$2,400,000 Awarded to Man Injured in Motor Vehicle Accident

Court and County

Supreme, Queens

Plaintiff Description

At the time of the accident, our client was 39 years old and working as a customer service technician taking roughly 160 phone calls a day.

Description of Case

On the day of the accident, our client was stuck in stop-and-go traffic, heading eastbound on the Long Island Expressway. While he was sitting in the middle lane surrounded by traffic, he was suddenly rear-ended by a Boars Head truck, causing significant damage to his vehicle, crushing his trunk and shattering his rear-view window.

Initially, our client did not think he was badly injured, so he didn't immediately go for medical treatment. Over the weekend, however, he began to experience serious neck and low back pain, so he checked himself into Cornell Medical PC on Monday. He was beginning to complain of pain in both of his shoulders and his middle back. Furthermore, the pain in his neck was beginning to radiate to his upper extremities, where he would occasionally feel numbness. He was referred out for MRIs of his neck, back, right shoulder and head.

Our client was granted summary judgement on the issue of liability.

Injuries

An MRI of our client's back revealed an array of distressing and serious injuries in his cervical and lumbar spine:

  • C2/3 posterior midline herniation
  • C3/4 bulge flattening the anterior aspect of the thecal sac
  • C4/5 posterior to left-sided disc herniation with cord compression and central stenosis
  • C5/6 posterior midline herniation impinging the thecal sac, compressing the spinal cord and causing central stenosis
  • C6/7 small posterior midline to right-sided disc herniation
  • L3/4 posterior midline to right-sided disc herniation impinging the thecal sac
  • L4/5 posterior midline to right-sided herniation
  • L5-S1 posterior midline herniation into the epidural fat

Our client's pain was intense, and in an attempt to provide him relief, he received injections in both his shoulder and neck-but these were not effective. More drastic action had to be taken and he soon required spinal fusion surgery at C5/6.

The recovery period from his surgery was painful and uncertain, and doctors advised our client that he would not be able to return to work as a service technician. He was let go from his position and went on to make a claim for lost future wages.

Our client also made a claim for damages for future medical expenses. To this end, one doctor noted that our client would require intermittent cervical and lumbosacral epidural injections for an undetermined amount of time, which cost roughly $1,500 a shot. The doctor also indicated that our client would require trigger point injections every 3-6 months for the foreseeable future, which cost roughly $300 per treatment.

In the weeks and months following his accident, our client experienced an array of emotional disturbances including post-accident stress disorder, depression and chronic anxiety disorder. His sleep began to be greatly disrupted and he started to feel constant fatigue.

Settlement

The parties participated in a binding arbitration, resulting in an award of $2,400,000.

Handling Attorneys

This matter was handled by Daniel P. O'Toole and Frederick C. Aranki.