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ARTICLE ID 169487

$________ Motor vehicle negligence - Rear end collision - Police cruiser driven by officer strikes plaintiff at red light - Spinal derangement resulting in radiculopathy - Decompression surgery of L5 and S1, fusion surgery and internal fixation.

Westchester County, NY

On March 10, ________, the plaintiff was driving in the center lane of Central Park Avenue, near its intersection at Miles Square Road in Yonkers. She had stopped her vehicle at a red light when it was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by an officer of the Yonkers Police Department. The plaintiff commenced this action against the City of Yonkers. She alleged that the officer was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. She further alleged that the City was vicariously liable for the officer’s negligent driving. The officer argued that the accident was caused by a motorist who had suddenly exited a parking lot and entered the direct path of the police vehicle. The officer contended that he avoided that vehicle by veering into the center lane from the right lane and that he could not have avoided hitting the plaintiff’s vehicle.

The plaintiff was a 58-year-old nurse at the time of the incident. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff claimed to have sustained spinal derangement that produced radiculopathy stemming from her back and neck. Four years after the accident, she underwent decompression surgery and fusion surgery at L5 and S1 and internal fixation of stabilizing plates and screws.

The plaintiff claimed that she was unable to work for seven months following the incident and for 12 months following the surgery. She testified that she continues to suffer radiculopathy stemming from her back and that she will need additional physical therapy, regular MRI scans and monthly medical evaluations. The plaintiff sought recovery of her past and future medical expenses, her lost wages, and damages for past and future pain and suffering.

The defendants argued that the plaintiff’s injuries were the result of preexisting degenerative conditions that were age- related and not a result of trauma.

The plaintiff’s accident-reconstruction expert opined that, based on the officer’s claim that he was maintaining a speed of approximately 20 miles per hour; the officer would have had a distance of ________ feet in which he could have noticed the plaintiff’s vehicle and safely stopped. Plaintiff’s counsel questioned the officer’s credibility regarding the alleged nonparty motorist since he could provide no description of that vehicle and since the driver had not been detained or ticketed.

The plaintiff demanded $________ and the defendants offered $________.

After a ten day trial and after deliberating for four and a quarter hours, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff and awarded her $________. That award included $________ for past medical expenses, $________ for future medical expenses, $________ for lost earnings, $________ for past pain and suffering, and $________ for future pain and suffering.

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