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$2,500,000 Settlement for Student With Multiple Injuries, Including Second-Degree Burns, After a Serious Car Accident

A student was a passenger in his friend’s car while leaving a 4th of July party. The driver of the car had been drinking and was speeding. The driver lost control of the car and crashed into a pole, causing the car to catch fire. The student suffered second-degree burns and a spinal injury. Represented by Block O’Toole & Murphy, he was awarded $2.5 million.

COURT AND COUNTY
Supreme Court, Nassau County

AGE AND OCCUPATION OF PLAINTIFF
The plaintiff was a 20-year-old student at the time of the accident.

DESCRIPTION OF CASE
The plaintiff was a passenger in his friend’s car at the time of the accident. The vehicle involved was a Honda, which the friend had been leasing. The two were leaving Independence Day festivities they had been attending together. The driver had engaged in illegal alcohol consumption before getting in the car, as both he and the plaintiff were underage. Due to the alcohol consumption, the driver became impaired and was not fit to be operating a motor vehicle. The car was traveling at a very high rate of speed, well above the speed limit, and the driver suddenly lost control of the vehicle. The car went into a spin and slammed into a pole on the side of the road. The plaintiff and driver were struggling to get out of the car when it burst into flames. The plaintiff made it out of the wreckage alive, but severely injured. The fire department and other emergency personnel arrived, the car was extinguished and impounded, and the plaintiff was taken to Winthrop University Hospital. Both Honda and the driver of the vehicle became defendants in this matter.

INJURIES AND DAMAGES

The plaintiff was rushed to the hospital and began treatment for his multiple severe injuries. The plaintiff had been restrained in the vehicle and it took about an hour for emergency personnel to extract him from the burning car. He suffered deep second-degree burns, as well as pain in his right arm and both legs. He also experienced decreased sensation below his knees and became immobilized temporarily. There was deformity and swelling of the right upper arm with abrasions and fractures to fingers on his left hand and his lower right leg. He suffered from a hematoma on the right lateral thigh, and a Staph infection on the same thigh, which had to be incised and drained.

There was a large burn covering most of the scapular region, deltoid region, and right shoulder extending into the right thoracic and right trapezius regions as well. There were also burns to the backs of both legs and right shoulder. A right sacral fracture and fracture from the acetabulum to the pubic ramus were later revealed. Fractures to the L4-L5 vertebrae were revealed a few days later, extending to the S1 vertebrae. Hydrotherapy was required for the lumbar wounds three times a week. The wounds also became infected and bled severely. The plaintiff had surgery to the right arm to install screws and a wire that would correct the fracture to the humerus. The plaintiff required ongoing frequent physical therapy and substances for pain management.

SETTLEMENT AMOUNT
This case was settled for $2,500,000.

HANDLING ATTORNEY
This case was handled by firm partner Jeffrey A. Block.

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