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Man Bumped By Car Sustained Fractures of Leg – Settlement: $550,000

Dan Israeli [Verdict Search]
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Jeffrey L. Richards v. Thelma J. Wolfe

Supreme Court, First Judicial District, New York County, New York.

No. 110595/07

DATE OF SETTLEMENT: September 13, 2010

TOPIC: MOTOR VEHICLE – PEDESTRIAN – MOTOR VEHICLE –

SUMMARY:

RESULT: Settlement Award Total: $550,000. The parties negotiated a settlement, after three days of trial. Richards recovered $550,000 for pain and suffering.

EXPERT WITNESSES:

Plaintiff: Jerry A. Lubliner, M.D.; Orthopedic Surgery; New York, NY

Defendant: Maurice C. Carter, M.D.; Orthopedics; New York, NY Sondra J. Pfeffer, M.D.; Radiology; New York, NY William B. Head, Jr.; Neurology; Staten Island, NY

ATTORNEYS:

Plaintiff: Peter DeFilippis; Peter DeFilippis & Associates P.C.; New York, NY (Jeffrey L. Richards)

Defendant: Edward Faranda; Kay & Gray; Westbury, NY (Thelma J. Wolfe)

JUDGE: Anil C. Singh

STATE: New York

COUNTY: New York

INJURIES: Richards was taken by ambulance to an emergency room, from the scene of the accident, with severe right knee pain. He underwent X-rays and was diagnosed with a proximal fracture of his right tibia. The leg was placed in an immobilizer brace. He flew back to Texas and treated with an orthopedic surgeon, who diagnosed Richards with a depressed fracture of his right tibia, and a nondisplaced fracture of his fibula, via MRI testing.

FACTS: On Oct. 8, 2006, plaintiff Jeffrey Richards, 40, a consultant, was walking east on West 58th Street, in Manhattan. Richards was visiting from Texas with his father and brother. As he crossed Eighth Avenue, Richards was struck in his right leg by a vehicle operated by Thelma Wolfe, driving northbound on Eighth Avenue. Richards claimed that he sustained injuries of his right knee and lower back, the latter stemming from a subsequent physical therapy session.

Richards sued Wolfe. He alleged that Wolfe was negligent in the operation of her vehicle.

Richards contended that he was midway through the crosswalk, with a green light, when Wolfe’s vehicle lurched forward, from a stopped position at the red light, and pushed his right knee in the wrong direction, causing him to fall to the ground. Two independent eyewitnesses contended that Wolfe attempted to leave the scene and that Richards’ brother stopped her.

Richards claimed that Wolfe took no action to avoid hitting him, such as turning the wheel, and that she didn’t honk her horn just before impact. After parking her car, Richards claimed that Wolfe came over and began crying and apologizing, and the two witnesses contended that she said, “Do we really have to notify the police about this?”

Wolfe contended that she had stopped her vehicle at the red light and waited about 60 seconds when her right foot slipped off the brake and may have touched the gas pedal. She claimed that this occurred because she was distracted by a bus that went through the light on her left. Wolfe claimed that after looking up at the light, her foot slipped and that she didn’t have enough time to hit the brake after almost instantly striking Richards in the crosswalk.

Prior to trial, Richards successfully motioned for summary judgment on liability, with the exception that Wolfe was allowed the right to argue comparative negligence. Defense counsel conceded full liability just before the beginning of opening arguments.

In November 2006, Richards began physical therapy. On Jan. 25, 2007, while using an exercise machine with his physical therapist, he experienced pain in his lower back, with radiating, stabbing pain in his left leg. MRI scans revealed a herniated disc at L4-5, with nerve involvement and complications. Richards’ expert orthopedist opined that his radiating left leg pain was caused by nerve irritation from his herniated disc.

Richards missed a few days of work, but he received compensation from his employer. He sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering.

Wolfe contended that Richards’ back injury stemmed from a motor-vehicle accident that occurred in 1993 and was settled in Richards’ favor, also resulting in a workers’ compensation award.

Insurer:

Chubb Group of Insurance Cos. excess

Government Employees Insurance Co. primary insurer

ALM Properties, Inc.New York Supreme

PUBLISHED IN: VerdictSearch New York Reporter Vol. 28, Issue 15

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