Articles Posted in Truck Accident Back Injury

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This case is being heard in the First Department of the Supreme Court, the Appellate Division. The defendant and appellant in the case is the City of New York. The plaintiff and respondent in the case is Frank A. Durso. The case is being heard before Carro J.P., Fein, Bloom, Silverman, and Kassal JJ.

Case Background
On the sixth of September, in 1975, Frank Durso was driving his car when he stopped at a red light. As he was stopped he was hit in the rear by a New York City Sanitation Department vehicle. The impact of the truck pushed the Frank’s vehicle 10 to 20 feet into the intersection and caused so much damage that the vehicle was totaled.

At the scene of the accident Frank refused immediate medical attention. He instead went to his doctor’s office which was located nearby. He complained of excruciating pain. His doctor prescribed aspirin and bed rest. By the following Monday, the 12th of September, the pain was still bad so Frank went to Dr. Gallo, an orthopedist who had treated him for a back sprain that occurred in 1970.

Frank complained of pain that rant from his spine down to his buttocks. Dr. Gallo ran several tests and they showed a back condition that was not present in the past when these same tests were conducted. Frank was diagnosed with a herniated disc. After receiving care from Dr. Gallo, Frank returned to work within 7 weeks of the accident. He was placed on light duty at work and Frank needed assistance regularly. The pain continued and Dr. Gallo indicated that he might need surgery.

Frank continued to see the doctor and saw a bit of improvement in 1976. In 1977 the pain increased and was worse than it ever had been. By September of 1977 he could barely lift his leg. An incident described as critical occurred in 1978.

The incident involved Frank and around ten fellow employees and occurred on the 23rd of January, 1978. They were pushing a mail truck when Frank sustained another injury to his back. He was bedridden until March and then admitted to the hospital. He was put in traction for three weeks. The plaintiff was in serious pain and surgery was required.

The question in this case is whether the herniated disc was caused by the accident or from his pre-existing condition.

Case Discussion and Decision
The City is appealing the award of $700,000 to the plaintiff and $300,000 to the wife of the plaintiff on the basis that the amount is excessive.

We agree that this amount is excessive after reviewing the facts of the case. While the accident may have caused the herniated disc, the plaintiff refused initial medical treatment after the accident. Additionally, he continued to work for the next two years. He volunteered to push the mail cart on the night the fourth accident causing injury to his back occurred. This could be deemed as negligence.

For these reasons the court is reversing the previous judgment and setting aside the verdict. A new trial will be conducted on the basis of damages only.
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On July 25, 1967, a sixteen year old girl was walking on the sidewalk near 315 Lenox Avenue, , New York City. A truck was travelling on Lenox Avenue, lost control and struck a parked car. It then jumped the curb and drove onto the sidewalk where it hit the girl causing her to be pushed under the porch of a house. This truck accidentcaused her serious injury. Her mother filed a lawsuit against the driver of the truck for loss of her daughter’s services and medical and hospital bills.

The Queens driver of the truck denied all allegations. He denied that it was his truck. He denied that he was driving the truck. He denied that he lived in New York. His allegations of complete noninvolvement were too false as to cause the court to comment on the impropriety of his denials. There is no reason to believe that he is not responsible for the accident.

When the driver of the truck commented on the truck accident, he advised that he was heading east on Lenox Avenue when his truck struck a parked vehicle, went out of control, and jumped the curb. He advised that two girls walking on the sidewalk tried to run up steps of a porch and his truck hit the girls and shoved the girls and the steps under the porch.

The court found that as a matter of law the girl and her friend were both free from any contributory negligence in the case of this accident. The court further comments that the only conclusions to be drawn from the truck driver’s own admissions was that “he did not maintain a proper lookout for vehicles parked on Lenox Avenue, did not have his pick-up truck under proper control and that after having struck the parked vehicle he fully lost control of the pick-up truck which then jumped the curb, crossed the sidewalk, and struck the steps of the porch and (the girls). As a matter of law it is determined (the truck driver) was negligent and his negligence was the proximate cause of the injury to (the girls.)(288 N.Y.S.2d761.

Therefore, the court rules that there are no triable issues of fact and that liability for this accident was clearly established as resting solely with the driver of the truck. The Court finds that the driver of the truck is liable for the accident and that the victims are entitled to recover whatever damages that a court trial may asses.
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A 20-year old Nassau teacher applied to the Long Island State Park Commission for a summer job. He worked as a laborer for the Commission at a warehouse in Jones Beach. One July day, the teacher was thrown off from a truckowned by the Commission after the axle of the truck broke. For the remainder of July and during the month of August that year, he did not work. For a six-week period, he was paid by the Workmen’s Compensation Board, which paid for his hospital bill and the bill of his doctor. The teacher returned to his regular employment at a high school on Labor Day.

