On November 16, 2018 John Komar secured a defense verdict before the Hon. Richard J. Montelione, A.J.S.C. in Civil Court, Kings County, in the case of Hinds v Ali.
Plaintiff was behind the wheel of 2002 Ford Explorer stopped at a red light on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn when his vehicle was struck in the rear by our client’s 2008 Lincoln Town Car. Following jury selection John decided to concede liability and proceed directly to a trial on damages.
Plaintiff, a 59 year old U.S. Postal employee was treated at the scene by EMS, then treated and released at Brookdale Hospital. He followed with a physiatrist and orthopedist. Both doctors claimed that the accident caused plaintiff herniated discs in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spines, along with a torn labrum in the right shoulder, a torn meniscus in the right knee, and carpal tunnel syndrome in the right wrist. He was out of work on accumulated sick time for four months immediately after the accident.
Through the use of court records and transcripts obtained by our trial team John was able to show, on cross-examination of the plaintiff, that while he admitted to one other prior accident the plaintiff had in fact been involved in five (5) other prior motor vehicle accidents, all resulting in knee, shoulder, neck and back claims. During John’s cross-examination of plaintiff’s physicians it became clear that neither was aware of plaintiff’s many prior accidents, or that the Brookdale ER record showed little more than a “sprained neck”.
On defense John called our client--the defendant driver. He testified through an Arabic interpreter that the contact between vehicles was medium, and the physical damage was superficial. His airbag never deployed, and he drove his vehicle away from the scene. John then called a biomechanical engineer who testified that the accident closing speed (the speed of one vehicle hitting the other at the exact moment of contact) was only 5 mph, which effectively resulted in very minimal physical forces being imposed upon the plaintiff’s joints and spine.
On the medicine, John called a radiologist who reviewed plaintiff’s cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine MRIs, along with studies of the right knee--all taken within weeks of the accident. This expert reviewed projected digital copies of the studies in front of the jury to explain her findings of longstanding degenerative disc and joint conditions, all consistent with plaintiff’s age, work history, and history of multiple prior accidents.
During summations plaintiff’s counsel asked the jurors for $300,000. John stressed the minimal nature of the subject collision and the lack of any causally related injuries. After deliberating for about an hour the jury returned a verdict finding that plaintiff was not seriously injured as a result of the accident, and thus was not entitled to any dollar award for non-economic damages, i.e., pain and suffering.