Jurors returned a verdict in the amount of $1,094,034.30 on Friday, February 12, 2010 for a young man tragically injured in a crash with a Palm Beach County School Bus.
The 14 year old boy, Altavious Carter, was being driven home by his basketball coach after practice. The coach made a routine stop at a red traffic light. A Palm Beach County School District bus was traveling at 45 or 50 miles per hour, approaching the unsuspecting 14 year old basketball star. For reasons still unclear, the bus failed to slow; failed to stop; and rear ended the vehicle where the 14 year old was appropriately seat belted. The 14 year old boy, who loved basketball, suffered a broken neck and other serious injuries.
Not surprisingly, the Palm Beach County School District admitted their fault in the accident and the case went to trial in Palm Beach County last week. The School District argued they should not owe the young man more than $250,000 for his very significant injuries; because they argued he had failed to suffer a permanent injury.
This young man has fought a valiant battle in coming back from his injuries. Doctors feared he would be paralyzed, but this young man has demonstrated a heroic courage. He has had very limited resources with which to rehabilitate himself and has largely been successful through sheer strength of will.
Because the School District of Palm Beach County is a “sovereign immune”, governmental entity, it is not likely they will voluntarily make payment of the verdict. It will be necessary to win a claims bill submitted to the Florida legislature before any payment will be made to Mr. Carter. Although the battle is not over Attorneys Denney and Hill are ecstatic that their client will have the funds to go forward in his life on a more positive basis than he has been able to do so far.