Woman who fell from airport shuttle awarded $476,500

A 74-year-old Milwaukie, OR, woman was awarded $476,500 by an Oregon jury who said the airport shuttle service she used was at fault for the woman’s fall and broken ankle.

The woman, Dorothy Kohut, said the Blue Star Airport Express shuttle she used stopped 20 feet short of her driveway. When Kohut got out of the shuttle in the dark, she fell over the depression in the ground and broke her ankle.

Kohut alleges in the lawsuit that the driver didn’t offer her a step stool or a hand out of the shuttle to ensure her safety. Kohut, who is a regular customer of the shuttle service, claims that other drivers always offered her assistance when she got out.

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Kohut, then 70, was coming back from visiting family on the East Coast when she boarded the shuttle at Portland International Airport on January 1, 2014, she said.

Kohut had high medical bills and suffered lost wages after having to move from full-time to part-time at her job as an occupational therapist because of her broken ankle.

She also developed arthritis and needed a $9,000 brace to allow her to walk for four or five blocks at a time, her attorney Jason Kafoury told Oregon Live. The lawyer said Kohut’s two passions – gardening and dancing – are no longer possible for her.

The jury deliberated after a four-day trail and found the shuttle service to be at 90 percent fault for the fall, while they said Kohut retained 10 percent of the blame.

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The jury determined that Kohut should receive coverage for her medical bills and lost wages, as well as $337,500 for her pain and suffering, Oregon Live reports.

A representative from Blue Star Airport Express did not release a comment.

Though the depression Kohut fell into was casued by a city-owned water meter cover, she did not sue the city of Milwaukie because of immunity laws that protect the city from liability.