SKETCHES OF COURT: In car accident case, teenager’s life expectancy set at 53 years
In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Wayne Saitta resolves issues of law for opposing attorneys in an off-the-record moment outside the presence of the jury in the trial of Daniel Vega v. Caidi Zhong-Peng. Manual Romero (left), sole practitioner, represents the plaintiff, and Glenn R. Schwartz (right), of the law firm James G. Bilello & Associates, represents the defendant in the summary jury motor vehicle case.
The September 2012 incident occurred when the plaintiff, then 18 years old, was struck by the defendant’s vehicle while riding his bicycle along 86th Street and approaching the intersection of 16th Avenue in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. The plaintiff testified that earlier he was performing bike tricks such as bar spins and tail whips. He also testified he was not wearing protective garb.
The defendant testified he was driving at about 25 mph but only had time to act to honk the horn and slam on the brakes before striking the bicyclist and skidding to a stop.
The road conditions were misty, wet, slippery and dark at the time of the accident which was at approximately 1 a.m. The plaintiff was removed from the scene by stretcher and was bleeding from his face and knees. He suffered a condyle fracture to his left knee as well as a torn meniscus for which he had surgery. He also had a torn ligament and claimed neck and back problems.
Both sides disputed the length of elapsed time between sighting the cyclist and the collision as well as the length of the skid. The plaintiff’s attorney alleged the defendant was driving irresponsibly and should have been able to avoid the accident, and the defendant’s attorney cited the police report’s mention of the plaintiff riding through a red light as implicating his negligence.
The life expectancy of the plaintiff is 53 years, and the jury deliberated five hours before finding the defendant 60 percent at fault, awarding a total verdict of $15,000 for past and future pain and suffering. The trial took place this week in King’s County Civil Term.
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