Wrongful Death Settlement Awarded in Garbage Truck Accident Case

A mother of four and her friend were walking along the sidewalk in Midtown West when the driver of a passing privately-owned garbage truck suffered a seizure, losing control of his vehicle and tragically striking and killing both of them. The Plaintiffs claimed that the owner of the truck had violated federal regulations by failing to obtain the employment history of the driver, which would have revealed his seizure condition.

Court and County

Supreme, New York

Plaintiff Description

We represented the four children of the 47-year-old mother who was killed in this tragic case.

Description of Case

On a snowy February night, a mother of four and her friend were walking on the sidewalk along West 35th street, between Fifth Ave. and Ave. of the Americas. As they went, a privately-owned garbage truck was passing by when the operator suffered a seizure and lost control of his vehicle, causing him to mount the sidewalk and strike the two as they walked back to their hotel, which they were scheduled to check out of the very next day.

The mother of four and her friend suffered fatal blunt force trauma and were declared dead shortly thereafter. A third person who was also hit was taken to Bellevue Hospital with serious injuries including multiple broken bones and disc protrusions at L4/5 and L5/S1, and survived.

The report that the driver gave indicated that he had not taken his seizure medication (Dilantin) for two weeks prior to the date of the accident. In describing the accident, the driver indicated: "I was driving to my next stop, and I felt a headache, and the next thing I remember is waking up in the ambulance. I've been taking medication off and on since I've been in this country. I hit my head when I was 12 in Jamaica. I'm hardheaded and did not want to take my medication."

At the time of the accident, there was a second Action Carting employee in the truck with the operator. According to the passenger, the truck was making a left turn when the operator began to shake and foam at the mouth. The passenger tried to grab the steering wheel to turn back onto the road but was unable to divert the truck's path in time.

The Plaintiffs brought wrongful death actions and loss of parental guidance claims on behalf of their estates and surviving children, respectively. The Plaintiffs further claimed that Action Carting violated federal regulations by failing to obtain the driver's employment records from his prior employer, which would have revealed that he had a seizure condition and had previously suffered a seizure while driving for that company, which led to his termination from their employment.

Injuries

Both fatalities in this tragic accident suffered blunt force trauma and were declared legally dead within half an hour of the crash.

Settlement

This case settled three years after the accident for $5,000,000.

Handling Attorneys

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