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$1,640,000 Settlement for Taxi Passenger Injured in Crash

A woman was a passenger in a cab which was attempting to change lanes at the same time as another vehicle. The cab driver was struck by another car and lost control of the vehicle while attempting to change lanes, which resulted in a three-vehicle collision. The plaintiff suffered neck and back injuries which required multiple surgeries and extensive physical therapy. Represented by Block O’Toole & Murphy, the plaintiff was awarded $1.64 million.

COURT AND COUNTY
Supreme Court, Bronx County

AGE AND OCCUPATION OF PLAINTIFF
At the time of the accident, the plaintiff was 51 years old and unemployed.

DESCRIPTION OF CASE
This case involves a three-vehicle collision. The plaintiff was riding in a taxi as a passenger at the time of the accident. The plaintiff’s vehicle was traveling in the middle lane and attempting to move over to the far-left lane. A second vehicle approached and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle from the rear. The driver of Plaintiff’s vehicle lost control and skidded toward the wall on the side of the road. The second vehicle then struck the cab a second time on the rear left side of the car, causing significant damage to the vehicle. A third vehicle was also traveling in the middle lane at the time the first two vehicles collided. The third vehicle then struck the taxi on the right driver’s side. The operator of the second vehicle claimed that the driver of the taxi the plaintiff was riding in attempted an improper lane change. The accident occurred when the first two vehicles attempted to change lanes at the same time. The third vehicle observed the accident between the first two vehicles before it collided with the second vehicle. The accident caused significant damage to the plaintiff’s vehicle and injury to the plaintiff herself.

INJURIES AND DAMAGES
The plaintiff was taken to the hospital and complained of neck and back pain. This pain accompanied multiple cervical and lumbar spinal injuries. The plaintiff underwent multiple surgeries to address the injuries caused by the accident, as well as the aggravation of a preexisting condition that worsened as a result of the accident. A posterior lumbar decompression and foraminotomies of the L5 and S1 vertebrae were performed. There was a posterior lateral lumbar fusion at the L5-S1 vertebrae, as well as a spinal segmental instrumentation. This fusion caused restriction of the range of motion of the spine.

A bone graft was also necessary for this surgery and necessitated hardware being inserted into the plaintiff’s spine. The L5-S1 disc was herniated and showed degenerative changes as time went on, resulting in foraminal stenosis. Plaintiff was later diagnosed with advanced degenerative disc disease. A disc bulge of the L4-L5 vertebrae later revealed itself. Back pain and stiffness were consistent, and the lower back injuries radiated downward, causing tingling in the left buttock, thigh, and knee. The neck pain radiated down the shoulder to the right arm to the wrist. Images taken of the cervical spine revealed posterior herniations on the C4-C5 and C5-C6 vertebrae, as well as a bulge on the C3-C4. The plaintiff required multiple epidural injections over several months for pain in the affected areas. She was on a number of medications and was in and out of St. Barnabas Hospital dozens of times throughout her treatment.

RESULT
This case was resolved in a settlement for $1,640,000.

HANDLING ATTORNEYS

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

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