Brooklyn Boro

SKETCHES OF COURT: Plaintiff awarded $360K in car accident trial

April 7, 2016 By Alba Acevedo Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo

In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Richard Velasquez listens as Y. David Taller (standing), trial counsel to the law office of Alan Levin, conducts a direct examination of the plaintiff in the motor vehicle accident trial Earzel Riddick v. Hugo Sutherland. At issue in the summary jury trial was the determination of damages. 

Riddick was a front seat passenger in a car that had slowed for an ambulance at an intersection in Crown Heights. The car was then rear-ended by Sutherland’s car. Defendant’s liability was decided by summary judgment.

Riddick’s vehicle lurched forward about a car’s length, he testified, adding that he was wearing a seatbelt and hit the dashboard in a heavy impact. Emergency services were summoned to the Oct. 28, 2012 collision, but Riddick refused medical attention. He cited worry about an imminent storm and close proximity to his home as his reason. 

Riddick reported the next day, with worsened pain, to a frenzied hospital emergency room and staff in the midst of its Superstorm Sandy response. He was sent home with pain medication and had not undergone X-rays. He cited various delays in follow-up treatment for injuries that, he alleges, eventually necessitated three surgeries. Taller claimed that his client suffers significant limitations directly related to the accident. 

Sutherland was represented by James Hurley (at right), of the law firm James G. Bilello and Assocs. Hurley disputed any serious injury due to the collision, including Taller’s contention that the force of the impact was responsible for damaging hardware in Riddick’s previously fractured forearm. Hurley’s position was that Riddick’s condition was degenerative and not due to trauma. He noted that the collision did not prevent the vehicle from being driven away, and he cited Riddick’s delays in pursuing treatment.

The jury awarded Riddick, who has a life expectancy of 31 additional years, $260,000 for future and $100,000 for past pain and suffering, in the trial that concluded last week in King’s County Civil Term.   

 

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