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Firm Obtains $8.8 Million Settlement For Queens Pedestrian Accident Victim

A Queens grandmother who was walking on the sidewalk in her Ozone Park neighborhood when she was suddenly struck by a van that jumped the curb has recovered $8,800,000. Her lawyers, New York personal injury firm Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP settled her case (Fata Krluc v. The City of New York, et. al Supreme Court, Queens County, Index Number: 20275/11) on January 7, 2014, two days prior to the scheduled date for jury selection in Queens County Supreme Court.

The June 3, 2011 accident at issue was covered by local media, and involved a white van running a stop sign that was partially covered by the branches of an adjacent tree; a tree that was the responsibility of The City of New York to maintain. The City, a Defendant in the case, paid $7,500,000 toward the $8,800,000 result. The police report and case pleadings reveal that accident occurred on June 3, 2011 at approximately 2:30pm, at the intersection of 103rd Avenue and 93rd Street in the Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens, New York. Plaintiff was a 51 year old housekeeper at a Manhattan hotel, who lived in a multi-family home with her two sons, two daughters-in-law and two grandsons. Originally from Bosnia, Ms. Krluc came to this country with her two sons after her husband had been killed in the war, and settled in Ozone Park, hoping to provide a better life and opportunities for her boys. When the accident occurred, she was walking along 103rd Avenue only a block away from her home, on her way to pick up her grandsons from their local elementary school as was her custom.

The white van had been approaching from 103rd Avenue, and collided with a maroon mini-van within the intersection, which approached from 93rd Street. The impact caused the white van to veer to the right, jump a curb and strike Ms. Krluc on the sidewalk before coming to rest against the front steps of a house. Both vehicles faced stop signs at the intersection, but discovery and investigation revealed that the white van did not stop or even slow down as it passed through its stop sign. Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP commenced a lawsuit on the Plaintiff’s behalf against the drivers and owners of the two vehicles, as well as The City of New York. Plaintiff alleged the reason the white van had run its stop sign was that the sign was not properly visible because it was obstructed by tree branches and foliage. The City of New York contested this claim, claiming that the stop sign was in a condition where it was perhaps partially obscured, but still should have been seen by the white van driver. Argued The City, not only was the stop was still partially visible for approaching motorists, but there were also other indications, such as the marking “STOP” on the street that should have alerted the white van driver it was obliged to stop.

The Plaintiff suffered substantial injuries after she was violently struck by the van, most notably to her head and brain. The impact left her unconscious at the scene, where first responders were concerned she may not survive. She was rushed to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with multiple facial and skull fractures, as well as hemorrhaging and edema in the right frontal, temporal and parietal lobes of her brain. An emergency brain surgery was performed on the same day, involving craniectomy and debridement of fracture fragments. The Plaintiff also suffered other bodily injuries, including multiple rib fractures, right clavicle and scapular fractures, multiple transverse process fractures in her cervical and thoracic spine and a right brachial plexus injury. After undergoing a long course of inpatient rehabilitation, Ms. Krluc was discharged to her home and began outpatient cognitive and physical therapy treatments. At the time of the settlement, Plaintiff’s physicians had opined that she suffered permanent brain damage characterized by cognitive limitations, depression and episodic confusion and short-term memory loss. She was totally disabled from employment. Plaintiff was able to communicate without difficulty and walk without assistance, but required the assistance of her family members to attend to some of her regular daily needs. In their claim for damages, Plaintiff’s attorneys alleged various future medical costs her doctors believed would be occasioned by her injuries, including the need for a home health aide.

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.” Added David L. Scher, another firm Partner who worked on the case, “Justice was done here, because this innocent woman’s life was forever changed by an accident that could have been prevented. Through discovery and investigation, we learned that The City of New York was on notice of this tree obstruction problem at this precise intersection ten months before the accident occurred by way of a 311 call. The Department of Parks & Recreation did receive that complaint and actually responded to the location at that time, but failed to prune or otherwise address the tree that obscured the stop sign that would become involved in the accident. Had they taken very simple pruning measures, Ms. Krluc would still be working and leading a normal life today.”

Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP is a New York injury law firm that has recovered well over Seven Hundred Million Dollars ($700,000,000) for their injured clients through top personal injury verdicts and settlements. The firm’s experienced trial lawyers are committed to achieving maximum compensation for their clients, who consist of victims of motor vehicle collisions, pedestrian accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice and other acts of negligence. Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP accepts referrals of substantial personal injury cases from attorneys all over New York, and has been featured as returning the most multi-million dollar results of any personal injury law firm in New York.

Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP can always be reached at 212-736-5300 for a FREE consultation.

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