While the jury was deliberating after a four-week liability trial, this case was settled for a record-breaking $13,500,000. This is the largest reported settlement of a personal injury case in the history of Suffolk County, New York.


Plaintiff was 24 years old at the time of the accident. Plaintiff was not employed. She was unable to testify on her own behalf at the time of trial due to her brain injury. The only eyewitness to the accident that testified at trial was the Defendant driver.


At the time of the accident, the Plaintiff, a 24-year-old female, was walking home on St. Johnland Road in Suffolk County when at approximately 8:25PM, she was struck by a company-owned car driven by Defendant, a regional pharmaceutical sales representative for Eli Lilly. The Defendant operator was traveling southbound on St. Johnland Road and claimed to only see Plaintiff in the southbound lane of travel an instant before impact due to poor lighting on the street and Plaintiff's dark clothing. The Defendant claimed that she did not see the Plaintiff at any time prior to feeling the impact and seeing the Plaintiff on her windshield. Defendant claimed that given how dark Plaintiff was dressed and how dark the roadway was, there was no way that she could have avoided striking Plaintiff with her vehicle.

At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was carrying a purse and another bag of personal items. The impact of the crash was so great that her belongings ended up strewn about the roadway in what the Suffolk County police described as a debris field. The items were photographed and measured by the police at the scene of the collision.

The Defendant driver was questioned at the scene and was found to be free of legal wrongdoing by the police.

The lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy assembled a team of internationally respected experts to prove that despite Plaintiff's dark clothing and the dimly lit roadway, the Defendant should have been able to see Plaintiff at a distance of approximately 174 feet prior to impact had Defendant been paying proper attention. Among the experts presented by Block O'Toole & Murphy was a professor with a specialty in nighttime visibility from the United States Naval Academy.

Additionally Block O'Toole and Murphy provided the jury with an accident reconstruction utilizing the location of the Plaintiff's final resting place and the debris items found at the scene. Based on the distances between these items were set, Block O'Toole & Murphy were able to provide the jury with an estimate of the defendants speed at the time of impact. There was no black box data available on the Defendant's vehicle and the Defendant testified that she was traveling 25 to 30 mi./h. The lawyers from Block O'Toole & Murphy submitted proofs that she was traveling closer to 50 mi./h


Plaintiff suffered catastrophic injuries, including blunt force trauma to the head, body, and limbs as a result of the crash. She sustained a traumatic brain injury to the left frontal lobe, subdural hematoma, ruptured diaphragm, and a lacerated spleen. Additionally, Plaintiff also sustained multiple fractures, including fractures to the C1 vertebral body, left humerus, and pelvis.

The Court permitted Plaintiff to call 3 medical doctors to the stand, as her brain injuries prevented her from testifying on her behalf.


The parties negotiated a $13,500,000 pretrial settlement.


This case was handled by Daniel O'Toole, Esq. and Scott Occhiogrosso, Esq.