Car Accident
VERDICTS/SETTLEMENTS

$1,000,000 - Motor Vehicle Accidnet - Cervical Spine Injury, Knee and Shoulder Injuries

Nicholas Joplin v. City of New York, Supreme Court, Bronx County. Index # 310197/09. Plaintiff, 41, was an operator of a vehicle that was stopped at a stop sign when he was struck in the rear by a vehicle owned and operated by the City of New York. Plaintiff was stopped at the subject intersection for approximately 45 seconds while he waited to ensure that traffic was clear before he proceeded. Upon moving to enter the intersection he observed a car speeding on University Avenue. To avoid being struck by this speeding vehicle, plaintiff brought his vehicle to a complete stop at the intersection for a second time. Plaintiff was at a complete stop for approximately four (4) to five (5) seconds when his vehicle was struck in the rear by the defendants’ vehicle. According to the defendant operator, she was completely stopped at a stop sign behind plaintiff’s vehicle waiting for oncoming traffic to clear in order to proceed onto University Avenue. Defendant testified that both vehicles started to move to merge onto University Avenue but came to a complete stop due to oncoming traffic. Defendant stated that both cars moved and stopped a second time due to oncoming traffic. Finally, defendant testified that on the third time plaintiff he started to move, she noticed he was going faster and that there were no vehicles coming on University Avenue from the left so she released her foot from the break and started to move forward and merge onto University Avenue. Suddenly and unexpectedly plaintiff came to a stop in from of her, and the front of her vehicle tapped his rear bumper before coming to a complete stop. Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment as to the issue of liability was granted despite defendants’ claims that plaintiff suddenly and unexpectedly stopped short. Defendant filed a motion to renew and reargue on grounds that plaintiff testified that after he came to a stop he was then quickly struck in the rear. The Court granted defendants motion to renew and reargue and vacated plaintiff’s summary judgment decision and order. Plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Division and the lower court decision was reversed and summary judgment in favor of plaintiff was restored. As a result of this accident, plaintiff sustained injuries to his neck, left knee and left shoulder. Plaintiff underwent arthroscopic surgery to his left knee and left shoulder following the accident. Plaintiff also sustained a herniated disc in his cervical spine and ultimately underwent surgery following a failed course of conservative care. Plaintiff was unemployed on the date of this accident thus there was no claim for past and future loss of earnings. However, plaintiff claimed the necessity for future medical care. Defendants argued that the impact was a “tap” and there was no visible damage to the rear of plaintiff’s car as well as the front of the defendant’s vehicle. In addition, defendant argued that plaintiff did not appear injured at the scene of this accident and his injuries were not caused by the motor vehicle accident. In fact, defendant claimed that all of plaintiff’s injuries were pre-existing from multiple prior motor vehicle accidents, and or degenerative in nature. While this case was on the trial calendar awaiting jury selection, Judd Kleeger settled this matter for $1,000,000.00. 2015