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$4,750,000 Award for Union Transit Worker Struck by New York City Sanitation Vehicle

Court and County

Supreme Court, Kings County

Plaintiff Age and Occupation

At the time of the accident, our client was a 51-year-old Local 100 union signal maintainer for the New York City Transit Authority.

Description of Case

On the day of the accident, our client was out for an early morning walk with his dog near the intersection of Kingston Avenue and Rutland Road in Brooklyn, New York. As he was walking on Rutland Road, he reached the intersection of Kingston Avenue, a one-way road, and stopped on the sidewalk. He looked to his left, down Kingston Avenue, for oncoming traffic, and then proceeded to cross the intersection as there were no vehicles approaching.

After our client began crossing the roadway, a New York City Sanitation vehicle traveling on Rutland Road proceeded through the stop sign at the intersection and made a left-hand turn onto Kingston Avenue.  The defendant failed to make a complete stop at the stop sign.

As Defendant was making the left turn, he struck Plaintiff, who was crossing the street. Our client had the right of way and the defendant both ran the stop sign and failed to yield to our client. The defendants argued that our client was also responsible, as he was outside the crosswalk at the time of the impact.

The accident was captured on video from a nearby building. In our initial investigation, we secured a copy of the video as evidence of the accident. The video confirmed that Defendant did not make a complete stop at the stop sign and failed to yield to our client, who had the right of way. The video also showed that our client was several feet outside the crosswalk.

At the conclusion of discovery, we made a motion for summary judgment, requesting the court find the defendants responsible for the accident and, further, asking our client be found free of any fault. The motion was pending at the time of the settlement.

Injuries and Damages

Our client was struck by the sanitation truck on the left side of his body and was thrown to the ground, landing hard on the right side of his body. He was briefly rendered unconscious. EMS was called to the scene and provided aid to our client. He was then taken to Kings County Hospital, where he complained of pain to his head, neck, low back, right shoulder, right arm, and right knee. X-rays and CT scans were negative for fractures. He was administered pain medications and released.

Several days later, he went for follow-up care at a local medical facility where he was evaluated by specialists in the fields of internal medicine, physiatry, neurology, and orthopedics. He continued to experience pain to his head, neck, low back, right shoulder, right arm, and right knee. He was also experiencing post-concussion symptoms, including cognitive deficits, anxiety, difficulty with memory, and sleep disturbances.

Our client began a course of conservative care, including physical therapy, pain management, and injections. MRIs of the neck and low back revealed cervical and lumbar disc herniations and MRIs of the right knee and right wrist revealed tears of ligaments and tendons.

Ultimately, due to the failure of conservative care, our client underwent several surgical procedures. He underwent an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion at C4-C6, a Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion at L4-S1, a right knee arthroscopy, and a right wrist arthroscopy.

As a result of the accident, our client was not able to return to work as a union signalman. In addition, he was no longer able to engage in physical activities that he had performed prior to the accident, including playing basketball, working out at the gym, and riding his motorcycle.

Settlement Amount

This matter settled for $4,750,000 prior to the scheduling of trial.

Handling Attorneys

This matter was handled by Partners Jeffrey A. Block and S. Joseph Donahue.

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