$600,000 Verdict for Injured Bicyclist in New York

Bike Accident - Taxi Accident

Plaintiff, a bicyclist, approximately 30 years of age, contended that the defendant cab driver negligently failed to stop at a red light, causing a collision. Plaintiff conceded that he entered the intersection on his bicycle when the light was yellow for him. As a result of the accident, plaintiff, a medical doctor in a hospital who did not lose any income as a result of the accident, sustained a fractured leg and skull fracture, as well as some alleged neuropsychological injuries which made it harder for him to do his job as a doctor. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Plaintiff had surgery to his leg to fix the fracture as well as surgery to remove the hardware put into his leg.

This case is novel and interesting for the following reasons. This case involved a yellow cab insured by a company notorious for not settling cases in a reasonable fashion. Additionally, as with all yellow cabs in New York City, there was a $100,000 limit of insurance. Our firm ascertained that the cab corporation in this case, which owned two medallions, had enough equity in those medallions to warrant demanding above the $100,000 policy limit of the cab’s insurance.

Therefore, even when the insurance company finally offered the $100,000 at jury selection, Partner Bill Hepner told them the offer was too little, too late, and he would take a verdict unless the owner of the cab corporation paid money out of his own pocket to settle the case above the $100,000 insurance policy. The owner refused, and Bill obtained a verdict of $600,000. The case subsequently settled with the owner of the cab paying a substantial amount of money above the insurance policy limit, which was exhausted by the verdict.

For years cab companies have been getting away with carrying the minimum amount they are allowed under the law. (A number of years ago the minimum was raised to $100,000 for yellow cabs and livery vehicles; for all other motor vehicles in New York State the minimum under the law is only $25,000). This case shows that WRSH will not stop at just the insurance policy limits if there are assets available above the policy.

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