Result: $1.5 Million Recovered in Highway Truck Accident Case

The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., Secured $1.5 Million Verdict for Spinal Injury Victim

A Queens County jury returned a verdict in favor of The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C.’s client, awarding $1.56 million in compensation. The case involved a 44-year-old female victim who, in April of 2011, was struck and injured by a commercial tractor-trailer.

As noted in the case, the collision occurred as the plaintiff was traveling northbound on I-95 near the Elm Street interchange in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. While driving, her vehicle was sideswiped by a tractor-trailer, causing it to swing back into the truck’s path to be struck again before being pushed roughly 200 feet into the median of the highway.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged the commercial tractor-trailer driver was negligent in operating his truck. The suit initially named both the driver and his employer as defendants, as the wreck occurred during the course of his employment. After discontinuing the claim against the driver, the matter proceeded to trial against his employer in 2014, and resulted in a jury finding the employer not liable for the accident. The decision was appealed to the Second Department appellate division on the basis of preclusion of a state trooper’s accident report. The appellate court vacated the lower court’s judgment, which resulted in a retrial.

In the second trial, the plaintiff and counsel highlighted the state’ troopers accident report, which claimed tire marks created by the tractor-trailer indicated the collision occurred in the highway’s right lane. The trooper’s report supported the plaintiff’s claim that her vehicle was struck while it was in the right northbound lane when the tractor-trailer merged into the right lane from the left lane, and conflicted with the trucker’s claim that the collision occurred in the left lane, and that the plaintiff had lost control of her vehicle and entered the left lane. The truck driver also alleged the plaintiff had been distracted by her cell phone at the time of the collision, and the defense counsel indicated cell-service record showed a call place around the time of the crash.

In terms of injuries sustained by the plaintiff, the lawsuit notes she was transported to a local hospital by ambulance following the crash, where she underwent minor treatment. She ultimately claimed aggravation of a pre-existing degenerative condition involving herniation of the L4-5 intervertebral disc and a bulging L5-S1 disc, in addition to spinal nerve impingement.

The plaintiff underwent 13 weeks of conservative treatment for her spinal injuries, including chiropractic care and physical therapy, roughly three times per week. She additionally had epidural injections and underwent a decompressive spinal surgery in March of 2012 which included a discectomy, hemi-laminectomy, and fusion. The plaintiff claimed she was unable to work for three months following the procedure, and claimed residual pain, limitations, and the need for future treatment and / or surgery. The lawsuit sought a financial recovery for past and future medical expenses, and past and future pain and suffering.

During trial, the defense argued the plaintiff’s injuries were pre-existing, and were not aggravated by the crash. Additionally, they noted she had recovered well, and had visited a casino over 100 times following the collision. An orthopedic expert for the defense opined that the plaintiff’s medical records indicated a natural, degenerative condition which existed before the accident. The expert’s credibility was challenged by the plaintiff’s counsel, which argued the doctor had previously testified in favor of a plaintiff in another case involving very similar conditions and circumstances.

Following 3 days of trial and 3 days of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict finding the defendant, the truck driver’s employer, liable for the accident, and awarded the plaintiff $1,561,000 in damages, which included:

  • $261,000 for past medical expenses
  • $300,000 for future medical needs
  • $300,000 for past pain and suffering
  • $700,000 for future pain and suffering

The case is a powerful example of the persistence and skill of The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C.’s trial attorneys, who were able to prevail in an appeal and subsequently secure a substantial verdict for the plaintiff.