New York — A couple in their 60s were read-ended in a car accident while they were stopped at a red light. They both suffered accident injuries and decided to file a personal injury lawsuit. They claimed that the defendant was a negligent driver. With the assistance of a car accident lawyer with Morrison & Wagner, the couple received a jury verdict that awarded them over $300,000.
Illustrative Photo Credit: Rian Castillo [License]
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Couple claimed car crash caused knee, shoulder injuries (VerdictSearch)
Verdict Amount: $300,000
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Court: Bronx Supreme, Bronx County, New York
Injury Type(s): knee – meniscus tear; other – labrum tear; other – physical therapy; surgeries/treatment – arthroscopy; surgeries/treatment – knee surgery
Case Type: Motor Vehicle – Passenger, Rear-ender, No-Fault Case, Multiple Vehicle
Date: April 8, 2011
Stuart Wagner; Morrison & Wagner, L.L.P.; New York, NY
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On Aug. 23, 2007, the plaintiff, 69, a retiree, was driving on Third Avenue, near its intersection at East 188th Street, in Harlem. His wife, plaintiff’s decedent, 63, a homemaker, was a passenger. When the man reached the intersection, he stopped at a red traffic signal. Before he could resume travel, his vehicle’s rear end was struck by a trailing vehicle driven by a man who was not the owner of the vehicle. The plaintiff claimed that he sustained injuries of his knees. His wife claimed that she sustained injuries of a knee and a shoulder. She subsequently died, but her death was not related to the accident.
The injured plaintiff, acting individually and as administrator of his wife’s estate, sued the driver and the owner of the vehicle. The plaintiffs alleged that the driver was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. The plaintiffs further alleged that the vehicle’s owner was vicariously liable for the driver’s actions.
Defense counsel conceded liability. The matter proceeded to a summary jury trial that addressed damages.
The plaintiff drove to Metropolitan Hospital Center, in Manhattan, and he underwent minor treatment.
The injury victim ultimately claimed that he sustained tears of his knees’ menisci. On Sept. 26, 2007, he underwent arthroscopic surgery that addressed the injury of his left knee. On Jan. 25, 2008, he underwent arthroscopic surgery that addressed the injury of his right knee. He contended that he also underwent several months of physical therapy.
The plaintiff claimed that he suffers permanent residual pain that prevents his resumption of one of his favorite activities: gardening. He sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering.
The man’s wife was placed in an ambulance, and she was transported to Metropolitan Hospital Center. She underwent minor treatment.
The injured woman ultimately claimed that she sustained a tear of her right knee’s meniscus; a tear of the labrum of her right, dominant arm’s shoulder; and a tear of the same shoulder’s rotator cuff, though the latter injury was not definitively diagnosed. On Dec. 31, 2007, she underwent arthroscopic surgery that addressed her right knee. On Jan. 3, 2007, she underwent arthroscopic surgery that addressed her right shoulder. She also underwent several months of physical therapy. She died some eight months after the accident had occurred, but her death was not related to the accident.
The deceased woman’s estate sought recovery of damages for her pain and suffering.
The parties stipulated that the plaintiffs’ total damages could not exceed $150,000.
Defense counsel contended that neither plaintiff sustained a serious injury, as defined by the no-fault law, Insurance Law § 5102(d). She claimed that their injuries stemmed from age-related degenerative conditions that were not related to the accident. She challenged the extent of the plaintiff’s treatment, noting that he could not produce any record of having undergone physical therapy, and she questioned the extent of his pre-accident gardening activities. She also noted that doctors did not definitively diagnosis a tear of the injured woman’s right shoulder’s rotator cuff.
The jury found that each plaintiff sustained a serious injury. It determined that their damages totaled $375,000. The plaintiff’s share totaled $200,000, which comprised damages for past and future pain and suffering, and the wife’s estate was allocated $175,000, all for pain and suffering.
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Judge: Yvonne Gonzalez
Editor’s Comment: This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs’ counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.