Newsday Highlights Record-Setting Nassau County Motorcycle Accident Verdict

Friday, October 8, 2004

A State Supreme Court jury in Mineola awarded $13.9 million to Justin Firmes, 25, who left leg was amputated after a car crashed into his motorcycle in 2002. Mr. Firmes who is from Farmingdale was driving south on North Broadway in North Massapequa on October 6, 2002 according to Daniel O'Toole, one of Firmes' attorneys. Christopher Tietjen was driving a pick-up truck, heading north on the same road. The accident occurred when Tietjen was making a left turn but couldn't see Firmes approaching because a truck, parked on North Broadway, blocked Tietjen's view, according to O'Toole. "Justin had the right of way," O'Toole said in an interview after the verdict was announced.

Firmes, a former mechanic and tow truck operator was hospitalized for one and a half months at Nassau University Medical Center. Within a month of the accident, Firmes underwent 11 surgeries. Firmes' left leg was amputated below the knee.

The jury also found Chase Manhattan Automotive Finance Corp., which leased the car to Tietjen, responsible. New York State law says car owners are liable for negligence caused by the driver.