Transit Authority Negligence – Rear end auto collision – two fractured cervical bones – Settlement $450,000.

New York Jury Verdict Review & Analysis

Shoulder Injury $300,000

Supreme Court, Second Judicial District, Kings County, New York.
PMI vs. MTA ET AL 502301/12
Plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert: Nicholas Bellizzi, P.E. from Holmdel, NJ.
Plaintiff’s neurologist expert: Aric Hausknecht, M.D. from New York, NY.
Plaintiff’s: Peter DeFilippis of Law Offices of Peter DeFilippis & Associates in Dobbs Ferry and New York, NY.JUDGE: Kenneth P. Sherman
RANGE AMOUNT: $200,000-499,999
STATE: New York


Transit Authority negligence – Rear end collision – Plaintiff driver, forced to stop with strong pressure on brake, struck in rear by defendant driver of “Access-A-Ride” bus and propelled into defendant driver in front (driver no. 2) approximately 10-15 seconds after possible collision between defendant drivers no. 1 & 2 – Two cervical transverse process fractures and corresponding ligament damage – Severe pain upon everyday activities involving lifting or bending.


The 73-year-old plaintiff driver related that after a possible collision between the two drivers in front of her on the Verrazano Bridge, she was able to stop her vehicle 3, albeit applying strong pressure on the brake, without colliding with vehicle 2 in front of her. The driver of vehicle 2 indicated that plaintiff had been stopped for approximately 10-15 seconds before she was subsequently struck with great force from behind by the “Access A Ride” bus, vehicle 4, that was driven by the defendant MTA-NYCTA driver and began the chain reaction collision between all four vehicles.

The plaintiff maintained that the two drivers in front negligently contributed to the incident by operating their vehicles in a careless fashion and the driver in front of her stopped abruptly, resulting in the plaintiff having to stop more suddenly than usual before being struck in the rear by the MTA driver. The lead driver maintained that he stopped in traffic and that vehicle 2 behind him traveled too closely and too fast closing the distance “Sharply.” He testified that he felt two impacts creating the issue of a double collision with that vehicle. He opined that any initial collision was the negligence of driver 2 behind him. Both co-defendants also claimed that the MTA driver should have been able to avoid striking the plaintiff, who had been stopped for approximately 10-15 seconds prior to impact. At his deposition, the MTA driver admitted to following plaintiff’s vehicle too closely. The plaintiff’s orthopedist related that the plaintiff sustained two cervical transverse process fractures at C5-C6 (the bony ridges of the spine that can be felt through the skin) and corresponding anterior longitudinal ligament damage. The physician contended that despite some 26 PT visits, the plaintiff will permanently suffer extensive pain and limitations. The plaintiff maintained that the pain is especially pronounced when she attempts to bend or lift.

The plaintiff, who is an ESL teacher, missed a few days before returning to work. There was no lost wage claim.
The Court granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment against the MTA and their driver on liability and the plaintiff was deemed to have no liability against any defendant as a matter of law. The Court would have permitted the questions of percentages of responsibility among all of the defendants, except plaintiff, to proceed to a jury. The case was settled just prior to jury selection and trial for $445,000 from the insurance company for MTA and $2,500 each from the co-defendant driver’s insurance companies, totaling $450,000.Jury Verdicts Review Publications, Inc.


PUBLISHED IN: New York Jury Verdict Review & Analysis, Vol. 36, Issue 2