$1,675,000 Settlement for Passenger in a Car That Was Hit from Behind by Another Vehicle

Court and County

Supreme, Kings

Plaintiff Description

54-year-old small business owner; Born in Azerbaijan, US Citizen; Speaks primarily Russian and a bit of English; Married with two kids

Description of Case

Our client and his daughter were driving on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. Our client was sitting in the back seat while his daughter drove. He was not wearing a seatbelt at this time.

They exited the Belt Parkway at Cropsey Avenue in Bath Beach, Brooklyn, and came to a stop sign. While they were stopped, they were rear-ended by the Defendant ambulette, leaving pieces of our client's vehicle strewn across the roadway and causing over $10,000 of damage.

Our plaintiff's daughter heard at the scene that the Defendant was not expecting to be called into work that day, and had been out drinking until 4 a.m. the prior night. Summary judgement on the issue of liability was granted pre-discovery.

Injuries

Our client experienced immediate head and neck pain, as well as pain on the left side of his body from his shoulders to low back. He was in shock, however, and chose not to call an ambulance. He tried to return to work, but his pain began to get worse and soon he needed to lie down. He became nauseous and began to vomit. At this point, our client's daughter took him to the emergency room at New York Community Hospital of Brooklyn.

Our client soon began physical therapy at a facility in Bushwick. He was still experiencing headaches, constant neck pain which radiated down his left shoulder and arm, and constant low back pain which radiated down his left knee and leg. After an MRI revealed that he was suffering from a herniated disc at L5/S1, our client was administered a series of lumbar paravertebral nerve blocks to try and relieve his pain without having to resort to surgery.

But his low back pain did not subside and began to worsen and disrupt his sleep. Another MRI also revealed joint effusion in his left shoulder and a meniscus tear in his left knee. Our client eventually had to undergo multiple surgeries to relieve his pain:

  • Left Knee: Lateral meniscal shaving, synovectomy and manipulation
  • Left Shoulder: Decompression, acromioplasty partial resection of distal clavicle and manipulation
  • Lumbar Spine: Laminectomy with decompression and complete L5/S1 discectomy as well as spinal fusion surgery at the L5/S1 level

Settlement Amount

Our client had no lost earnings claim because the business he owned was able to continue to thrive in his absence. He did, however, claim damages for related medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. The defense argued that our client's injuries pre-dated the accident.

The case settled for $1,675,000.

Handling Attorneys

This matter was handled by Partners David L. Scher and Stephen J. Murphy.