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$1 Million Settlement for Victim of Truck Accident, Despite Defendant’s Bankruptcy

Our client, a mechanic, was driving home to Brooklyn from upstate New York when he was rear-ended by a tractor trailer. Although he did not seek medical attention at the scene, two days later he went to the emergency room with complaints of neck and back pain. When a year of physical therapy and an epidural injection did not relieve his pain, he had to undergo a spinal fusion surgery. Despite the defendant’s truck company declaring bankruptcy in the middle of case proceedings, Partners Stephen Murphy and David Scher were still able to attain a $1,000,000 settlement for our client.

Court and County

Supreme Court, Kings County

Age and Occupation of Plaintiff

Plaintiff was a 43-year-old mechanic at the time of incident.

Description of Case

This case stemmed from an auto accident that occurred in upstate New York on Eastbound I-90.  Plaintiff, a Brooklyn resident, had driven to Buffalo to repair a truck, and he was driving back home when this crash occurred. Plaintiff claimed that he was driving his Honda SUV approximately 60 miles per hour along the highway, when he was suddenly hit in the rear by a tractor trailer. Plaintiff was able to continue driving his vehicle after the impact; he steered into the shoulder and waited for the police to arrive.

The Defendant truck driver, at his deposition, gave a totally different account of what had occurred. The defendant testified that he was driving behind another truck and, when that truck moved into another lane, he saw the plaintiff’s vehicle in front of him driving at a dangerously low speed of about 30 miles per hour. The defendant claimed that, despite applying his brakes, he was not able to avoid rear-ending our client’s vehicle.

Injuries and Damages

Plaintiff refused medical attention when an ambulance arrived at the scene and was driven back to Brooklyn by a friend. Two days later, he sought treatment at a local Emergency Room, making complaints of neck and back pain since the collision. Four days after that, he began a course of physical therapy for his neck and back, which continued to cause him radiating pain.  MRI studies revealed herniated discs at the C6/7 level of his cervical spine, and L4/5 and L5/S1 levels of his lumbar spine. EMG nerve testing revealed C6 radiculopathy and L5 nerve root irritation.

After about one year of therapy and a cervical spine epidural injection failed to relieve his neck pain, Plaintiff underwent a two-level cervical spine fusion surgery. Plaintiff continued to experience neck and back pain and also had a lumbar epidural injection, but he had stopped pursuing medical treatment prior to the settlement of his case.

Defendant Bankruptcy

During the lawsuit, the defendant trucking company declared bankruptcy in a New Jersey Federal Bankruptcy Court proceeding. This complicated our case (and other plaintiffs who were suing the same company) tremendously. Pursuant to a Bankruptcy Court order, only a limited pool of money was to be made available to pay the trucking company’s insurance deductible for claims involving injuries such as our client’s. This meant that allowing the case to linger risked the plaintiff receiving substantially less money.

Settlement Amount

Despite the issues posed by the defendant’s bankruptcy, we were able to negotiate a settlement of $1 million while the case was still in its discovery phase.

Handling Attorneys

Firm Partners Stephen J. Murphy and David L. Scher handled this case.

Fighting for Clients in New York Auto Accident Lawsuits

The auto accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have years of experience handling car accident cases across the state of New York. Notable results include:

  • $22,500,000 settlement for a man who was in a serious accident in Westchester County, leading to injuries so severe he required over 20 surgeries
  • $9,950,000 settlement for a social worker in Buffalo, NY who was struck violently by a van while she was standing in her office parking lot
  • $4,250,000 settlement for a man in Westchester County who was rear-ended, leading to serious back injuries

If you have been in a car accident in New York and would like to discuss your case, call 212-736-5300 or fill out our online contact form.  

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