March 13, 2020
$3,100,000 – Motor Vehicle Collision – Spine and Shoulder Injuries
Marcia Hardeman v. NYCTA and Clarence Jackson
Plaintiff, 44 years old, was a passenger on a NYCTA bus that struck the curb as it pulled into a bus stop on Baychester Avenue in the Bronx. At the time, the plaintiff was seated in a front-facing single seat. As a result of the bus striking the curb, the plaintiff’s chest struck the rear of the seat in front of her and then recoiled back into her seat. The Plaintiff did not fall out of her seat following the incident. As a result of the impact, the plaintiff sustained whiplash injuries to her neck and back as well as internal damage to her left shoulder. The Plaintiff left the scene on the next bus and reported to work. However, the plaintiff left work and went to the emergency department complaining of neck and chest pain, where he was treated and released. Ten days following accident plaintiff began a course of conservative treatment. Eventually, the plaintiff underwent cervical spine fusion surgery, pain management treatment to her neck and back and left shoulder surgery.
The plaintiff moved for partial judgment on liability and the motion was granted. The case proceeded to trial on the issue of damages.
Defendants claimed that the impact was a low-speed impact and was so minimal that the injuries could not have been caused by the accident. Defendants retained a biomechanical engineer to testify that the low-speed impact caused a change in velocity of only 1.71 MPH and thus there was no mechanism of injury regarding claims to her neck, back and shoulder injuries. The defendant also claimed that there was minimal property damage to the bus. Defendants also claimed the plaintiff’s complaints were due to degenerative changes and pre-existed the happening of the incident, and thus were unrelated to the accident.
Judd F. Kleeger settled the case just prior to jury selection.
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