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$1,715,496 Settlement for a Driver Who Was Rear-Ended While Stopped at a Red Light

A 40-year-old man was driving his minivan in New York when he was rear-ended at a red light in a chain 3-vehicle rear-end collision. He sustained serious injuries requiring cervical and lumbar spinal fusion surgeries. The case settled for $1,715,496.06 while it was still years away from trial.

Court and County

Supreme Court, Kings County

Plaintiff Description

Plaintiff was 43 and unemployed at the time he was rear-ended.

Description of Case

Plaintiff was driving his minivan in Queens when he was suddenly rear-ended. The accident was a chain 3-vehicle rear end collision started by the Defendant. Plaintiff was the last in the chain to be rear-ended. Plaintiff and the car behind him were stopped at a red light when the collision occurred. The Defendant claimed in the immediate aftermath of the accident that he had collided with the cars because he had briefly looked down to check a map, thus accepting responsibility for the collision.

The Defendant had a $1 million primary insurance policy (which was later partially split between Plaintiff and a co-Plaintiff). There was also a $5 million excess policy in place, but this was later reduced to $1 million by the New York Liquidation Bureau because the provider of the excess insurance was two years into ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.

This case was stayed for nearly a year while the matter of excess insurance was resolved. Ultimately we received $975k of the Liquidation Bureau’s revised million dollar policy and 75% of the slightly eroded million dollar primary insurance policy, the other 25% of which went to the co-Plaintiff.


Upon arriving to the scene of the accident, paramedics took Plaintiff to the ER with complaints of back pain. Over the next three months, Plaintiff visited the ER multiple times due to the severity of his back pain, which had begun to radiate elsewhere. He also began to complain of severe neck pain around this time.

MRI’s revealed a litany of serious back injuries:

  • C3/4, C5/6 and C6/7 herniations with impingement; annular tear at C5/6; severe foraminal impingement at C6/7
  • L3/4 and L4/5 bulges with impingement
  • L5/S1 herniation with severe impingement

He was also diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, severe spinal stenosis and cervical radiculopathy at C5/6/7. Ultimately our client had to receive double spinal fusion surgery. His recovery included extensive physical therapy. His future medical costs were estimated to be between $870-921k.


There was a total of only $1.74 Million of insurance coverage available in this case. We were able to secure a settlement of nearly that entire amount – $1,715,496.06 – and while the case was still in its early discovery phase, years away from trial.

Handling Attorneys

Partners Stephen J. Murphy and David L. Scher

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