Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Dec. 17, 2013, 7:02am

A bus company blamed in a college student’s personal injury lawsuit claims the plaintiff was distracted and tripped over her own feet, and should be accountable for her own negligence.

According to the complaint filed Oct. 23 against Vandalia Bus Lines, Ciera Major claims she was a passenger on a bus in August 2012 when she tried to get off the bus at an Amtrak station in Alton. She claims she fell, hurting her ankle.

She blames the bus company for failing to provide assistance or warn passengers as they exited the bus of possible dangers. She also says she was unable to attend college because of the injury, losing a semester of tuition.

Defendant Vandalia Bus Lines answered the complaint on Dec. 12 denying the allegations against it and demanding a trial by jury.

Vandalia Bus Lines also filed three affirmative defenses arguing that her complaint failed to state a cause of action.

According to the affirmative defenses, the plaintiff is accused of causing her own injuries by failing to keep a careful lookout, failing to wear proper shoes and being distracted by her cell phone. She is accused of falling “over her own two feet.”

Major refuted the defendant’s affirmative defenses on Dec. 12 and demanded strict proof.

Major seeks a judgment of more than $50,000.

Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge is presiding over the case.

Laura A. Cole of Smith, Mendenhall, Selby & Cole in Alton represents Major.

David Berwin of the Law Firm of Evans & Dixon LLC in St. Louis represents Vandalia Bus Lines.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 13-L-1781

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