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'Too Late,' Judge Tells Paramus Teacher, Bus Crash Survivor Who Tried To File Suit

Mount Olive PD
Mount Olive PD Photo Credit: Mount Olive PD

A Paramus teacher who survived the Morris County school bus crash on Route 80 might have been able to file a lawsuit -- if only she had tried sooner, according to a Superior Court judge.

East Brook Middle School teacher Jessica Madonna was diagnosed with PTSD in January, eight months after the Mount Olive crash that killed her colleague, a fifth grade student and left nearly 40 others injured, reports.

The 28-year-old was released from the hospital the day of the crash without symptoms, and returned to teaching the following September, the article says citing Morris County court documents.

Madonna tried filing a late tort claim seeking emotional damages in Bergen County Superior Court last March -- 10 months after the crash -- against the Paramus School District and its Board of Education.

But the claim was dismissed when a judge said too much time had passed, says.

Tort claims are the first step in filing a lawsuit and in New Jersey, must be submitted within 90 days of the accident. 

Madonna was hoping for an exception given her recent diagnosis and false information she had allegedly received from prosecutors, the article says.

The teacher inquired about filing a tort claim in July 2018 but did not take action, and her anxiety was not severe enough to extend the deadline, school lawyers said in court documents.

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