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N.Y. Ferry Crash Survivor Gets $5M Settlement for Severe Injuries

A 43-year-old New Jersey man recently received a $5 million settlement in connection with a 2013 ferry crash in lower Manhattan in New York City that left him severely injured.

John Urbanowicz suffered a skull fracture and brain injuries and underwent multiple surgeries to treat his devastating injuries after the ferry crash, according to a Nov. 20 story by The Associated Press.

“More than 80 people were injured on Jan. 9, 2013 when the Wall Street-bound Seastreak crashed into a dock near the South Street Seaport, sending people tumbling down stairs and into walls,” the story reported.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/twilightproductions

Several other settlements were also made for other ferry passengers affected by the crash, including a $560,000 settlement for Samantha Bremekamp, who suffered back and brain injuries and had spine fusion surgery, and Richard Diver, who will receive $325,000 for a concussion and back injuries that required spine fusion surgery, the story reported.

The settlements were reached with Seastreak LLC, which owns the ferry. About a dozen plaintiffs still have claims pending against Seastreak, while many other claims involving less serious injuries were settled for amounts less than $100,000, the story continued.

“A report released by the National Transportation Safety Board in April faulted ferry captain Jason Reimer for leaving the vessel running on a rarely used backup system that left him unable to control it as it approached the pier,” according to the AP. “The report also faulted Seastreak for ‘ineffective oversight’ and said Reimer was hampered by a lack of training and familiarity with the backup system.”

The captain had “switched to the system after sensing a vibration in a propeller just north of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, about halfway in the commuter ferry’s midmorning run from Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, to lower Manhattan, investigators concluded,” the story reported. “In backup mode, the propellers remain angled forward, causing the ferry to increase speed instead of slowing down,” which was a factor that contributed to the severity of the crash.

Personal injury cases like this one occur every day when innocent victims are seriously injured or killed in a wide variety of incidents through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in an incident or vehicle accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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$400,000 Settlement to Woman Who Fell From Backyard Deck

As she relaxed on the backyard deck of her rental home on in Rossville, N.Y., on July 21, 2011, Lorraine Gallo leaned on the deck’s railing and was severely injured when the railing broke and she fell to the ground below.

Gallo, now 55, suffered neck, back and knee injuries from the fall, which occurred at home she rented on Barry Street in Rossville, according to an Oct. 28 story in the Staten Island Advance newspaper.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

Gallo’s lawsuit against her landlords, Z & F Realty Estate LLC and David Fogel, alleged that the property owners were liable for her injuries because they allowed an unsafe condition to exist, the story reported.

Prior to Gallo’s fall from the deck that summer, the property owners “had the railing installed and later repaired at some point before the episode,” the paper reported.

Gallo’s serious neck injuries from the deck fall required fusion surgery, according to court papers reviewed by the newspaper.

Personal injury cases like this one occur every day when innocent victims are hurt or killed in a wide variety of incidents through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in an incident or vehicle accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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$9.9 Million Verdict Against Mazda in Fiery, Deadly Car Crash

Mazda Motor Corp. has been ordered by an Alabama jury to pay a total of $9.9 million to a young woman who survived a fiery November 2010 car crash and to the family of her 15-year-old passenger who was killed after being trapped in the burning wreckage.

Following a three-week trial, the jury awarded $6 million to Sydney McLemore, who survived the crash but suffered serious burns over 15 percent of her body, and $3.9 million to the parents of Natalie Hurst, who died due to the resulting fire, according to an Oct. 20 report in The Birmingham News. The crash occurred on the Ross Bridge Parkway in Birmingham, Ala., when the 2008 Mazda 3 automobile that McLemore was driving struck a power pole at 3:24 a.m. McLemore was 16 years old at the time of the crash, according to newspaper reports.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/Svenler

The lawsuit alleged the vehicle was defectively designed with the fuel tank placed next to a hard metal muffler with a sharp edge and no protective shielding, which caused the fuel tank to rupture when it was struck by the muffler during the crash, the story reported. The impact allowed fuel to be ignited by the hot muffler and exhaust system.  The complaint alleged Mazda should have been aware the design would lead to the likelihood of such a fire and that it “posed an unreasonable risk to vehicle occupants,” the story continued.

Mazda denied the allegations and said that its vehicle “met and exceeded all government standards” for safety, the story reported. “This accident represents the only claim, lawsuit or consumer complaint that has been made regarding a 2004 – 2009 Mazda3 alleging that a post-collision fuel fed fire resulted from any defect with that vehicle.  Mazda is currently considering all possible grounds for appeal,” the company said in a statement to the newspaper.

The lawsuit was tried under the state’s product liability law, called the Extended Manufacturer’s Liability Doctrine, The Birmingham News reported. The plaintiffs argued that the car was built to specifications, but that the design was defective, the paper reported.

“Originally Mazda claimed that there had never been a post collision fire involving a Mazda 3, but attorneys were able to show through government databases that there were nine post collision fuel fire fatalities,” an attorney in the case told the paper.

These kinds of injury cases occur every day when innocent victims are severely hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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$3.8 Million Settlement to Severely Injured Lehigh County Man

A 27-year-old Lehigh County man will receive a $3.8 million settlement to compensate him for severe injuries he received when two tractor-trailers smashed into his SUV on a Pennsylvania Interstate highway in July 2010.

Kyle Kelly, who was 23 at the time of the crash, was driving home from work in his SUV early on July 30, 2010 in the southbound lanes of Interstate 380 in Coolbaugh Township when his SUV was struck head-on by a northbound tractor-trailer that crossed the grass median, according to an Oct. 29 story in The (Allentown) Morning Call.

