Settlement for Auto Accident Victim With Neck Injuries

SUMMARY OF CASE

Block O'Toole & Murphy won a settlement of $1,200,000 for the plaintiff, a woman whose car was rear-ended in Brooklyn and suffered a neck injury as a result. Our lawyers successfully overcame the defense's argument that the neck pain suffered was actually a pre-existing condition.

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COURT AND COUNTY
Supreme Court, Kings County

AGE AND OCCUPATION OF PLAINTIFF
Plaintiff was 50 years old at the time of settlement. Before and after the accident, Plaintiff operated a day care center out of her Brooklyn home.

DESCRIPTION OF CASE
Plaintiff was driving her car and came to a stop for a red traffic light at the intersection of Ditmas Avenue and East 94th Street in Brooklyn. A pick-up truck owned and operated by the Defendants struck Plaintiff's vehicle from behind. Plaintiff moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability against the Defendants and won. Had the case not settled, it would have gone to trial on the issue of Plaintiff's damages to determine how much the case was worth.

INJURIES/DAMAGES
Plaintiff suffered spine injuries in two motor vehicle accidents before the accident that resulted in this case. In fact, shortly before this accident, Plaintiff injured her neck and underwent significant treatment as well as an MRI study, which revealed a herniated disc at the C4/C5 level that contacted her spinal cord.

Only weeks before the subject accident, Plaintiff was visiting doctors and complaining of severe neck pain that radiated to her arms. During her deposition, Plaintiff admitted that she was feeling neck pain on the very morning of the accident, just before the accident occurred.

After the most recent accident, Plaintiff refused medical attention at the scene and went home. Shortly thereafter, she began a course of treatment for neck and back pain. Ultimately, Plaintiff underwent a neck surgery, consisting of an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion at the C4/C5 level. MRI studies taken after the subject accident revealed that the C4/C5 disc in Plaintiff's neck was in the exact same condition before the accident as it was after the accident.

Plaintiff argued that the most recent car accident worsened and aggravated her prior neck injury, and caused the need for the neck surgery. The defense, and their expert doctors, argued that Plaintiff's neck problems all pre-dated the accident. Plaintiff returned to her employment of running a day care center immediately after the accident. Plaintiff's claimed damages were for pain and suffering, and past and future medical costs.

The case settled before a trial date was scheduled, and after a private mediation between the parties.

VERDICT/SETTLEMENT AMOUNT
$1,200,000

NOTE
This case was handled by attorneys Stephen J. Murphy and David L. Scher.