Verdicts and Settlements:
$2,235,000 Settlement For Construction Worker Who Was Run Over By Truck At Worksite
Stavros Sitinas obtained a $2,235,000 settlement in favor of a 61 year-old construction worker who was injured at a job site at the Whitestone Bridge. The client, a land-surveyor, was run over by a truck that had just delivered building materials to a staging area under the bridge.
The plaintiff was kneeling down while setting up his surveying equipment when the truck pulled out of the staging area. Ordinarily, there would be spotters guiding the truck out of this loading area, however, because of record-low temperatures that day, the plaintiff believes that the spotters chose the warm cabin of the truck over standing outside to guide the driver.
The driver made several allegations in an attempt to blame the injured plaintiff for this accident, rather than accept the blame himself. First, he claimed that plaintiff failed to set up any barricades between himself and the traffic areas where trucks and other vehicles would pass. This was completely contradicted by plaintiff’s own testimony and by photographs of the scene which showed construction barrels near the plaintiff. The driver also claimed that our client was at fault for not having another person nearby to warn him of oncoming traffic. This was clearly preposterous as the driver’s own laborers would have seen the plaintiff had they simply been outside the truck guiding the vehicle rather than inside the truck keeping warm.
Moreover, the laborers each admitted to seeing the plaintiff both when entering the staging area and when pulling out of the area. They assumed the driver saw him too, but clearly he did not. As a result, the front right side of the truck’s bumper knocked the plaintiff over while the front tire of the truck ran over the plaintiff’s left leg.
The plaintiff suffered a fractured fibula and tibula of his leg. He was confined to the hospital for (8) days where intramedullary rodding and nailing surgery was performed. He was then transferred to an in-patient rehabilitation facility.
He continued to have pain in his knee as well as his ankle. He eventually underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and when that procedure failed to bring him enough relief, he ultimately had a total knee replacement.
The defendants argued that the need for a total knee replacement was due more so to pre-existing arthritis rather than the trauma to his leg. Plaintiff’s doctors very effectively disputed this by showing that plaintiff’s no-affected knee had very little arthritis and one would expect that both knees would be equally arthritic.
As a result of these injuries, the plaintiff was unable to return to work. He was found totally disabled by the Social Security Administration and plaintiff’s expert economist projected that plaintiff incurred economic damages totaling $958,000 between lost wages and benefits.
Ultimately, the defendants suggested that the parties attend a mediation in an effort to settle the matter. Plaintiff agreed to attend the meditation but he and Mr. Sitinas walked out when it became very clear that the defendants were not serious about settling this matter for a reasonable sum. Remarkably, this case would go back to mediation (2) more times before Mr. Sitinas and his client were satisfied with the final settlement offer of $2,235,000.
Equally impressive is the fact that Mr. Sitinas was able to secure this settlement in approximately two and one-half years after the accident – when the typical time for such cases often exceeds four (4) years. This was simply the result of tenacious lawyering that resulted in a fair and just settlement.