$1.5 Million Settlement for Client Whose Car Was Hit by an MTA Bus

On the date of the accident, the plaintiff was driving to the LaGuardia Hotel for a luncheon when he stopped at a guard booth to ask for directions. When the plaintiff realized that no one was in the guard booth, he started to continue down the road and was struck in the rear by an MTA bus. The hit to the rear left him with multiple herniated discs that required surgery. The parties negotiated a settlement of $1.5 million prior to trial.

Court and County
Supreme Court, Queens County

Age and Occupation of Plaintiff
At the time of the accident, our client was a 51-year-old union carpenter.

Description of Case
On the date of the accident, our client was driving to the LaGuardia Hotel. Our client was going to the hotel for a luncheon because he had family flying into New York. He was unfamiliar with the area and was unsure where the hotel was located.

Our client was driving down 23rd Avenue in Queens when he realized that he may have made a wrong turn. 23rd Avenue is a two-way street, with two lanes going in each direction, and a parking lane on each side. Seeing that there were no other cars on the road, our client proceeded to make a legal U-turn and proceeded down 23rd Avenue in the opposite direction.

As our client approached 87th Street, he saw a guard booth in front of the MTA LaGuardia Bus Depot and decided to stop and ask for directions to the LaGuardia Hotel. Our client pulled up to the guard booth and stopped in the right lane of 23rd Avenue, only to realize that no one was in the guard booth. Our client was only stopped for 5-10 seconds and was about to begin driving again, when he was rear-ended by the defendant. The defendant was driving an MTA bus that had passengers on it. Our client's foot was still on the brake when the impact occurred and he never saw the bus prior to the impact.

The bus made contact with the back of our client's car and left damage to the bumper, left rear quarter panel, and left rear taillight. The impact into the back of our client's car was forceful; it caused the car to move forward about one car length. Our client thought he may have needed medical attention, but refused it at the scene. Later that same day, our client checked into the emergency room at Elmhurst Hospital due to the severity of his injuries.

Injuries and Damages
Plaintiff complained of headache, neck pain, and lower back pain that radiated down both legs. Our client sustained a lumbar herniation at L4-L5 which required surgery. Additionally, our client sustained cervical herniations at C5-C6 and C6-C7, which required fusion surgery at those levels. Plaintiff made claims for past and future medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

Settlement
The parties negotiated a $1,500,000 pre-trial settlement.

Handling Attorneys
The case was handled by Partner Stephen J. Murphy & Senior Counsel Michael J. Hurwitz.