$3,400,000 for Man Struck by NYC Parks Department Vehicle

Court and County

New York County Clerk

Plaintiff Description

Our client was 49 years old and employed at a treatment facility for troubled youths.

Description of Case

On the day of the accident, our client was working his side job as a referee at a basketball game for 14-year-old kids in Central Park. While he was watching the game, there was a change of possession and he turned to run down the court. Almost as soon as he turned, he was struck by a New York City Parks Department vehicle which had decided to cross the court while the game was actively ongoing.

The accident happened in the blink of an eye and our client never saw the vehicle before the impact. Initially, the woman driving the vehicle left the scene, only returning when witnesses ran and tracked her down. She said that she had driven across the court before with no issues and had never been told that she wasn't allowed to drive there. Our client suggested that not driving on an active basketball court is common sense and then went to the closest Parks Department and had a formal report taken by an employee.

The vehicle stopped our client in his tracks but didn't knock him to the ground. Emergency Services were called and they examined our client at the scene. By this point, our client was experiencing significant pain in his neck and left eye (which was cut and swollen). EMS offered to take our client to the hospital, but he declined because he had to go pick up his daughter from a friends' house that day. He rested at home that night but checked himself into Harlem Hospital the next afternoon.

Injuries

In the days following the incident, our client's primary complaints were of pain in his neck and eyes; he was also experiencing tingling and numbness in his right hand, which concerned him greatly.

Our client also suffered a distressing array of back and spinal injuries:

  • Disc herniations affecting the C3-7 discs resulting in multilevel significant stenosis
  • Compression of the spinal cord at the C3/4 level with resultant focal myomalacia affecting the left aspect of the cord
  • Large C5/6 disc herniation resulting in severe left lateral recess and foraminal stenosis
  • Straightening of the normal cervical spondylosis

It was eventually determined that he would require spinal fusion surgery at C3/4, C4/5, C5/6 and C6/7, and that, sadly, having surgery at all four levels was unavoidable. Following the surgery, our client had persistent burning pain in the back of his neck which was only relieved by lying down. He also found that the right side of his face would go completely numb intermittently and experienced constant piercing headaches; during this time, he was using a spinal cord stimulator for 4 hours a day. He began to suffer from disturbed sleep, waking up every roughly 45 minutes due to extreme pain in his neck.

As a result of his accident and injuries, our client began to feel constantly fatigued and could no longer do many activities with his daughter that they used to enjoy together. Due to his disabilities, he was unable to continue working at the youth facility and was eventually let go.

Settlement

The parties settled this case for $3,400,000.

Handling Attorneys

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