$950,000 Settlement for Motorcyclist Hurt in Collision with Tractor Trailer in Suffolk County

DATE OF SETTLEMENT

8/10/09

COURT AND COUNTY

Supreme Suffolk

AGE AND OCCUPATION OF PLAINTIFF

Plaintiff was 30 years old on the date of the accident. Plaintiff was a school janitor when the accident occurred.

FACTS AND ALLEGATIONS

The subject accident occurred on August 10, 2006, around 10:06pm near the intersection of Albany Avenue and New Highway in Suffolk County. Plaintiff's motorcycle collided with a tractor trailer at the time of the accident.

Plaintiff was approaching the intersection while the Defendant was stopped in the left lane in the southbound direction on New Highway. Defendant was operating a tractor trailer. Plaintiff was traveling to the right of the Defendant when the Defendant decided to make a right hand turn onto Albany Avenue. As a result, the two collided.

Plaintiff claimed that the tractor trailer was initially stopped in the left southbound lane and then turned to cross his path, ultimately causing the collision. Defendant affirmed that he was stopped initially, but contended that he was straddling both southbound lanes in anticipation of the wide right turn he was preparing to make. Defendant claimed that he activated his right turn signal and was rightfully making a right turn when the Plaintiff negligently passed his tractor trailer and cut in front of it. Defendant insists that it was Plaintiff's negligence that caused the accident.

INJURIES/DAMAGES

Plaintiff suffered injuries to his right shoulder and cervical spine. Specifically, he sustained a tear to his right and dominant shoulder, as well as herniations to several intervertebral discs. He underwent physical therapy, but his condition did not improve. Subsequently, Plaintiff underwent arthroscopic surgery to his right shoulder as well as cervical surgery and fusion to his spine.

Plaintiff argued that the accident left him with a permanent disability that affected his daily life. He continued to suffer residual pain in addition to mobility limitations of his shoulder and neck. These limitations impacted his prospective employment. Lastly, Plaintiff argued that he will need to continue to undergo treatment in the foreseeable future due to his injuries.

The defense, on the other hand, argued that Plaintiff's injuries do not fall under New York's no-fault insurance law. Furthermore, the defense argued that Plaintiff did not suffer a serious injury, referring to the fact that Plaintiff underwent his surgeries months and years after the accident occurred. Defendant lastly argued that because the medical treatment was performed so long after the accident, it was an indication that Plaintiff's injuries resulted from an occurrence after the subject accident.

Plaintiff made claims for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, as well as past and future pain and suffering.

SETTLEMENT AMOUNT

The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement for $950,000 out of an available $1,000,000 insurance policy.

ATTORNEYS

This case was handled by S. Joseph Donahue and Jeffrey A. Block.