The teacher filed a suit to recover damages for the personal injuries he sustained as a result of the Truck accident. The teacher also asserted negligence claims against the State of New York and the beach authority.

The teacher testified that during the period of slightly less than three weeks that he worked, he had ridden on the running board, in the back of and inside the power vehicles that were used for transportation. On occasion, he had seen three people riding in the cab. He testified further that, because of the size of his two co-workers, there was no room for him in the cab on the day of the accident, because if he had entered the cab the driver would have been unable to shift gears.

The State and the Authority moved for a dismissal of the claim on several grounds, including that the teacher was not able to show that the State and the Authority were negligent and to prove his own freedom from contributory negligence and that the Workmen’s Compensation is his sole and exclusive remedy since the teacher was a special employee of the Authority at the time of the accident and is bound by his choice of having accepted Workmen’s Compensation from his general employer.

An employee may have both a general and special employer. In this case, the teacher elected to proceed against the Suffolk Commission under the Workmen’s Compensation Law. He may not now bring an action at law against the Authority.

The court also pointed out that the teacher did not offer any evidence to show what caused the axle to break, or whether the State and the Authority knew of the condition of the axle or were aware that any unreasonable risk was involved. In his brief, however, the teacher states that he never claimed any negligence in the operation of the truck, but rather that he predicated his claim upon the fact that he was ordered by his superior to ride upon the running board of the truck and thus was not provided safe transportation.
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A 30-year old woman joined the New York Police Department in 1990, and served continuously until her retirement in 2010. In 2007, the policewoman, while assigned to the NYPD’s peddler unit, was unloading confiscated property from a truckto the NYPD’s property clerk in Queens. While lifting a box of property, the policewoman stepped back on to a shovel, which caused her to fall. The policewoman twisted her right knee and was admitted to the emergency room at a nearby hospital. The NYC hospital staff diagnosed her with a sprained knee. The knee was diagnosed to be permanently disabled, which restricted her desk duty.

The policewoman applied to the Police Pension Fund for Accident Disability Retirement but this was denied by a tie vote. Her counsel asserted that the only explanation for the shovel on the floor of the truck was someone else’s negligence; and that, accordingly, there was no reason for the policewoman to expect or foresee that the shovel would be left in a “dangerous location.”

The court held that in a challenge of a denial of disability payments, the PPF’s determination will be sustained unless it is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or contrary to law.” The court said it cannot “weigh the evidence, choose between conflicting proof, or substitute its assessment of the evidence or witness credibility for that of the administrative factfinder.”

ADR benefits are available when it is showed that the applicant is physically or mentally incapacitated from the performance of duty as a natural and proximate result of an “accidental injury” received in the line of duty, and that such disability was not the result of willful negligence on the part of the applicant. A denial of ADR due to a tie vote cannot be set aside “unless it can be determined as a matter of law on the record that the disability was the natural and proximate result of a service-related accident.” On the other hand, an injury caused by a trip where tripping is a foreseeable risk of the work being performed does not entitle the applicant to ADR.

In this case, the court held that it was neither irrational nor an error of law for the PPF to deny ADR on the grounds that the policewoman’s fall was not an accident. The policewoman was unloading merchandise from a truck that, according to the record, contains boxes and other objects, like shovels. Inherent in that work, then, is the stepping over or around objects. The risk of tripping while performing this work is foreseeable; therefore, the fall cannot be considered sudden, unexpected, and out of ordinary, and it cannot be said that the policewoman is entitled to ADR as a matter of law, the court held.
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On April 20, 1972 a taxi cab and a truck were both travelling on Second Avenue near 70th Street. The two vehicles collided and the taxi was pushed up onto the sidewalk where it hit a woman. The woman was severely injured and her leg had to be amputated. The jury in the initial trial awarded the woman $800,000 from the taxi company. No compensation was demanded of the truck company whose truck was at fault for the accident in question.

The Court stated that:

‘Whatever version of the accident is accepted in whole or in part, or in combination, the conclusion is inescapable that the truck driver failed to maintain that degree of control over his vehicle and that degree of alertness to conditions of traffic surrounding him, which it was his legal obligation to maintain under the conditions prevailing at the time and place of the accident.’

At the time of the original trial, however, there was a question of facts in the case as to how the accident had actually occurred. The Manhattan taxi driver had stated that he was driving down Second Avenue at about twenty miles per hour when he was struck in the back end by the truck. The force of the impact caused him to go up on the sidewalk and strike the Long Island pedestrian.

The truck driver stated that he was proceeding south on Second Avenue when the taxi driver attempted to cut in front of him from a lane of traffic to the left. He advised that he could not stop his truck in time and struck the taxi. A witness to the accident who was himself a taxi driver at the time of the original accident stated that he saw the taxi cut across in front of the truck. He stated that the taxi caused the original accident. The witness had, however, at different times written two statements about how the accident had occurred and both statements were different from his testimony on the stand.

