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Car Crash led to spinal fusion, plaintiff alleged.

At about 10 p.m. on December 25, 2006, plaintiff J.L, 27 a meat packer, was a passenger of a vehicle that was being driven by her husband, who was traveling on Arthur Kill Road, in Richmond County. While their vehicle was stopped at a red traffic signal, its rear end was struck by a trailing vehicle that was being driven by defendant T.B. Plaintiff claimed that she sustained an injury of her back.


Plaintiff’s counsel moved for summary judgement of liability, and the motion was granted. The matter proceeded to damages.


Plaintiff claimed that she sustained a herniation of her L5-S1 intervertebral disc. She initially underwent conservative treatment, but her injury ultimately necessitated surgery that included a diskectomy, which involved the excision of her herniated disc, and fusion of her spine’s L5-S1 levels.


Plaintiff claimed that she suffers a total, permanent, residual disability that prevents her resumption of work. She sought recovery of $1.7 million to $2.5 million for her future lost earnings. She also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Her husband presented a derivative claim.


Defense counsel contended that plaintiff did not sustain a serious injury, as defined by the no-fault law, Insurance Law 5102(d). He claimed that herniation was not a product of the accident, that she is not totally disabled and that she can resume work.


The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement.  The defendants’ insurer agreed to pay $1,175,000 from its $1.3 million policy. The money addressed plaintiff’s pain and suffering.