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$1,700,000 Settlement for 51 Year-Old Medical Tech Who Sustained Lumbar Injury After a Rear-End Collision

Facts and Allegations
At approximately 6:30 a.m., Plaintiff was driving a Ford Econoline Van, on South Conduit Avenue at its intersection with Forbell Street in Kings County. As Plaintiff was stopped at a red light at the above intersection, he was tapped in the rear by a Mack Tractor Trailer Oil Tanker owned by Defendant Sunoco, Inc. R&M and being operated by Defendant Driver. The driver’s side, front bumper of Defendants’ tractor trailer impacted the passenger side, rear bumper of Plaintiff’s van.

Defendants conceded that Defendant Driver struck Plaintiff’s vehicle in the rear, however they maintained that a minimal impact occurred that only moved plaintiff’s vehicle forward 3 feet and caused less than $1,100.00 in property damage to Plaintiff’s van. Plaintiff is Fifty One (51) years of age. Before this accident plaintiff was working as a medical delivery technician earning approximately $26,000/year.

Plaintiff was unable to work after the accident. As a result of the accident, Plaintiff suffered an activation of his previously asymptomatic degenerative lumbar spine and internal derangement to his right knee. Although plaintiff had not made any complaints of pain to his right knee in the emergency room on the day of this accident, one month post accident Plaintiff had an MRI to his right knee which revealed meniscal and ligament tears. Plaintiff underwent a course of physical therapy and had arthroscopic surgery to his right knee. The arthroscopic procedure revealed no ligament injury and chondromalacia to three articular surfaces within the right knee.

An MRI of Plaintiff’s lumbar spine was performed five months after the accident, which revealed severe disc degeneration at the L5-S1 level including but not limited to end-plate osteophyte changes and severe disc desiccation at that level. Plaintiff also underwent a three year course of conservative treatment including physical therapy for his lower back injury. However his condition did not improve. Ultimately, Plaintiff underwent a discectomy and fusion of his lumbar spine at the L5-S1 level. Defendants claimed that the MRIs confirmed that Plaintiff’s injuries were chronic in nature and the plaintiff’s knee and lumbar spine showed severe degeneration that predated the accident. They also claimed that this low impact collision failed to create enough force upon Plaintiff body to cause the injuries claimed.

Settlement Amount
This case settled for $1.7 million just prior to opening statements before the Judge Karen B. Rothenberg.

The case was handled by Partner Jeffrey A. Block.

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