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$1.92 Million Settlement for Husband and Wife Involved in Nassau County Car Accident

Court and County
Supreme Court, Nassau County

Age and Occupation of Plaintiffs
Our clients, a married couple, were both 59 years old on the date of accident.
Neither one was working; the husband was already permanently disabled by injuries he sustained from a prior accident, and the wife was retired.

Accident Description
Our clients were driving to a medical appointment when the accident occurred. The wife was driving and the husband was a front seat passenger. The accident occurred at a 2-way intersection in Suffolk County. The Defendant vehicle – a van owned by an electrical utility company – was driving eastbound toward the intersection and faced a stop sign. Our clients were driving southbound on the intersecting street and had no stop sign. The collision occurred within the intersection when the front of our client’s vehicle struck the driver’s side of the Defendant’s van.

We argued that the van driver was completely at fault for the accident, for failing to yield the right of way to our clients’ vehicle and otherwise failing to avoid the collision. The defense argued that our client was at fault for admittedly never seeing the Defendant van prior to the collision. We filed a motion for summary judgment asking the Court to rule the Defendant was 100% liable for the collision. That motion was still pending at the time of settlement.

Injuries/Damages
Both clients were taken from the accident scene to the Emergency Room by ambulance. The wife had complaints of pain to her neck, shoulders and knees, and the husband to his ribs and lower back. They both began a course of physical therapy and underwent several MRI studies.

The wife’s neck became the dominant problem, with pain shooting to her right shoulder. After trying physical therapy and multiple epidural injections with limited success, she underwent a 2-level anterior cervical discectomy with fusion surgery. She also underwent treatment and surgeries to her right shoulder, right wrist and both knees. At the time of settlement, she had stopped treatment, but continued to experience neck pain.

The husband’s rib fractures healed, but his low back pain persisted. It is important to note that he suffered a catastrophic injury prior to the accident, which permanently disabled him from employment and, among other things, caused a severe low back injury. As such, we claimed that this car accident exacerbated his pre-existing lumbar problem. He ultimately underwent a 2-level lumbar spine fusion surgery. While he stopped treating by the time of settlement, he also continued to suffer with low back pain.

There was no lost earnings claim in this case because neither client was employed at the time of the accident. We made claims for related future medical care, as projected by our expert pain management and rehabilitation doctor, as well as for pain and suffering.

The defense argued that our clients’ injuries, apart from the rib fractures, were all pre-existing and not caused by the subject collision. They argued, through their defense medical experts, that our clients had made good recoveries from whatever minor injuries they had suffered.

Settlement Amount
After several rounds of mediations and court conferences, we were able to secure a total settlement of $1.92 Million for our clients. This is despite the case’s venue in the traditionally conversative venue of Nassau County and despite that the case was not yet on the trial calendar.

Handling Attorneys
This case was handled by firm Partners Stephen J. Murphy and David L. Scher.

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