Settlement or verdict?
Jun 25, 2019 | 7166 views | 0 0 comments | 632 632 recommendations | email to a friend | print

A man was driving his scooter down the street. The scooter required him to have a valid motorcycle license, which of course he had. He is a Polish immigrant and American citizen who has worked in carpentry his entire career.  His expertise is so well known and lauded, that he was immediately made a journeyman upon his entrance to the union in 2013.  He has dedicated his life to providing for his loving wife, a teacher in the New York City School System, and his two children.

On the date of the accident, the carpenter was heading to downtown Manhattan to do renovation work.  He had driven this route over a hundred times. The intersection of Maurice and Borden in Queens, New York is a 4-way intersection. It is controlled by traffic lights in all directions. As the man approached the intersection, he noticed that the light was red. Upon seeing the red light, he came to a stop. In order to stop, he slowed the scooter down, applied the brakes, and put both feet soundly on the asphalt. He patiently waited his turn. The defendant, who was driving a company pick-up truck, was not so courteous. Once the light turned green, the carpenter proceeded into the intersection. Just as he was almost through, the defendant, coming from the opposite direction, made a sudden unpredictable left turn in front of the carpenter’s scooter. The carpenter did everything he could do to avoid the accident. He hit his brakes, he swerved to the left and positioned his body as best he could. Despite his efforts, he was unable to avoid the defendant and collided with the rear-passenger of the defendant’s pick-up truck. The impact was brutal. The carpenter hit his head, right shoulder, and right side on the bed of the pickup. He was thrown violently to the ground and skid along the asphalt tearing both his clothes and his skin.

Immediately following the accident, the carpenter was taken by ambulance to Elmhust Hospital with primary complaints to his right shoulder and rib area. The X-rays revealed a displaced fracture to the collar bone and a displaced fracture to the fifth rib on his right side.  Additional testing showed that he had a SLAP tear in his right shoulder which needed surgery.  The doctor needed to re-anchor his tendon, as it was torn away in the accident. Additionally, his collarbone was broken and displaced. During the same surgery, the doctor performed an open distal clavicle resection, subacromial decompression, and acromioplasty. After a long course of medical treatment and significant effort, the carpenter was lucky enough to be able to return to work, but he was never the same. Unfortunately, he still has pain lifting objects with his right arm, working over his head, and doing his everyday activities as a carpenter, husband and father.

As is typical with insurance carriers, the defense tried to blame the plaintiff for the accident. They attempted to say that it was the carpenter who ran the red light, and not the other way around. Their client claimed that he had the green arrow and that the carpenter was irresponsibly swerving through traffic. At the time of the accident, the defendant was working, so both he and his employer were on the hook. They offered $100,000.00. The injured carpenter turned down this low offer of settlement and proceeded to trial. 

At the beginning of the trial, it was clear that the insurance company’s case was not going to come together. It was evident that their client’s story did not make sense. There was no proof that the carpenter ran the red light. In fact, quite the opposite. The location of the impact itself was key in showing the insurance company that their client was in the wrong. In preparation for the trial, several exhibits including photographs and reports were prepared to show the jury just how this accident happened. Before a jury was selected, the insurance company upped their offer to $250,000. The injured driver, upon our advice, still rejected the offer and moved forward. After picking the jury the insurance company realized they were not going to win. They offered $750,000. Once again, plaintiff rejected the offer.  Just before Opening Statements and only through a judge that insisted on higher settlement from insurance company, the parties agreed to settle for $850,000. An amount that would finally do justice for the plaintiff.

In personal injury cases a lot of times the insurance company will attempt to “lowball” an injured plaintiff in hopes that the plaintiff will not want to go to trial. This case, like so many others, is why all cases must be meticulously prepared to continue forward until a fair settlement agreement or jury award is achieved.  

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, please contact The Platta Law Firm for a free legal consultation by calling 212–514–5100 (24/7), emailing or visiting our law firm in Financial District of Manhattan (42 Broadway, Suite 1927). You can also ask us questions using the 24-hour chat box on our website ( We offer free consultations for all potential personal injury cases.

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