The witness stated that in the first statement he had not seen the taxi cut in front of the truck but that the taxi was in front of the truck and for some reason the truck did not slow down and skidded into the rear of the cab. In the second statement, the witness stated that he observed the taxi in front of the truck straddling the first and second lanes and the cab was going very slowly. The truck was speeding trying to pass the cab and struck the cab in the rear pushing it up onto the sidewalk.

The attorney then went on to show that the witness had been paid for each of these statements by opposing counsels and that depending on who was paying him at the time, the witness’ statement reflected what they wanted to hear. The attorney for the truck driver then stated that he had refused to pay this witness for his testimony even though he had demanded payment from him just as he had from the others who had paid him for the statements that he had written. This strategy by the attorneys for the truck driver could only make the taxi defendants and the woman look like they had paid for testimony while exonerating the truck driver from guilt in the accident. The witness further stated on direct examination that he had provided the written statements which he admitted were false, because he was worried that the woman would not be able to get sufficient compensation from the insurance company for the taxi driver for her injuries. He stated that he had surmised that by writing these statements that he would be able to improve the woman’s chances of getting an appropriate compensation for her injuries in particular from the insurance company for the truck driver.
Since the trial judge in this case originally set aside the verdict, the Justices cite CPLR § 4404 which provides that after the rendition of a verdict, a judge can set aside a verdict if “. . . upon the motion of any party or on its own initiative, . . . may set aside a verdict . . . where the verdict is contrary to the weight of the evidence, in the interest of justice . . ..’ Such action should not be taken merely because the trial judge would have acted differently but ‘only where it seems palpably wrong and it can be plainly seen that the preponderance is so great that the jury could not have reached their conclusion upon any fair interpretation of the evidence.’ (Kimberly-Clark Corp. v. Power Authority, 35 A.D.2d 330, 316 N.Y.S.2d 68.)
Basically a trial judge is responsible to set aside a verdict if it is manifestly a miscarriage of justice and the jury acted mistakenly. The Justices stated that it may be the case that the truck driver has no liability under the ‘true’ facts of the case. The Justices felt that the jury was unable to determine what the ‘true’ facts of the case were, though based on all of the “extraneous and gratuitous” evidence that the jury was permitted to hear in the course of this case which could only alter the fact-finding process.

The Justices stated that they all agreed that the evidence that was actual in this case had it been credited by the jury was sufficient to eliminate any liability from the truck driver. There was only one dissenting comment from one justice. He stated that he felt that if a new trial was ordered that the same outcome could be expected because the jury would hear the same evidence. He suggested that a reverse to set aside the verdict would be appropriate and a stipulation that the compensation should not exceed $500,000 unless everyone stipulated to acceptance of this plan and then the verdict as modified would be sufficient.
The other Justices do not agree with the dissenting view. They affirm the judge’s decision to set aside the verdict.
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One afternoon, a 35-year old Brooklyn woman met a car accident. Her vehicle was struck in the rear by a truck. The truckwas not immediately identified because it hurriedly left the scene of the accident. According to sources, the woman suffered personal injuries as a result of that accident. To recover damages for the car and her injuries, the woman filed an action against the insurance company who provided insurance to her vehicle. Under the insurance policy, the insurance company agreed to pay for some injuries caused by an truck accident arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of a Supplementary Uninsured Automobile.

According to the police report, the Bronx truck that hit the woman’s car had a New York license plate. A DMV printout indicated the truck that hit the woman’s car was insured. The insurer of the truck, however, denied any liability and contended that the driver of the truck was not involved in the accident.

Arbitration on the case began. The insurer of the woman’s vehicle, however, sought to have arbitration permanently stayed alleging that the opposing side has failed to furnish sufficient evidence to support their allegation that the offending vehicle was uninsured at the date of the accident. The insurance company also alleged that it is not liable for the injuries suffered by the woman and the damages sustained by the car because the accident did not arise out of the ownership, maintenance or use of the car. The insurance company maintained that it does not have an obligation to pay under the insurance because the truck caused the accident and its resulting injuries and damages.

In this case, records showed that the insurer of the woman’s vehicle has not provided sufficient evidence to show that the “offending vehicle” was insured to justify a permanent stay of arbitration. The court said the arbitration cannot be stayed because there is an issue, based on the records in court, that the truck was involved in the accident, that the truck hit the woman’s vehicle, and a result the woman suffered from personal injuries.

The records showed that police report together with the DMV print out indicate that the truck was the hit and run vehicle and that it was insured. Yet, although it is admitted that the offending vehicle was insured, the insurance company denied the truck’s involvement in the accident and it has presented evidence that an inspection of the offending vehicle was conducted that showed he was not involved.

