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ARTICLE ID 188385

$________ GROSS REDUCED BY 25% COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE – MOTOR VEHICLE NEGLIGENCE – LEFT TURN COLLISION – DEFENDANT TURNS LEFT INTO VEHICLE SIDE – AIRBAG THROWS WRIST INTO FOREHEAD – TBI – SEVERE OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER – SEIZURES CONTROLLED BY MEDICATION – RIGHT WRIST FRACTURE.

New York County, NY

The plaintiff, at the time a college student, contended that the defendant driver negligently made a left turn into the side of her vehicle while she had the right-of-way. The plaintiff maintained that the impact was very substantial and that when her airbag deployed, it knocked her wrist into her forehead with force, and simultaneously resulted in her brain hitting the inside of her skull, creating immediate bruising. The plaintiff maintained that she suffered a TBI that manifested in severe OCD symptoms. The plaintiff further contended that she suffered a seizure disorder, a right wrist fracture and a tear of the medial meniscus that was treated with arthroscopic surgery.

The plaintiff contended that she had the right-of-way and that the defendant was negligent in turning into her vehicle as she passed. The plaintiff further maintained that the defendant had an unobstructed view of more than ________ feet and should have been able to see the plaintiff’s vehicle approaching and wait until she passed before attempting the turn. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert contended that the defendant had every opportunity to see the plaintiff’s car. The expert further maintained that the plaintiff was not traveling faster than 30 mph.

The defendant contended that the plaintiff was speeding and talking on the phone, causing her to be unable to stop. The defendants called a non-party witness, who supported the defendant’s position. The plaintiff denied that she was speeding or speaking on the phone. The plaintiff further pointed out that the defendant failed to produce any cell phone records and maintained that its position should be rejected.

The plaintiff contended that she had the right-of-way and that the defendant was negligent in turning into her vehicle as she passed. The plaintiff further maintained that the defendant had an unobstructed view of more than ________ feet and should have been able to see the plaintiff’s vehicle approaching and wait until she passed before attempting the turn. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert maintained that the defendant had every opportunity to see the plaintiff’s car. The expert also contended that the plaintiff was not traveling faster than 30 mph.

The defendant contended that the plaintiff was speeding and talking on the phone, causing her to be unable to stop. The defendants called a non-party witness, who supported the defendant’s position. The plaintiff denied that she was speeding or speaking on the phone. The plaintiff was transported to the hospital by ambulance, where complaints of head pain and disorientation were noted with no loss of consciousness. A CT of the brain was normal and the patient was discharged.

The plaintiff contended that over the course of the next several months, she developed deteriorating symptoms of OCD, including an inability to drive a car with the same black color as that involved in the collision. The plaintiff also maintained that she became unable to wear certain clothes. The plaintiff contended that within a year she developed obsessive cleaning compulsions, which included washing her hands multiple times per hour, and also developed compulsions that included stepping over door thresholds several times, turning lights on and off and being unable to use certain numbers, such as “6” in phone dialing or writing because of its association with Satan, even though she was not religious.

At the time of the collision, the plaintiff was dating an individual who worked for IBM in a managerial position. The witness, now married with children, related that prior to the accident, the plaintiff was outgoing and had many friends. The witness indicated that over the course of the several-month period following the collision, the plaintiff developed deteriorating symptoms of OCD and rarely socialized. The witness testified that when the accident occurred he was in love with her and that when he proposed he knew risks existed, but had hoped planning a wedding would be therapeutic and direct her energies back to something positive. He hoped that if they married, it would help and that although he proposed, the plaintiff could not bring herself to meet his family and that the couple ultimately broke up.

The plaintiff’s psychiatrist and the plaintiff’s neurologist, who share office space at NYU’s Epilepsy Center, which is the largest on the Eastern Seaboard, testified that these compulsions were causally related to the collision, highly distracting, prevented her from working, affected her relationships, and basically made her a prisoner in her own home. The plaintiff contended that she will permanently suffer severe symptoms and the plaintiff’s experts maintained that the treatment modalities will include electroshock therapy. The experts also contended that the longer the period between the accident and such therapy, the more difficult effective treatment will become.

The defendants maintained that the injuries, if they did exist, were more likely to have come from a prior fall at an automobile dealership that occurred one and a-half years earlier, where she had been rendered unconscious and admitted to the hospital for several days when she hit the back of her head. The plaintiff did suffer a loss of consciousness in the subject accident. The plaintiff left the hospital AMA after the prior fall. The previous incident prompted litigation and the plaintiff contended that her deposition from the prior lawsuit reflected complaints of headaches and tinnitus and not signs and symptoms of OCD.

The defendant also produced a surveillance video depicting the plaintiff walking outside and speaking on her cell phone. The defendant contended that the jury could determine that the plaintiff did not exhibit the idiosyncrasies that would be expected from an individual suffering from OCD. The plaintiff countered that the defendant conducted surveillance on the plaintiff some 15 times, but only produced tapes on two of the occasions. The plaintiff maintained that she never claimed that she was unable to walk in the street or talk on the phone. The plaintiff also contended that if the videos would have been conducted in her apartment, they would have depicted her compulsively turning on and off the lights in her apartment or compulsively washing her hands, arguing that the defendant’s evidence was not probative.The jury found the defendant 75% negligent the plaintiff 25% comparatively negligent and rendered a gross award of $________, including $________ for past pain and suffering, $________ for future pain and suffering, $________ for future medical costs and $________ for future loss of earnings.

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