New York – Ms. E. H., a nurse, suffered injuries to her left shoulder and knee as well as her neck and back in a motor vehicle crash. The car accident occurred when another car broadsided the victim’s car on Strickland Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. Ms. H. consulted with expert car accident attorney Stuart Wagner and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver of the other vehicle. After going to trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff a verdict of $1,270,000 to compensate her for pain and suffering as well as loss of earnings.
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JURY RETURNS verdict $1,270,000 for Plaintiff (as reported in the New York Jury Verdict Reporter)
Jury Verdict: $1,270,000
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Court: Kings Civil, Kings County, New York
Injury Type(s): rotator cuff, injury (tear); shoulder; epidural injections; physical therapy; medial meniscus, tear; lateral meniscus, tear; herniated disc, cervical; herniated disc, lumbar; lower back; back and neck; neck; back; numbness; percutaneous discectomy; radicular pain / radiculitis; decreased range of motion
Case Type: Left Turn — Motor Vehicle Accident — Broadside — Motor Vehicle Crash — Verbal Threshold
Stuart Wagner; Morrison & Wagner, LLP; New York, NY
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Facts & Allegations:
Around 7:15 a.m. on Aug 15, 2013, plaintiff E. H., 40, a licensed practical nurse, was operating her vehicle on Strickland Avenue in Brooklyn, when her vehicle was broadsided by a vehicle that was operated by J. L., the defendant, who made a left turn from East 59th Place. As a result of the impact, The plaintiff’s vehicle continued on and struck two parked vehicles on the side of the road.
The plaintiff claimed injuries to her left non-dominant shoulder, left knee, neck and back. The plaintiff sued the defendant. The plaintiff contended that the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. This was a summary jury trial.
Just prior to jury selection, defense conceded liability. The parameters of the case were $25,000 to the $300,000 insurance policy limits.
The plaintiff drove herself from the scene of the accident to Kings County Hospital. She complained of pain to her chest, neck and back. X-rays were taken of her chest, neck and back, which were negative. She was given painkillers and ibuprofen and was told to follow up with her primary care physician before she was discharged home. The plaintiff claimed she sustained a rotator cuff tear to her left shoulder, a partial thickness surface tear of the infraspinatus muscle, tears of the medial and lateral menisci of her left knee and several herniations at the cervical and lumbar levels.
For treatment, the plaintiff began physical therapy on Aug. 19, 2013 through January 15, 2014, with 46 visits over five months. She later consulted with an orthopedic surgeon. She then went to a pain management physician and had painkillers prescribed, as well as injections to her knee on Sept. 6, 2016. She again had epidural injections to her left knee on Nov. 5, 2016. On Dec. 14, 2016, the plaintiff had bilateral L4-5 epidural injections to her lower back. She still complained of lower back pain and numbness and tingling radiating into both her legs. She then had a percutaneous discectomy at L4-5 with steroid injections, as well as nerve blocks at C5-6 and C6-7. She did not have any shoulder surgery. The plaintiff claims she still has weakness in her shoulder and her knees, a limited range of motion for her shoulder and knees, and that she has difficulty bending, lifting, climbing stairs and tending to her patients. The plaintiff had two part-time jobs. She was an LPN at a private group, a senior living center, where she would supervise other nurses who made house calls. Her other job was at a home health care service. She was not able to work at the senior center from the date of the accident until Dec. 1, 2013. For her other job, she was out on disability from the date of the accident until Nov. 8, 2013. The plaintiff claimed she was unable to do the physical labor involved as a home health nurse, and that accordingly, her position was replaced by someone else. The plaintiff sought recovery for her past and future loss of earnings and her past and future pain and suffering.
Defense contended that the plaintiff alleged injuries were not related to the subject accident. Defense contended that just prior to the subject accident, on July 31, 2016, she presented to Kingsbrook General Hospital when she missed a step and fell, injuring her left knee. Defense contended that her complaints were attributable to that previous fall and not the subject accident. Defense contended that the plaintiff’s injuries were pre-existing, and age and job related, due to the physical nature of working with patients as a home health nurse. Defense contended that if she sustained any injury from the subject accident, that they had resolved and the plaintiff could go back to her regular activities, including working. Defense’s orthopedic surgeon’s records indicated that there was no evidence of orthopedic disability after he examined her shoulder and both her knees.
The jury found that the plaintiff sustained a significant limitation of use of a body function or system, that she sustained a permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system and that she sustained a permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member for 90 out of 180 days. The jury awarded the plaintiff $1.27 million. In accordance with the parties’ parameters on the policy limits, the plaintiff will receive the $300,000 from the insurance company.
$270,000 past lost earnings
$100,000 past pain and suffering
$100,000 future pain & suffering (over 10 years)
$800,000 future lost earnings (over 20 years)
$1,270,000 plaintiff’s total award
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Judge: Judge Michael Gerstein