FACTS & ALLEGATIONS
The plaintiff, a 77-year-old woman, was driving on Bath Avenue, near its intersection at 25th Avenue, in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. As she proceeded through the intersection, her vehicle struck the right side of a public bus, which was traveling on 25th Avenue. The plaintiff claimed that she sustained injuries to her leg and neck.
The plaintiff sued the bus driver and his employer, the New York City Transit Authority. She alleged that the driver was negligent in his operation of the bus. She further alleged that the New York City Transit Authority was vicariously liable for the bus driver’s actions.
The plaintiff claimed that a green traffic signal permitted her entrance to the intersection, and she contended that she was following another motorist who had already entered the intersection. She claimed that the bus driver ignored a red signal. She also claimed that she could not have avoided the collision. The bus driver contended that a green signal permitted his entrance to the intersection. However, during cross-examination, the witness acknowledged that he was not certain of the signal’s color.
Closed reduction; decreased range of motion; external fixation; fracture, C2; facture, fibula; Facture, leg; fracture, tibia; internal fixation; open reduction; physical therapy; plate; screws.
The plaintiff sustained a fracture of her C2 vertebra and fractures of her right leg’s fibula and tibia. She was placed in an ambulance, and she was transported to a hospital. Her neck’s fracture was addressed via open reduction and the internal fixation of a plate and screws. Her right leg’s fractures were addressed via the application of an external fixation device. Her hospitalization lasted about four weeks, but doctors subsequently determined that her right leg’s fractured components had not achieved proper union. Thus, some six weeks after the accident, those fractures were addressed via open reduction and the internal fixation of hardware.The plaintiff also underwent about 18 months of occupational and physical therapy.
The plaintiff claimed that she suffers permanent residual injuries that include pain that stems from her neck and radiates to her left, nondominant arm’s shoulder; a reduction of her neck’s range of motion; and a limp that necessitates her use of a cane. She contended that she previously enjoyed an active life, but that she cannot easily ascend or descend stairs and that she cannot resume recreational activities, such as bowling or dancing with her husband. She also contended that her neck’s pain impairs her ability to chew and swallow food. She claimed that additional therapy and surgery may be necessary.
The plaintiff sought recovery of her future medical expenses and a total of $10 million for her past and future pain and suffering.
Defense counsel contended that the plaintiff experienced a remarkable recovery. He claimed that her neck’s ongoing problems stem from preexisting arthritis and other preexisting conditions that involve an area other than the area that was fractured during the accident. He also claimed that her right leg has totally healed.
The jury found that the defendants were liable for the accident. It determined that the plaintiff’s damages totaled $10 million.
The plaintiff was awarded:
$2,000,000 future medical cost
$3,000,000 past pain and suffering
$5,000,000 future pain and suffering
Total: $ 10,000,000.