$467,500 Settlement After Plaintiff's Verdict on Liability in Auto Accident Case.
A WRSH Partner, obtained a $467,500 recovery for a client who was injured in an automobile accident that occurred at an intersection controlled by a traffic light. The issue presented was which driver had the green light?
In a hotly contested case involving a question of lights, the defense argued that the plaintiff was traveling at an excessive rate of speed and against a red light when his vehicle collided with the defendant's 24-foot box truck, which was making a left turn from Rockaway Boulevard into a freight facility at International Airport Center Boulevard, in Queens, NY. We contended that the defendant truck driver disregarded a red left-turn arrow and crossed into the plaintiff's path of travel. WRSH Partner conceded that at the time of this accident, our client had a yellow light and because he could not safely stop in time, he accelerated through it. However, he also argued that even if our client was speeding to get through the intersection, this was irrelevant, as the defendant disregarded a steady red left-turn arrow. Moreover, at trial WRSH Partner was able to prove that even if our client's light was red when he went through the intersection, the next light to turn green was for traffic exiting the freight facility and not for traffic making a left turn into the facility. Therefore, the truck had to have gone through a red light when he made his left turn into the facility. WRSH Partner was able to prove, through a Department of Transportation witness, the exact timing and sequencing of the traffic lights controlling this intersection. He was also able to prove, through a witness who was waiting for a green light to exit the freight facility, that at the time of impact, this witness' traffic light was still red and therefore so too was the color of truck's light for left turns.
The jury found the defendant was 85% responsible for the happening of this accident. Prior to the jury's verdict, WRSH Partner and the defense attorney agreed to High/Low settlement parameters of $50,000- $550,000, avoiding the need for medical testimony at trial. As such, and based upon the jury's findings of 85% liability against the defendant, the plaintiff was awarded 85% of $550,000, or $467,500. It should be noted that one day prior to trial, we made a demand for $300,000 to settle this matter, based upon the Judge's recommendation. The insurance company refused.
As a result of this accident, our 40-year-old client sustained multiple fractures to his left forearm, including his ulna and radical shaft, requiring surgery and internal fixation of the fractured bones. He also sustained a laceration to his head requiring approximately 20 staples to close the wound.