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$10 million agreed for fatal accident on brink of jury verdict

The after-effects of a severe head injury may take days or weeks to manifest themselves fully enough for the victim and his or her family to see that something serious has occurred. That is essentially what took place in a fatal accident in New York on Dec. 28, 2011 when a man was rear-ended by a truck owned by a bottling company. The victim did not apparently notice serious symptoms immediately after the collision, which is fairly common in car accident injuries where the immediate shock and excess adrenaline cause a person to feel numb to the pain and other symptoms that may be temporarily masked.

The defendant had been healthy prior to the accident and was able to walk away from the scene despite having hit his head and suffering severe internal head trauma. The 46-year-old victim, however, was experiencing a stiff neck, regular headaches and odd behavior after the accident. Within two days, he agreed to go to the hospital but became paralyzed on his left side by the time he and his family arrived.

He died within about one week when he was moved to another hospital for therapy. Tests revealed internal brain bleeding and brain damage that caused the paralysis. His family filed a lawsuit for wrongful death damages, but the bottling company asserted that the man had a stroke that was unrelated to the accident. The company took the position that it would not pay.

The defendant persisted in defying the claim even after a 2015 court ruling saying that there was sufficient evidence for a causal connection between the fatal accident and the brain injury. The case finally made it to trial in the New York Supreme Court in February. During the trial, the lawyers hammered out a settlement in excess of $10 million. Despite overwhelming evidence that the accident caused a severe head injury that resulted in death, the defendant company had to be taken to the brink of a jury's decision before it would agree to settle.

Source: New York Daily News, "Family of Queens dad who died after accident gets $10M", Christina Carrega-Woodby, Feb. 15, 2016

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