Verdicts and Settlements:
Nearly $1,000,000 Settlement For Client En Route To A Casino That Turned Out To Be A Bad Bet
Mr. Sitinas recently settled a case on behalf of a 54 year old passenger in a vehicle driven by his best friend. Another good friend of theirs was asleep in the back seat as the three of them were driving north on the Connecticut Turnpike (I-95).
Just after crossing into Connecticut from New York, the driver noticed his car was low on fuel. Knowing he did not have enough fuel to make it to Foxwoods Casino, the driver pulled into the right lane of this three-lane highway. He did so knowing there was a service area not far ahead on the highway.
At the same time, a box truck weighing several thousand pounds pulled up alongside their vehicle in the middle lane. When the front of the truck was parallel to the driver’s door of the much smaller sedan, the truck driver inexplicably cut into the right lane, striking the mid-section of the sedan and spinning it around, such that the entire driver’s side of the sedan was perpendicular to the front of the truck. Essentially, the truck was pushing the sedan up I-95 with the side of the car pasted to the front of the truck. The driver testified that as he looked out his side window, all he could see was the truck’s front grill against his window. At that point, the occupants of the vehicle feared for their lives. Worse yet, the truck’s driver had no idea he had just struck the sedan or that he was pushing the vehicle perpendicularly up the highway. He did, however, hear the impact and during his deposition testimony, he stated that upon hearing the impact, he believed his truck had suffered a tire blow-out, particularly because of the way his steering felt and because he could sense the truck was driving erratically. He blamed a blind-spot for not seeing the sedan, either before impact or while he was pushing the vehicle up the highway. This horrific situation continued for nearly a mile. The driver of the truck then attempted to pull off the highway and onto the right shoulder, however, there were concrete barriers set up and the truck actually ended up pushing our client’s vehicle up and onto the top of the concrete barriers. As a result of the impact with the barrier, the front passenger door was ejected open and our client’s foot actually came out of the car’s cabin only to be partially crushed when the door slammed closed on his foot.
With the car perilously perched on top of the concrete barrier, the occupants exited the vehicle and awaited Emergency Medical personnel.
As a result of this accident, our client suffered crush injuries to his right foot, a trabecular fracture in his medial malleolus, partial tears of the ligaments in his ankle, requiring arthroscopic surgery. He also developed pain in his back from months of using a cane and having an antalgic gait. When physical therapy did not cure his pain, he ultimately underwent a series of steroid injections for his lower back. When those failed, he finally made the difficult decision of undergoing a Transforaminal Lumbar Fusion Surgery at L5-S1.
Mr. Sitinas made a motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability, which the court granted. This meant that the driver was found negligent as a matter of law and the case would proceed to trial solely on the issue of damages. Faced with the possibility of a jury awarding substantial damages at trial, the defendants asked Mr. Sitinas to attempt settlement of the matter via mediation.
Mr. Sitinas attended a mediation with one of New York’s most respected mediators, Mr. Kenneth Grundstein, and the case settled for nearly $1,000,000 (The actual settlement amount cannot be disclosed as it is part of a confidentiality agreement).