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$22,500,000 Settlement for Driver Injured in Head-On Collision

Court and County
Court of Claims, New York

Plaintiff Description
An immigrant from Tunisia, our client was 32 years old at the time of the accident. He is married with a young son.

Description of Case
Our client was driving eastbound on Route 6 in Somers, New York in Westchester County. When he approached a portion of the road that was covered in snow. He reduced his speed to pass through the area safely. The road then began to curve left, and as he made the turn he noticed the headlights of an approaching vehicle from the opposite direction.

Our client realized that the approaching car was coming diagonally towards him, drifting into the wrong lane. Our client tried to avoid the car by steering towards the right but found that his car’s traction with the road was compromised by black ice.

When the approaching car did not alter its path of travel, our client realized a collision was imminent and raised his left arm up to protect himself. Our client’s car was totaled, and he suffered severe crush injuries to his left arm and elbow. The road was so icy at that when firemen came with the jaws of life to rescue our client, they were having trouble keeping their balance.

A Block O’Toole & Murphy investigation revealed that 2 prior similar incidents had occurred within the few weeks preceding this accident and that the State was well aware of this.

Injuries and Damages
After being hit, our client attempted to open the door with his left arm but noticed that it wasn’t responding how he expected. He had suffered compound, comminuted fractures to his left elbow (which was his dominant hand), resulting in permanent loss of function, chronic pain and disfigurement. He also contracted MRSA as a result of bone graft surgery, which took him over a year to overcome.

As a result of this tragic accident, our client suffered compound, comminuted fractures to his dominant elbow, as well as a severed ulnar nerve. He ultimately required over 20 surgical interventions, including an allograft and numerous surgeries to address the consequences of a MRSA infection. Our client maintained that he will suffer extensive pain in the future and that he has lost use of his dominant left arm. He also maintained that he is now significantly limited in the work duties he is able to perform, specifically traveling for work, and that this has resulted in a significant reduction in his future earning potential.

Settlement Amount

Handling Attorney
This matter was handled by Partner Daniel P O’Toole. This settlement is the largest settlement ever paid for a personal injury case by a governmental entity in the history of the State of New York. The decision on damages was the largest pain and suffering award ever made in the history of the Court of Claims in the State of New York.

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