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ARTICLE ID 195386

$________ Personal Negligence – Plaintiffs being picked up by rental car company contend defendant driver accelerates precipitously as plaintiff wife was in course of entering rear seat – Knee sprain – Surgeries.

Nassau County, NY

This was an action in which the 43-year-old plaintiff and her husband, approximately the same age, called the defendant automobile rental agency to pick them up at a shop at which they left their vehicle for several days with the plan of the defendant’s employee driving them back to the rental agency, and renting a vehicle for several days.

The husband entered the front passenger seat, and the plaintiff contended that as the wife was in the process of entering the rear seat, the defendant’s employee precipitously accelerated and moved some distance before stopping, when the plaintiff and her husband started shouting.

The plaintiff initially indicated that she scraped her shoe, and when they arrived at the agency, the plaintiff realized that she suffered injury, and the husband called an ambulance. The ambulance report reflected that the plaintiff suffered injury to the right leg, and did not list the same injuries as contained in the ER records.

The plaintiff visited her family physician several days later, and complained of neck and back pain in addition to the prior injuries.

The plaintiff maintained that over the course of the ensuing months, the cervical symptoms deteriorated, and that cervical herniations were confirmed by MRI.

The plaintiff maintained that a three level cervical fusion that was performed approximately two years after the accident that resulted in a pseudoarthrodesis, and prompted a second cervical surgery approximately five years after the incident, in which the fusion was extended to the level above.

The plaintiff further maintained that she developed vertigo, has great difficulties walking, and often uses a wheelchair. She also underwent an additional two surgical interventions.

The plaintiff maintained that the incident precipitated a downward spiral, and was causally related to her injuries. She also related that she had formed a corporation involved in the sale of leaders and gutters approximately one year earlier, and that because of the injuries, she could not continue. The plaintiff opined that based upon the tax returns in her first year of operation, her inability to continue would occasion approximately $________ in income losses over her work-life expectancy.

The defendant’s driver indicated that he did take his foot off the brake as the plaintiff wife was entering, but that the vehicle only moved four to five feet before he put his foot back on the brake when it came to a complete stop.

The defendant also contended that the plaintiff’s claims that the incident was causally related to the injuries that developed over several years, should clearly be rejected.

The defendant further pointed out that the husband had worked in the field of sales of leaders and gutters for approximately a decade before the plaintiff wife incorporated, and contended that it was likely that the couple decided for financial reasons that it was advantageous to funnel income through the wife’s corporation.The plaintiffs had declined to enter into a $________/$________ high/low agreement, indicating that they would only enter into a high/low agreement if the lower figure was $________. The plaintiff requested $________ from jury. The jury found that the defendant was causally negligent, and then found for the defendant on all of the no-fault questions, except for the 90/________ days. The jury then awarded $________ for past pain and suffering, $0 for future pain and suffering, $________ for past medical bills, and $0 for future medical bills.

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