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Associate, Edward A. Averbuch took a verdict in Supreme Court, New York County in late August 2019 Automobile Accident Case

Associate, Edward A. Averbuch took a verdict in Supreme Court, New York County in late August 2019 in a case where Leav & Steinberg represented plaintiff, a 43 year old male, who suffered injuries in an automobile accident that took place in early 2014.

It was plaintiff’s position at trial that his injuries raised to the level of “serious injuries”, as that term is defined by the Insurance Law, because he suffered tears to the tendons of the shoulder, including the rotator cuff, as well as derangement and impingement syndromes to the shoulder–all of which required surgical intervention to repair in August 2015. The surgeon opined as to the following intra operative findings: detached tear of the labrum, grade I chondromalacia of the central portion of the glenoid and partial thickness tearing of the rotator cuff on the bursal side of the joint. In addition, plaintiff also sustained a herniated disc in the lumbar spine and two herniated discs in the thoracic spine. The injuries to the spine were withdrawn prior to trial as plaintiff suffered similar injuries in a prior accident.

The trial commenced on the issue of damages only. Earlier in the litigation, plaintiff filed a motion seeking summary judgment on the issue of liability, which was granted as against the defendant in October 2018.

The defense presented three expert witnesses, including the emergency room physician, defendant’s hired orthopedic doctor and defendant’s hired radiologist, all to dispute the findings of plaintiff’s treating doctors, as well as the intra-operative findings during the shoulder surgery. The defense focused on the fact that there was a two month gap in treatment from the time plaintiff sought treatment in the emergency room until the next follow up evaluation by a doctor.

There were some questionable rulings in the trial, including allowing the defendant’s hired radiologist to give testimony about the operative report–something clearly outside of his expertise.

At the conclusion of trial, and after deliberations, the jury rendered a verdict of $1,050,000 {break down, $350,000 for past pain and suffering, $700,000 for future pain and suffering}. The last offer made by the insurance company before the verdict was $50,000. A fantastic result. The coverage for the defendant’s vehicle had an insurance policy of $100,000–which was the ultimate amount recoverable.