Result: $1.85M Settlement Over Pothole Wheelchair Accident
$1.85M settlement reached for victim who claimed parking lot pothole caused wheelchair accident, serious injuries.
David H. Perecman and The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. secured a $1.85 million settlement on behalf of a woman who claimed her wheelchair accident at a Brooklyn apartment complex was caused by a pothole on the building’s parking lot. The settlement was reached after a jury issued a liability verdict in favor of the victim.
The firm’s client, a 42-year-old woman at the time of the incident, had muscular dystrophy which prevented her from working and required her to use a wheelchair and the services of an assistant.
As noted in the lawsuit, filed in Kings County, the woman had been visiting an apartment building located on Shore Parkway in Brooklyn. During her visit, she was being traversed through the building’s snow-covered parking lot with the help of an assistant when the wheelchair became lodged in a 3-inch-deep pothole. As a result, the wheelchair tipped forward and ejected her onto the ground.
Injuries & Treatment
The fall caused the victim to sustain several serious injuries, including:
- Fracture of the left femur;
- Fracture of the left patella (knee); and
- Aggravation of pre-existing condition.
Due to the severity of her injuries and her pre-existing medical condition, she underwent surgical repair (via open reduction and internal fixation) of both fractures, and was confined to a bed for approximately one year while she was recuperating, the suit claimed.
Additionally, the victim claimed the injuries and resulting recovery exacerbated her muscular dystrophy, and rendered her permanently bound to a wheelchair. Her treating orthopedist supported the claims, and further noted that she requires the assistance of in-home assistance from an aide.
The lawsuit was filed against the New York City Housing Authority, which owned the apartment building and parking lot where the accident occurred. It alleged the pothole was a dangerous condition, and that NYCHA was negligent in maintaining the parking lot.
A building tenant testified the pothole had formed in the parking lot six years before the victim’s accident, giving rise to claims that NYCHA was aware of the pothole’s presence, but failed to take any reasonable steps to repair it or address the dangers it posed.
In response to the claims, NYCHA commenced a third-party action against the assistant who had been pushing the woman’s wheelchair, arguing that they were negligent in operating the wheelchair. It additionally contended that the accident could not have happened in the manner alleged by the victim, and was the result of the assistant failing to properly push the wheelchair.
Liability Verdict & Settlement
The case resulted in a trial over liability, where the jury handed down a verdict that the NYC Housing Authority was liable for the woman’s fall. It held that the assistant pushing her wheelchair was not negligent. During the presentation of the victim’s damages, an out-of-court settlement was reached for $1.85 million.