Our 60-year-old client, was a pedestrian who was struck by the defendant bus driver as he was turning left from the opposite direction, striking her as she was walking in the crosswalk.
Our client sustained a skull fracture that required a craniotomy and the removal of a section of skull for six months to accommodate brain swelling. Our client sustained permanent and very significant injuries to the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes that left her with extensive memory and concentration difficulties, as well as deficits in the area of executive functioning.
The defendant contended that he was turning left on a green arrow and that our client was crossing on a red light. There were no eyewitnesses other than the parties our client could not recall the accident. Baratta, Russell & Baratta (BRB) argued that irrespective of this issue, the accident would not have occurred if the defendant, turning left from the opposite direction, had made proper observations.
The evidence disclosed that although no one actually saw the collision, several witnesses in the immediate vicinity heard it, turned and immediately ran over to the scene. The witnesses indicated that they observed the color of the lights change as they reached the scene.
BRB’s accident reconstruction expert would have contended that based upon evidence, including this testimony and evidence that the bus was traveling at approximately 15 mph when turning, the sequence was such that it was doubtful that the defendant had a green left turn arrow.
Our client suffered a skull fracture and a subdural hematoma. She required a craniotomy and a relatively small portion of the right side of the skull, above the ear and below the mid line, was removed to accommodate brain swelling.
Our client was required to wear a helmet for approximately six months until the portion of the skull was replaced. Our client was left with severe cognitive deficits involving memory, concentration and executive functioning.
Our client contended that she has difficulties remembering ingredients she used for cooking BRB also contended that the family is afraid to leave our client alone because of potential dangerous consequences, including her forgetting to turn the stove off.
The defendant denied that our client suffered ongoing complaints from the incident. The defendant maintained that any continuing difficulties stemmed from Parkinson’s disease that was diagnosed approximately two years earlier.
Our client’s rehabilitation physician related that the Parkinson’s disease affected different areas of the brains, such as the cerebellum and that our client’s difficulties revolved around some motor deficits and mild tremors that were controlled by medications and that the deficits caused by the skull fractures were separate and distinct.
The physician also maintained that the Parkinson’s disease continues to be mild. Our client was working as a house cleaner and she would have made approximately $150,000 in income claims.
Result: The case settled prior to trial for $1,775,000.
Attorney: Anthony J. Baratta of Baratta, Russell & Baratta