$4,000,000 Settlement for Driver Who Sustained Back, Neck, and Shoulder Injuries after a Two-Car Collision


July 17, 2012


Supreme Court, Kings County


At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was a 53-year-old hotel porter.


At approximately 7 p.m. on Feb. 5, 2010, Plaintiff was driving on the westbound side of Atlantic Avenue, near its intersection at Woodhaven Boulevard in the Woodhaven section of Queens. While he was proceeding through the intersection, the front portion of his minivan's left side was struck by a car that was being driven by Defendant, who was executing a left turn. As a result of the crash, Plaintiff sustained injuries to his back, neck and shoulder.

Plaintiff sued Defendant and the owner of Defendant's vehicle, Fire Systems Inc. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Plaintiff further alleged that Fire Systems was vicariously liable for Defendant's actions.

Plaintiff claimed that a green traffic signal permitted his entrance to the intersection. He contended that Defendant has yielded the right of way.

Defendant contended that Atlantic Avenue's eastbound signal displayed a green arrow for left-turning motorists, and he claimed that the westbound signal thusly would have been red. However, Plaintiff's counsel contended that a green left-turn signal would have followed a standard green signal for eastbound and westbound traffic, and, as such, they contended that Plaintiff had not proceeded past a red signal, his vehicle would have activated a camera that photographs signal violators.


During the day that followed the accident, Plaintiff went to the hospital for minor treatment. Plaintiff ultimately sustained herniations of the C3-4, C4-5, L2-3, L4-5 and L5-S1 intervertebral discs. He also sustained a tear of the rotator cuff of his left, nondominant arm's shoulder.

Plaintiff initially underwent conservative treatment that included physical therapy and the administration of epidural injections of steroid-based painkillers, but he contended that the treatment did not resolve his pain. On April 16, 2010, he underwent arthroscopic surgery that addressed his left shoulder. His spinal injuries were addressed via two surgeries. On Aug. 18, 2010, he underwent surgery that included a discectomy, which, involved the excision of a portion of a disc of his spine's cervical region; the implantation of an artificial disc; fusion of the corresponding level of his spine; and the implantation of a stabilizing plate and screws. On March 22, 2011, he underwent surgeries that included laminectomies, which involved the partial excision of his L4, L5 and S1 vertebrae; fusion of the posterior side of his spine's L4-5 and L5-S1 levels; the application of a stabilizing graft of bony matter; and the application of a stabilizing rod and screws.

Plaintiff claimed that he suffers residual pain and limitations that prevent his resumption of manual labor. He sought recovery of about $27,000 for his past medical expenses, an unspecified amount for his past and future lost earnings, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering.

Defense counsel contended that Plaintiff did not sustain a serious injury as defined by the no-fault law, Insurance Law 5102(d). He claimed that the accident involved a minor collision that caused minimal damage of the vehicles, and he contended that such a collision could not have caused the injuries that Plaintiff claimed to have sustained.

Defense counsel also contended that Plaintiff can procure sedentary work, though he acknowledged that the compensation would not likely approximate Plaintiff's pre-accident earnings.


The case settled for $4,000,000.


This matter was handled by Jeffrey A. Block, Esq. and Scott Ochiogrosso, Esq.