Lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy LLP recently announced an $8.8 million settlement for a client who was hit by a van in Ozone Park, Queens. The case settled on Jan. 7, 2014, two days before jury selection was scheduled to begin.
The pedestrian accident occurred on June 3, 2011, when a van ran a stop sign that was partially obscured by tree branches. The plaintiff was Fata Krluc, a 51-year-old grandmother who worked as a housekeeper at a Manhattan hotel and was walking to a local elementary school to pick up her grandsons when the accident occurred.
The van ran the stop sign, hit another vehicle, jumped the curb and struck Krluc on the sidewalk at 103rd Avenue and 93rd Street. She suffered significant injuries, including head and brain injuries and multiple fractures. First responders were concerned about her survival and rushed her to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. Upon her release from the hospital, doctors believed that she had suffered permanent brain damage characterized by cognitive problems, depression, episodic confusion and short-term memory loss. She became unable to work.
In their claim for damages, Krluc’s lawyers requested payment for future medical costs her doctors believed would be needed because of her injuries, including the need for a home health aide. Law firm partner Stephen J. Murphy handled the case for the firm and expressed gratitude for being able to help the family. “This was a case in which our firm felt a supreme obligation to ensure that Ms. Krluc would never have to worry about her ability to pay for any medical treatments or accommodations that she required because of her injuries. We believe this settlement achieves that level of security for her and her family, and we are grateful that we were able to deliver such a result.”
The case was brought against the City of New York, the driver of the van that struck Krluc and the driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash. The firm’s attorneys argued that a primary cause of the accident was the tree that covered the stop sign and the city’s negligence in failing to maintain it. Through discovery and investigation, it became apparent that the city had received a 311 call about the tree 10 months before the crash, but had failed to prune the tree or address the problem of stop sign visibility. According to David L. Scher, another firm partner who worked on the case, “Had they taken very simple pruning measures, Ms. Krluc would still be working and leading a normal life today.” The city argued that the stop sign was only partially hidden by foliage, and therefore should have been seen by the van driver, especially given the presence of the word “STOP” printed in the roadway.
Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP, is a New York personal injury law firm that has recovered well over $700 million for injured clients in cases involving motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice and other acts of negligence.