The court granted a temporary stay of the arbitration to first determine whether the truck was indeed involved in the accident. This question, the court said, must first be answered before any ruling on whether the insurance companies of both the offending vehicle and the woman’s vehicle are liable for the personal injuries sustained by the woman.
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Two people died after a truck overturned in the town of Stellenbosch. Four other passengers are in critical condition and were taken to the nearby hospital. The extent of their injuries is currently unknown. The driver of the truck, who was also taken to the hospital, has deep cuts on his face and body. Medical personnel responded quickly after the truck accidentwas reported. It is unclear how the accident occurred and if the truck driver is at fault. Local law enforcement will have to investigate further to learn more about the cause of this tragedy.

When medical personnel, including two medical doctors, EMS helicopter and a rescue vehicle arrived, they quickly assessed that two of the passengers were dead on the scene. The other four passengers had various injuries which required immediate medical attention. Injuries included severe head trauma and leg and arm fractures. The accident happened around 3pm on Adam Tas Road. A spokesperson for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) stated that those who survived the accident are receiving medical attention.

Luckily, medical personnel were able to reach the scene of the accident quickly to transport the injured people to the local hospital. Those with head trauma will have to be monitored to determine if permanent damage has been done. Those with fractures probably need to rest until their injuries heal completely. Physical therapy may also be needed depending on the severity of their injuries. The cuts on the driver may also take time to heal. He will have to be monitored so he does not develop an infection from the wounds.

It is unknown if charges will be filed against the driver of the truck for the death of two passengers and the injury of four others. It is also unknown if funeral arrangements have been made for two people that died. Law enforcement is still investigating and will need to gather more evidence before formally filing charges against anyone involved. If it is determined that the truck accident was not his fault, the driver may not face any charges. This would be the procedure in places like The Bronx and Brooklyn.
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A routine morning trip to school turned into a tragedy on Tuesday morning outside of Louisville, when a dump-truck driver collided with the back of a school bus on its morning route. Thirteen students from the Jefferson County Public School System, along with the driver of their bus, were injured and transported to local area hospitals for treatment, reported a source who is connected to the case. The bus was traveling north on Interstate 65, and the truck accident occurred in the vicinity of the Watterson Expressway.

Kosair Children’s Hospital received the injured children, all of whom were from 6 to 9 years old. Doctors at the hospital said that the students were suffering from minor back pain and mild neck injuries. While many of the students were taken directly to the hospital, others were taken on to school. Of the group that actually arrived at the school, many subsequently reported head and neck pain and were taken to the hospital as well. The Lawyer reporting on the case mentioned that these injuries are characteristic of a highway speed collision, and alluded to the fact that these types of truck accidents can frequently be more deadly.

Additional information about the accident was not available at the time of this article’s publication, pending the completion of the investigation. Police have not indicated whether the driver of the dump truck will be charged with a crime, although a witness said it was likely in a case like this that criminal charges could be filed. These accidents are uncommon in Staten Island and New York City.
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Police in Winnipeg continue to investigate an early morning incident that occurred on April 3, a New York Truck Accident Lawyer has found. The incident occurred at approximately 4:20 a.m. as a fire truck from Number 6 fire station responded to a call. As one vehicle pulled off to the side of the city street to allow the fire truck to pass, the fire truck driver noticed something in the road ahead and tried to stop, although unsuccessfully. When firefighters exited the truck to determine what “bump in the road” they had just ran over, they discovered the fire truck had just ran over a man who was lying in the middle of the road.
The 47-year old man was immediately transported to the local hospital where he was pronounced dead a few minutes later as a result of his injuries. Although the investigation is ongoing, authorities have told a NYC Truck Accident Lawyer they are still unsure as to why the man was lying in the middle of the roadway. They are awaiting for the autopsy to be completed and are hoping that will provide the answers they need, as there are many possible causes that he could have been lying in the road, including a medical emergency, intoxication, or could have simply fell as he crossed the street. Authorities still have many unanswered questions. The only thing they do know is that the man was still alive when the fire truck ran over him.
Although one neighbor who happened to be awake early that morning had reported a group of kids that scattered at some point, the primary witnesses to this accident are the firefighters and the driver of the vehicle they had just passed. This lack of available information is further hampering the investigation.
This is not the only fire truck accident that members of the same local firehouse have been involved. On October 10, 2003, a 72-year old woman was killed after she ran a stop sign and pulled in front of a fire truck. On September 14, 2008, a 21-year old woman was killed after the pickup truck she was a passenger in ran a stop sign, and was struck by a fire truck.
No further comments would be made on this accident pending the results of the ongoing investigation. When a fatal truck accident or a truck accident resulting in serious injury like back injury is reported in Westchester and The Bronx, NY, it won’t be long before a local lawyer is on the scene. He knows the law in that part of the world.
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