In January 2019, a New York State Judge gave final approval to a $25 million settlement between Nassau County and a woman who was left with a traumatic brain injury after a motor vehicle accident. The accident occurred on September 8, 2007, at the T-shaped intersection of Oceanside Road and Erwin Place, when a drunken driver smashed into the woman’s vehicle. Because of her injuries, the woman is now unable to speak and is forced to use a wheelchair.
The drunken driver was criminally charged, however, he only had a $25,000 insurance policy. Therefore, after the initial trial, the woman was only able to recover the $25,000 policy. In attempting to recover more adequate compensation, the attorneys took a second look at the intersection where the accident occurred. After further review, the attorneys brought a claim against the County of Nassau arguing that the sight distance at the intersection was diminished by hedges and signage, as well as a metal box that was installed at the intersection for holding equipment for traffic lights.
In essence, the attorneys argued that the intersection was unsafe, and set the stage for the accident to occur. During the discovery process, the attorneys discovered that there had been numerous complaints to the Nassau County Department of Public Works concerning the intersection. That evidence was enough to get a jury to find against the County. The jury found Nassau County to be 86 percent at fault and the drunken driver to be the remaining 14 percent at fault.
Before the damages trial was set to commence, the County entered into settlement talks with the plaintiffs. The $25 million settlement was then accepted, approved by the Nassau County Legislature, and then finally approved by Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Denise Sher.
The new settlement became one of three recent multi-million dollar payments by Nassau County in the last year. In 2018, a jury awarded $19 million to a motorcyclist who had his leg amputated following a motor vehicle accident at an intersection which he argued should have had a traffic light instead of a stop sign. Also last year, the county reached a $45 million settlement with two men who were wrongly convicted of a 1984 rape and murder and were later exonerated. In all, the new settlement adds to the millions of dollars Nassau County pays out each year in legal claims.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to contact an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer who can advise you of your legal rights and remedies. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC assist clients in collecting the damages they need to cope with being involved in a traffic accident on the road. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New York auto accident lawyers, call (888) LAW-8088 or fill out our contact form.