After that impact, Kelly’s SUV sat disabled in the right southbound lane of the highway, where it was then struck by a second tractor-trailer, according to the story.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

Kelly, an auto mechanic, suffered “devastating injuries” from the impacts, including two fractured eye sockets, a fractured jaw and palette, traumatic brain injuries, a broken leg and a broken foot, the story stated. The injuries, which are expected to have lifelong impacts on the victim, have so far required 16 surgeries and a long rehabilitation. In addition, Kelly suffers from crash-related cognitive impairment, has difficulty walking and is likely to suffer arthritis as he ages, the story reported.

The $3.8 million settlement will be paid by the companies that own the two trucks that smashed into his SUV. The first tractor-trailer was being driven by Isabel Lopez, who drove the vehicle for Proud-2-Haul Inc. of Kearny, N.J, while the second truck was operated by John Charles Bonyea, who drove his vehicle for Leonard’s Transportation of Farmington, N.Y., the story reported.

Kelly’s lawsuit alleged that both truck drivers were negligent for failing to safely operate their trucks, that they and their companies violated federal motor carrier safety regulations and that they failed to keep accurate driver logs, the story reported. The lawsuit also alleged that the defendants failed to properly maintain their vehicles.

The crash involving Kelly then set off a chain reaction pile-up that killed a married Bucks County couple, John and Christine Inscho, both 58, of Nockamixon Township, who died  when a third tractor-trailer rear-ended their sport utility vehicle as it stopped for the original crash that involved Kelly, the paper reported.

Lopez, the driver of the first tractor-trailer that struck Kelly’s SUV, told state police that he took his eyes off the road to search for an apple that he had dropped in his truck’s cab, the story reported.

The case was settled by the two trucking companies before a Nov. 17 trial ever got under way in Lackawanna County Court.

These kinds of injury cases occur every day when innocent victims are severely hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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$12.5 Million Jury Verdict against Toyota in Lap Belt Case

Toyota Motor Corp. must pay a $12.5 million verdict in California after a jury ruled that a victim in an SUV crash was severely injured due to a poorly designed lap belt in the center rear seat of a 1996 Toyota 4Runner.

The victim, Chelsie Hill, who was 17 years old at the time of the 2010 crash in southern California, was a passenger in the center rear seat of the 4Runner when the SUV smashed into a tree, according to an Oct. 21 story in The Los Angeles Times.  The seat where Hill was sitting was the only one of five positions in the vehicle that had no shoulder belt as well as a lap belt.

Following the trial, the Monterey County Superior Court jury found that “the design of the middle seat belt in the rear row of a Toyota 4Runner was responsible for injuries that made her a paraplegic,” the paper reported. “Hill’s body was almost cut in half by the lap belt when the Toyota’s driver lost control and hit a tree.”

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/creatingmore

A neurosurgeon who treated Hill after she was brought in to a hospital testified that her injuries were so bad that her body “was held together by skin” and that he thought she would die in the emergency room, the story reported.

Toyota argued in court that the victim was injured in the crash because of the severity of the impact and because she was not wearing the belt properly, rather than her injuries being due to a flawed belt design, the paper reported.

The driver of the 4Runner and three other passengers suffered only minor injuries in the crash, the Times reported. The driver and two passengers were using their shoulder and lap belts, while the remaining passenger was not wearing a seat belt or shoulder belt. The driver was later convicted of DUI and spent three years in prison, the paper reported.

Hill’s attorney argued that had the 4Runner been equipped with a center rear seat shoulder belt, she would have not suffered her severe injuries, the paper reported. “Toyota had the technology, and chose not to use it, putting the least safe and least expensive restraint system in that seat,” the attorney said.

Starting in 2005, new federal safety regulations required rear center seat lap-shoulder belts in all new vehicles, according to the report.

Eventually, Hill, a former high school dancer, became a television reality show star when she later joined the cast of the Sundance Channel reality television series “Push Girls,” about the lives of young paralyzed women, the story reported.

These kinds of injury cases occur every day when innocent victims are hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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$950,000 Settlement for Calif. Man Injured When Truck Hits His SUV

A 30-year-old California man has received a $950,000 settlement from the City of San Diego, Calif., after a city water department driver drove his truck into the victim’s SUV in June 2012.

The settlement award to James Heath was approved by San Diego City Council members on Oct. 7, five months after the victim was awarded a $1.3 million jury verdict in the case, according to a story in the San Diego Union-Tribune. The city then appealed the verdict and decided to seek a new trial, but recently reversed course and chose to settle the case, the story reported.

Heath suffered long-term neck and arm injuries in the crash, which occurred when a city truck driven by water department employee John Romero crashed into Heath’s SUV on Jackson Drive near Mission Gorge Road in San Carlos, the paper reported. The original jury had awarded Heath $1.3 million for pain, suffering and previous and future medical expenses.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/alexskopje

Romero’s city water truck had drifted from one lane of the roadway and into Heath’s lane, according to the victim.

Under the settlement, the city will pay Heath $97,000 immediately and then fund an annuity that will give him about $1,300 a month through late 2025, according to the story. The victim will also receive $20,000 per year from 2027 through 2030. The payout also includes $153,000 in attorney’s fees and payments to several doctors who have examined and treated Heath, the story reported.

Heath’s long-term injuries forced him to leave his work with the Navy, the report stated.

These kinds of injury cases occur every day when innocent victims are hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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