SKETCHES OF COURT: Jury finds plaintiff 75 percent responsible in car accident trial
In this courtroom sketch, Hon. David Vaughan listens as the plaintiff’s attorney, Milard King Roper (center), of the law firm Fortunato & Fortunato, makes his opening remarks to the jury in the motor vehicle accident trial Howard v. Parker. The summary jury trial took place this week in Kings County Civil Term.
Janet Howard was returning from her overnight hospital shift, driving her minivan down Strauss Street, at the time Antoine Parker was driving his wife Marjani in her SUV along Blake Avenue to her teaching position after dropping their daughter off at school. Their ill-fated convergence at the intersection resulted in Howard’s car flipped over onto its side.
The intersection was regulated by a stop sign on Strauss Street; there was none on Blake Avenue. The drivers testified that they did not see each other before the accident. The Parkers were represented by Daniel Sanchez (at right), of James G. Bilello & Associates. Sanchez alleged that the vehicles did not ‘T-bone’ but impacted corner-to-corner, by way of explaining the momentum that also propelled the Parkers’ car to land almost perpendicular to their lane of traffic.
Howard testified that her slow moving vehicle was struck on the passenger side seconds after she crept past the sign. She had to be extracted from the rear of her vehicle after the impact. She returned to work after three weeks and discontinued physical therapy after six months. She claimed significant and permanent injuries due to the accident by way of lateral and medial meniscal tears to her right knee and a torn rotator cuff in her shoulder, as well as cervical spine disc herniation and pain. Howard was 53 at the time.
In rendering its verdict, the jury found the plaintiff 75 percent responsible and the defendants 25 percent responsible for the accident, but failed to find that Howard’s injuries met the threshold for compensatory damages.
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