Intersection Accident - Crash with Fire Department Truck

WRSH Partner, Philip Russotti, and Of Counsel, Brielle C. Goldfaden, obtained a $1.3 million settlement after jury selection on a trial against the City of New York, the New York City Fire Department and an FDNY employee. Partner William Hepner handled the case from inception until the point of trial including pre-suit investigation, depositions and all legal proceedings.

Our client, a man in his 30s, was driving to work at JFK Airport from his home in Whitestone, Queens. He reached an intersection controlled by a traffic light which was green for traffic in his direction. As he drove straight through the intersection in the left lane, a New York City Fire Department truck heading in the opposite direction suddenly turned left in front of our client causing a near-head-on collision. The truck turned so suddenly that our client was unable to step on the brake or avoid the crash.

The defendants claimed that the accident was our client’s fault. The FDNY driver said that our client crossed over the double yellow lines, striking the FDNY truck head-on before the truck began to turn left. They also argued that our client ran a red light.

Although our client was wearing his seatbelt, the force of the impact caused multiple discs in his neck to herniate or erupt. The injured discs pressed on his spinal cord. When our client arrived at the emergency room, he had emergency surgery to relieve the pressure from his spinal cord and to prevent paralysis. The surgery was successful, and three days later he underwent another surgery to place rods and screws in his neck to stabilize his spine.

Despite how serious the accident and injuries were, our young client made a remarkable recovery and was eventually able to return to work.

After Phil and Brielle successfully argued motions before the trial judge and picked a jury, the City of New York offered to settle the case for $500,000 which we rejected and continued to prepare for trial. Over the next few days, the City of New York increased their offer multiple times and ultimately presented their final offer, before opening statements were made, settling the case for $1.3 million.

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