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$2,270,000 Verdict For 51 Year Old Female Brooklyn Car Collision Victim

This Brooklyn Car Collision occurred at the intersection of Nostrand Avenue and Lincoln Place in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. The bus operator, a New York City Transit Authority employee, rear-ended a tanker truck. The Plaintiff was a passenger on the bus at the time of the accident. The Defendant bus operator described the collision as minor and indicated he was traveling 5-10 mph at the time of impact. The Supreme Court judge granted the Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability.

The Plaintiff, a 51 year-old female resident of Brooklyn, suffered injuries to her cervical spine, both knees and lumbar spine. The Plaintiff underwent a course of physical therapy and then underwent cervical spine fusion surgery at C4-5, C5-6 and C6-7. The Plaintiff’s spinal surgeon diagnosed her post-operatively as having herniated discs at C4-5, C5-6 and C6-7. The Plaintiff alleged that her cervical condition was an aggravation of a pre-existing cervical condition as she had been treating for several years prior to the date of the subject accident for injuries sustained in a prior accident in 2002 in which she injured her lumbar spine, right shoulder and neck. The Defendants, through testimony of their expert orthopedic surgeon and radiologist and the medical records relating to the prior accident, argued that the Plaintiff’s neck injuries and spinal fusion surgery were not causally related to the subject accident but were the result of the prior accident and long-standing degenerative disc disease and myelopathy which records indicated existed as far back as 2002.

The Plaintiff also alleged that she sustained injuries to both knees as a result of the accident, including a partial ACL tear, sprain and synovitis of the right knee for which she underwent arthroscopic surgery on. She also alleged she suffered a tear in the posterior horn of the medial meniscus, a sprain and synovitis of the left knee for which she underwent arthroscopic surgery on.

The Plaintiff also alleged aggravation to her pre-existing lumbar spine injuries. As a result of the prior 2002 accident, the Plaintiff suffered injuries to her lumbar spine for which she underwent extensive physical therapy, epidural injections and lumbar fusion surgery in 2006. The Plaintiff acknowledged that she had lower back pain daily and treatment for several years prior to the subject accident but that the subject accident caused her symptoms to worsen. The Defendants argued that the Plaintiff’s lumbar spine injuries and symptoms were all caused by the prior accident based on the prior medical records evidencing her long-standing lumbar spine degeneration, treatment and symptoms.

The Plaintiff testified at trial that she still suffers from pain in her neck, knees and lower back, causing significant and permanent limitations to those body parts which restrict her activities of daily living, caused past pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life and will continue to do so in the future.

The Plaintiff also made a claim for future healthcare costs for physical therapy, diagnostic testing, injections to her knees, future physicians’ visits, future cervical fusion surgeries and future knee replacement surgeries. The Defendants disputed that any of the alleged future healthcare needs and associated costs were related to the subject accident.

The case was handled by Scott Occhiogrosso and Fred Aranki of Block O’Toole & Murphy

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