New York — A 52-year-old woman who was working as a home health aid suffered severe accident injuries in a car accident. The car was owned by her employer and being driven by a friend of the employer, who both died during the car crash. The injured woman consulted with the expert lawyers of Morrison & Wagner and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the estates of the employer and driver. The estates agreed to pay the injury victim $600,000 in damages.
Illustrative Photo (Altered to obscure license plate and address): Todd Dwyer [License]
— — —
Heart failure, age blamed for fatal car crash (VerdictSearch)
Amount Recovered: $600,000
— — —
Court: Bronx Supreme, Bronx County, New York
ankle; other-laceration; other-tendon; severed/torn foot/heel-foot; neurological-nerve damage/neuropathy (nerve damage, peroneal nerve)
Case Type: Motor Vehicle – Speeding, Passenger, Single Vehicle
Date: June 15, 2007
Stuart Wagner; Morrison & Wagner, L.L.P.; New York, NY
— — —
On March 26, 2003, the plaintiff, 52, was working as a home health attendant for defendant A, at defendant A’s home in Westbury. On this day, defendant B invited defendant A out to dinner and offered to drive. The three of them go into the garage, and the defendant B sat down in the driver seat of defendant A’s vehicle, while the plaintiff and defendant A got into the back seat. The vehicle then sped out of the garage, down the driveway, turned right and crashed into a house across the street. Defendant B, who was driving, was found unconscious at the accident scene and having sustained multiple injuries. He later died without having regained consciousness. Defendant A was also killed in the accident. The injured plaintiff claimed that as a result of the collision her feet became trapped under the front passenger seat and that she sustained severe lacerations of her right ankle and toes.
The woman accident victim sued defendant A’s estate and defendant B’s estate. She alleged that defendant B, as the driver, was negligent in the operation of the vehicle and that defendant A, as the vehicle owner, was vicariously liable for defendant B’s actions.
Defendant A’s estate commenced a separate action against defendant B’s estate, alleging that defendant B was negligent in the operation of the vehicle. The matters were joined for trial. However, the action by defendant A’s estate settled on Sept. 25, 2006, and the plaintiff’s matter continued against both defendants.
The woman claimed that defendant B was negligent for pulling out of the garage and driveway at an excessive rate of speed and for failing to keep proper control of the vehicle. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that defendant B should not have been driving at his advanced age of 86.
Defense counsel alleged that defendant B suffered a stroke or heart attack once he was behind the wheel and that this caused defendant B’s erratic driving. The defense contended that since this was an unforeseen event, there was no liability. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that there was no medical evidence to prove that defendant B had suffered either a heart attack or stroke.
The plaintiff was placed in an ambulance and transported to Winthrop-University Hospital, in Mineola. She remained in the hospital for eight days and was diagnosed with compound lacerations of the dorsal aspect of the right foot, including lacerations of the extensor digitorum communis tendons and extensor digitorum brevis tendons of toes 2 through 5, and a laceration of the peroneal nerve in the right ankle. The car crash victim underwent operative repair of the peroneal nerve injury the day after the accident, followed by approximately 26 weeks of physical therapy, but she complained that it was not successful.
The plaintiff claimed that the lacerations of her right ankle and toes caused a loss of function to the long extensors of the lateral toes. She alleged that she was left with a club foot and had trouble walking. She sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering.
Defense counsel contended that the plaintiff made a good recovery from her injuries following the surgery. The defendant’s orthopedic expert determined that the surgery was successful and that the woman’s toes were OK. However, he found that she did experience a loss of sensation to the lateral two-thirds of her right foot due to the peroneal nerve laceration. He determined that the plaintiff could not actively extend her lateral toes, but that they were in a neutral position and did not curl downward or upward. Thus, the expert concluded that the woman did not suffer a disability.
The parties agreed to settle prior to trial for $600,000. Of the total settlement, defendant B’s estate paid $500,000, and defendant A’s estate paid $100,000.
— — —
Judge: Howard R. Silver
Editor’s Comment: This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s and defense counsel.