Motor Vehicle Accident - Garbage Truck Crash

WRSMH attorney, Robert J. Bellinson, Esq. recently obtained an $800,000.00 settlement in a case where, on the day jury selection started there was no settlement offer.

Our client was a 60 year old man who was stopped at a red light when defendant, who was driving a mack truck while performing garbage collection in Brooklyn, struck him in the rear. According to the police report, the driver of the truck claimed that his brakes failed. However, at the time of trial, defendant claimed that his brakes were working fine but that he skidded on snow and ice. Because of defendant’s "change of story", the Court denied our motion for summary judgment, stating that the bad weather could have been a non-negligent explanation for the happening of the accident.

As a result of the garbage truck accident, our client sustained lumbar spinal injuries. He declined medical treatment at the accident scene. Within a couple of days following the accident he was having severe lower back pain. He tried conservative treatment (rest, physical therapy, injections) but his back pain got progressively worse. In the fall of 2012, he underwent spinal fusion surgery at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels. Plaintiff’s treating surgeon was prepared to testify that the accident was the competent producing cause of the spinal injuries because he was working at two different jobs before the accident, and had never had any prior back pain, injuries or treatment. Defendant’s examining orthopedist opined that the spinal injuries were degenerative in nature and that he would have needed spinal fusion surgery anyway.

At the time of trial, Rob had subpoenaed the police officer who responded to the accident; he testified that the weather at the time of the accident, though cold, was fine – there was no snow, ice or sleet that had any bearing on the accident. Rob put into evidence the actual police accident report which had specific notations about the weather (clear and dry) and the absence of any snow or ice at the scene. Rob also used a little-known section of the law, certified weather records, to show that there had been no storm in progress, as defendant had claimed, and also that the snow that had fallen from the last major snowfall had long dissipated at the time of this accident.

Pursuant to a hi-low agreement that was negotiated during the liability trial, the plaintiff was guaranteed a $300,000 recovery if we lost liability. However, since we won a 100% verdict on liability, our client recovered $800,000.00.

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