was killed on the same type bus with the same defendant," he said.

Zisette, who played on the tennis team at Mira Costa High School, was standing on the upper deck of a Starline bus around 7:45 p.m. Thursday when his head struck an overpass on the San Diego (405) Freeway at Arbor Vitae Street in El Segundo.

Zisette was knocked unconscious and hospitalized at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, where he died Saturday. 

--City News Service

lscott July 17, 2014 at 03:49 PM
I don't think anything I said was cynical or insensitive. It baffles me that this woman endured these injuries almost 1 year ago. She is suddenly filing a lawsuit now that Mason has died and is capitalizing off his death. If she wanted to file suit, she should have done so in October when her accident took place. I am happy this woman is alive and didn't die as a result of her injuries. But, we are living in a world where everyone thinks they can sue everyone else for problems that go wrong. People need to have some personal accountability and this cycle of suing each other for our own actions needs to end.
GasMeUp July 17, 2014 at 05:28 PM
EVERYTHING needs to be questioned, I trust we can agree--yes? And nothing taken for granted at this stage, right? Too many details are unknown now, correct? So, rushes to judgments & quick opinions can wait a bit? If we all can be patient & open-minded till more is known, that would be great...yes?
ATC July 19, 2014 at 11:15 AM
This lawsuit will never make it into a courtroom. And that's exactly how she and her lawyer want it. The bus company will instead settle for some huge amount out of court. Why? Because that will still be cheaper than the cost of fighting it in court. That's the huge flaw in our system, and that's why there are thousands of bogus claims filed every day. The goal is always a settlement, not a court judgment. Nobody is responsible for their own actions anymore; instead we sue. Stupid SHOULD hurt; but instead it's become a payout.
TC July 20, 2014 at 02:21 PM
It's nice to read posts from people with common sense @iscott, HCooper and ATC. People are always looking to cash in for their bad choices and there is always a lawyer waiting in the wings to take on cases of this sort.
summer July 20, 2014 at 03:13 PM
I'm quite sure the drivers tell their passengers to remain seated when the bus is in motion. I could be wrong, but I'd put money on it. I personally think the driver should counter sue as I'm sure the injuries she incurred with her stupidity has impacted him or her to some degree.


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