P.I. Pulse: an Award, a Lawsuit, and another Collapse


In this blog, we’re going to outline for you the basic information behind a few recent stories in the world of personal injury law. The first story revolves around an Iraq war veteran receiving a jury award of millions of dollars following a hit-and-run that left him severely disabled. The second story has to do with a family that is preparing a lawsuit to file against the City of New York following the death of their child. Finally, the third lawsuit has to do with a structural collapse – no, not the bridge that collapsed in Washington in May, and not the building that collapsed in Philadelphia in June; this is another collapse, and this one took place down here in Miami.

Let’s start with the award. While it’s hard to find anything to rejoice about in the case of a man who was the victim of a hit-and-run, the serving of justice always gives us something to point to in an effort to find a silver lining. In 2008, an Iraq war veteran, after surviving one of the costliest wars in American history, was hit by a car while on his motorcycle while in Florida. The veteran was tossed from his motorcycle and his head hit the pavement with such force that he has suffered brain damage, which will plague him for his entire life. Due to his sustained injuries and the fact that his attorney was able to attribute fault to the defendant in the case, the veteran won a $26 million jury verdict. However, the jury also found the veteran to be 50% liable for his injuries because he wasn’t wearing a helmet, so the award will be cut in half – meaning that the veteran can still expect $13 million assuming the verdict is upheld if appealed. Two lessons can be gleaned from this story:  first, wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is incredibly important, and second, justice can prevail; even when you are suffering, the law has the ability to give you a chance at fairness and, perhaps, an improved situation.

Next, we move up the east coast to Manhattan, where a family is preparing to file a lawsuit against the City of New York filing the death of their 4-year-old. In early June of this year, Ariel Russo and her grandmother were struck by an unlicensed driver near the corner of 97th Street and Amsterdam Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Both of the victims sustained injuries, though the grandmother survived – her granddaughter, Ariel Russo, however, was not so fortunate. The family, in a suit to be filed, is claiming that her death is – at least partially – attributable to the fact that she remained without help for too long a period of time. According to records, it took nearly 4 minutes for an ambulance to reach the scene of the accident following the initial 911 call. According to the Russo family, those 4 minutes were critical and they could have spelled the difference between life and death for Ariel Russo. The family is thus suing for $40 million – $20 million for the death of the young girl and $20 million for the injuries sustained by her grandmother.  The lawsuit is expected to name, as defendants, the NYPD, the FDNY, the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and the owners of the vehicle involved in the crash. We will certainly keep you abreast of any developments with this case.

Finally, we head right back down the eastern seaboard to Miami, where a deck collapsed on the night of June 13th at a popular sports bar, as patrons watched Game 4 of the NBA Finals which showed their hometown Miami Heat playing the San Antonio Spurs. The deck plunged into the Biscayne Bay, resulting in injury to over thirty people; two-dozen of the injured were taken to local hospitals. At this point, the investigation is still in its early stages, but we might expect lawsuits to be filed against the owners of the deck if it can be proven that their deck did not meet particular safety standards – there was clearly negligence in the mix, whether it was in the construction or maintenance of the facility. We will let you know of any developments in this case.

For questions on these or any other legal issues, please reach out to us at 561-266-9191 or email us at daronberg@build.simple.biz.

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