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Woman was struck by falling signpost, lawsuit alleged

On June 29, 2007, a Plaintiff C.M., a 43-year-old woman, was walking alongside Fifth Avenue, near its intersection at Fairtown Road, in the hamlet of Bay Shore when a street-name signpost fell and struck her head. During the month that followed the accident, Plaintiff suffered a severely disabling stroke.


Plaintiffs’ counsel claimed that the accident was a result of the signpost having rusted and deteriorated.  A police officer, summoned to the scene by Plaintiff C.M., reported having seen a fallen signpost. Plaintiff claimed that, upon visiting the subject intersection three days after the accident, she saw a fallen signpost.


Plaintiff was placed in an ambulance, and she was transported to Southside Hospital, in Bay Shore. A CT scan revealed a calcified aneurysm of her brain. A doctor opined that Plaintiff suffered a concussion and was experiencing post-concussion syndrome. After three days had passed, Plaintiff returned to the hospital. She claimed that she had been vomiting and experiencing headaches. A doctor diagnosed nystagmus: an involuntary eye twitch that typically develops during the wake of a concussion. Plaintiff was referred to a neurosurgeon.


After five additional days had passed, Plaintiff underwent an angiography. The procedure revealed three large aneurysms within her brain’s circle of Willis arterial network. The aneurysms were characterized as “cherry red” and “thin-walled,” and the diagnosing neurosurgeon opined that they did nor exhibit indications of degeneration or pre-existing calcification. As such, plaintiffs’ counsel argued that the aneurysm were recent developments and products of Plaintiff medical records indicative evidence of a traumatic, sheering injury of the brain.


The jury found that defendant was negligent in its maintenance of a signpost, and it further found that the town’s negligence was a substantial cause of Plaintiff stroke. The jury determined that Plaintiffs damages totaled $13.5 million. After addition of the stipulated medical expenses, Plaintiff recovery totaled $14.46 million.