$1,300,000 Settlement For A Brooklyn Bicyclist Struck By A Van

$1,300,000 Settlement For A Brooklyn Bicyclist Struck By A Van, Aggravating Prior Neck and Back Injuries

Age and Occupation of Plaintiff

Plaintiff was 52 years old and unemployed at the time of the accident.

Description of the Case

This case stems from an August 5, 2010 accident, which occurred when Plaintiff was riding his bicycle and was struck by a right turning van owned by Defendants. Plaintiff was riding his bicycle along the left side of the street, in the direction facing oncoming traffic, which was the improper side of the street for Plaintiff to be biking on. Plaintiff brought his bike to a stop just before the driveway exit of a beach club located at the intersection of Beech Street and Richard Street. The Defendant van exited the beach club, turned right and struck the Plaintiff, knocking him to the ground. The Defendant van driver claimed that he never saw the Plaintiff prior to the impact, and that his van never left the roadway prior to the accident, meaning that Plaintiff had been stopped in the roadway and on the wrong side of the roadway.

Injuries

As a result of the impact, Plaintiff claimed injuries to his neck, lower back and left leg. Specifically, Plaintiff claimed fractures to the left fibular head and shaft, as well as herniated discs at the C6/7, L1/2 and L5/S1 levels of his spine. Ultimately, Plaintiff underwent a neck surgery consisting of anterior cervical discectomy with fusion at the C6/7 level. Plaintiff also underwent a lower back surgery, which involved discectomies and fusions at the L1/2 and L5/S1 levels.

Defendants vigorously contested damages, mainly based on Plaintiff's prior history of neck and back problems. In this regard, Plaintiff was involved in a prior motor vehicle accident that occurred less than 3 months before the subject accident, for which he injured his neck and back and commenced a lawsuit. Plaintiff was taken to the Emergency Room following that prior accident, where he was diagnosed with rib fractures. Plaintiff then started a course of physical therapy treatments for his neck and lower back that continued right up to the subject August 5, 2010 accident. Less than 1 month before the subject accident, Plaintiff had MRI testing that revealed herniated discs at the C6/7 and L5/S1 levels of his spine (2 of the same levels that he claimed were injured in the subject accident). Plaintiff also had a prior lower EMG that revealed nerve damage in the form of a left L5/S1 radiculopathy, and he was documented making continuing complaints of neck and back pain radiating to his left side with numbness and tingling in his hands all the way up until the August 5, 2010 accident. Based on this extensive prior neck and back injury history, plus the confirmed prior damage to his spine as revealed by prior MRI and EMG testing, the defense argued that all of Plaintiff's claimed spine injuries pre-existed the accident and were unrelated to the accident.

Plaintiff had no lost earnings claim because he was unemployed at the time of this accident. Plaintiff did pursue claims for medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. The case settled following a private mediation the day before jury selection was scheduled to commence in Kings County Supreme Court.

Settlement Amount

$1,300,000

This case was handled by firm Partners David L. Scher and Stephen J. Murphy, Esq.