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$2.75 Million Settlement for a 41-Year-Old Driver Injured by an NYC Sanitation Truck That Struck an Overpass While Improperly Operating on the Belt Parkway

Our client was driving on the Belt Parkway when her vehicle was struck and pushed off the roadway by a New York City sanitation truck. The truck had been operating on the Belt Parkway even though trucks are typically not allowed on that road, because its overpasses are too short to accommodate trucks. The top of the sanitation truck struck an overpass, causing part of the truck to detach and strike another car, both of which then slammed into our client’s vehicle in a violent collision. She suffered herniations and back injuries that required two spinal fusion surgeries. Represented by Block O’Toole & Murphy, she received a $2.75 million settlement.

Court and County
Supreme Court, Queens County

Age and Occupation of Plaintiff
Plaintiff was a 41-year-old New York City Transit Authority employee who worked as a ticket agent at a subway station.

Description of Case
At the time of this incident, the defendant New York City Sanitation truck was being improperly operated on the Belt Parkway. It is a well-known and long-standing rule that trucks are not allowed on the Belt Parkway because many of its overpasses are too short to accommodate trucks. As a result, when the subject sanitation truck reached the Merrick Boulevard overpass, the top of the truck violently struck the bottom of the overpass, causing part of the garbage truck to detach and leading to a terrifying accident. Our client was operating her Hyundai Sonata in the left lane as the truck struck the overpass in the lane next to her. The truck struck another vehicle first, and then both the truck and that other vehicle slammed into our client’s car, pushing it off the roadway.

Notably, the entire incident was captured by the dashboard camera of another uninvolved vehicle that was trailing behind the accident. Fortunately, that video was preserved and able to be viewed by all parties to this case.

Our client’s car was totaled as a result of the impact. She had to be removed from her vehicle by jaws of life. We filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability, which was pending at the time of settlement.

Injuries and Damages

Plaintiff was born and raised in Queens and had moved to Suffolk County by the time of the subject accident. She was a 41-year-old mother of two, who worked as a subway ticket agent for the New York City Transit Authority.

Plaintiff was removed from the scene by ambulance and taken to the emergency room where she made complaints of pain to the left side of her body. She then began a course of physical therapy. MRI studies revealed multiple findings, including a lumbar herniation at L4/5 and cervical herniation with spinal cord deformity at C5/6. EMG nerve testing showed positive results for radiculopathy at L5 and C6. In addition to physical therapy, Plaintiff underwent lumbar medial branch injections and a cervical spine epidural injection.

After those treatments failed to relieve her ongoing radiating pain, our client underwent two spine surgeries: a one-level cervical spine fusion and a one-level lumbar spine fusion. The surgeries involved removal of the herniated discs and fusion of the vertebrae with hardware.

Plaintiff made a fairly good recovery and in fact returned to her full-time work as a ticket agent after her surgeries. She did claim to have significant ongoing pain and limitations that impacted her life negatively both at work and at home, and she was continuing to follow up with her doctors at the time of settlement. We made claims for pain and suffering, future medical costs, and a work-life shortening as a result of her injuries.

Plaintiff also had a lumbar spine injury from another prior auto accident. She was still experiencing pain to her lower back at the time this accident occurred. We claimed that this prior lumbar condition was exacerbated by the subject accident.

Settlement
This case settled very early into the litigation and before depositions were held for $2.75 million.

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

Skilled Litigation in New York Sanitation Truck Accidents

If you’ve been injured in a sanitation truck accident, it’s important to understand your legal rights. The personal injury lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are fierce advocates for victims injured in serious accidents, including those involving sanitation trucks. Results in New York sanitation truck crashes include:

  • $5,000,000 settlement for the children of a mother who was fatally struck while walking on the sidewalk by a garbage truck whose driver lost control of the vehicle
  • $4,750,000 settlement for a union transit worker who was struck while crossing the street in Brooklyn by a New York City Sanitation vehicle
  • $3,000,000 settlement for a 78-year-old woman who suffered severe injuries that required both surgery and skin grafts after she was struck by a garbage truck that was illegally driving in the bicycle lane
  • $2,100,000 settlement for a 23-year-old cyclist who was struck by a garbage truck making a right-hand turn, resulting in multiple fractures and a traumatic lower back herniation
  • $2,000,000 settlement for a 28-year-old woman who was a front seat passenger in her boyfriend’s car when it was struck by a garbage truck, leading to the need for multiple spinal surgeries
  • $1,750,000 settlement for a couple who suffered cervical disc herniations after they were rear-ended by a New York City Sanitation truck while sitting at a red light
  • $1,250,000 settlement for an independent taxi driver who sustained traumatic disc herniations that required surgery after he was struck in the rear by a New York City sanitation vehicle at a red light

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