The woman was riding her bike south on Broadway (also known as Union Square East) in New York City heading towards East 14th Street at approximately 4:00 p.m., on May 13, 2010. At the same time, a New York City Transit Authority bus was traveling southbound in the same direction as the plaintiff. As the plaintiff approached the intersection of East 14th Street she noticed the traffic light change from green to yellow and she began to slow down. She testified she was in the right lane riding her bicycle at approximately 5 mph when she was struck from behind by the bus. She was dragged into the intersection where the right rear wheels of the bus rolled over her legs.
The bus driver claimed that he was in the center or left lane at the time of the accident and that the plaintiff suddenly and unexpectedly rode her bicycle across two lanes of traffic from the right lane to the left lane and struck the right side of the bus. It was undisputed that the plaintiff ended up in the left-hand lane of this three lane roadway. Both the plaintiff and the defendant called their respective accident reconstruction experts to support their theory of the accident. The defendant also called a human factors expert to testify that the plaintiff was not keeping a reasonable and proper lookout as she approached the intersection and that the bus driver had multiple tasks on which to focus and that he was not at fault.
The plaintiff suffered a degloving injury to her right leg as well as fractures to the distal tibia and fibula of her left leg. The plaintiff’s entire claim was based on pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. No claims were made for past or future medical expenses or past or future lost earnings.
The defendant made no offer of settlement adamantly claiming that the evidence clearly demonstrated that the plaintiff was 100% at fault for the accident. Our skilled trial attorneys, Ben and Peter,as the result of meticulous preparation and well planned trial strategy were able to overcome a difficult liability case and obtain a substantial verdict in a highly contested trial.
The trial took 20 days. After two days of deliberation, the jury found the New York City Transit Authority 55% at fault and the plaintiff 45% at fault for the accident. The jury awarded the plaintiff, Pilar Ortiz, $8,570,000: $3,250,000 past pain and suffering and $5,320,000 future pain and suffering (40.9 years).