Matthew J. Vitucci recently obtained a directed verdict after a damages only trial in Kings County. The case involved an impact between our client’s left-turning tractor trailer and the vehicle in which plaintiff was a passenger.
The plaintiff and operator of the car was on their way to a nightclub in Manhattan with a friend whereupon they stopped for traffic in the left of lane of the two-lane roadway. At this time, our client’s tractor trailer attempted to make a left-hand turn behind plaintiff’s stopped car and in the process of turning the trailer portion of the truck made contact with the car’s left rear. Plaintiff described a heavy impact which lifted the car off the ground and tore off the vehicle’s bumper and in the process forced plaintiff’s body—despite her wearing of a seatbelt—to the right side of the car causing her head, neck, elbow and right knee to make contact with the right-side door and dashboard.
Plaintiff claimed to have sustained herniations and bulges to her neck and lower back and a torn meniscus to the right knee. Plaintiff underwent surgery to the right knee. At trial, her expert maintained that plaintiff developed degenerative changes post-surgery which would eventually require a knee replacement. He further maintained that plaintiff will require a cervical discectomy and fusion and the same for her lower back.
At trial plaintiff was confronted with the fact that she had been involved in several prior and subsequent accidents wherein she made claims of injury to her back and neck; it was pointed out on cross that plaintiff was less than forthright in her prior testimony regarding these claims. It was further pointed out that plaintiff made no complaints other than that she suffered from mild low back pain to the responding EMS technicians and hospital personnel. It was pointed out to the jury that plaintiff made no complaints regarding her knee to hospital personnel even though she was ambulatory at the scene and at the hospital. It was also argued to the jury that plaintiff’s taking a job as a mail carrier several years after the accident speaks to a conclusion that her future damages are either negligible or non-existent.
Matt argued to the jury that plaintiff’s taking a job as a mail carrier several years after the accident speaks to a conclusion that her future damages are either negligible or non-existent. In summation plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury for 1.75 million. The jury returned an award of 60k past pain and suffering and 1k for future. Following the verdict, the Judge issued a directed verdict in favor of the defendants as plaintiff failed to show that she suffered from a motion restriction that breaches the threshold.