$1,824,000 Settlement From Head-On Collision Involving 2 Cars, Then a Bus
John represented two women, both 23, who were passengers in a car driven by a drunk driver. The drunk driver drove over the double-yellow center line on Route 9 in Phillipstown, New York (Putnam County) and collided with another vehicle. The two cars spun around and came to rest, lying nose-to-nose across the road. About 10 seconds later, the defendant’s bus collided with the car in which the plaintiffs were passengers. The drunk driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Both women received serious injuries, including leg fractures requiring extensive surgeries. Defendants offered proof that neither plaintiff was wearing a seat belt and one was ejected from the car. In New York, failure to wear a seat belt can result in the inability to recover any monetary damages. Still, at a mediation one week before trial, John negotiated a settlement of $1,824,000.
$1,500,000 Settlement From Head-On Collision When Driver Crossed the Center Line
John represented a woman, 24, who was driving north in the left lane of Route 9W in Marlborough, New York (Dutchess County). A white pickup truck, traveling the same direction, crossed into her lane, forcing her to the left across the double yellow line, where she collided with an oncoming car. The victim suffered a closed head injury and pelvic fractures, and was comatose. She required hospitalization for over a month. She received inpatient rehabilitation for 2-1/2 months, then one year of outpatient occupational and physical therapy. Despite secret defense videotapes showing the plaintiff shopping and dining out, John convinced his adversaries that the plaintiff did indeed continue to suffer from her head injuries and on the first day of trial they met his settlement demand of $1,500,000.
$155,000 Settlement From Broken Leg After Woman Tripped and Fell at Grocery Store
John represented a 65-year-old retired school teacher who tripped and fell over the rear support bar of a shopping cart storage rack. This occurred at a Shop-N-Stop (Edwards Foods) super-market on Boston Post Road in Mamaroneck, New York. The victim suffered a fractured femur, requiring surgery to repair a bone and hold it in place with pins. The plaintiff had extensive pre-existing osteoporosis and significant degenerative arthritis in her knees. She was under her doctor’s care for severe right hip pain, resulting from compression fractures in her spine. At the time of the accident, the victim was wearing a back brace. The supermarket’s insurance carrier (Liberty Mutual) offered $25,000 to settle the claim. After deliberating two hours, a 6-member jury (1 man, 5 women) determined that the supermarket was 85% liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. At that point, the parties reached a settlement of $155,000.
Sizable Settlement From Broken Jaw When One Soccer Player Punched Another
John represented a 16-year-old Briarcliff Manor High School soccer player who was punched in the jaw in a game against Rye Neck High School in Westchester County, New York. The injured victim was the son of a lawyer who does not do personal injury work. The young man suffered a fractured jaw, which was wired shut for six weeks. John recovered a substantial sum from the defendant’s parents’ homeowner’s policy despite the fact that the defendant pled guilty to assault in the criminal court. John was able to avoid the carrier’s defense of no coverage for an intentional act (a) by claiming that the act was intentional but the result was unintended, and (b) by keeping the criminal guilty plea out of civil court due to the defendant’s “youthful offender” status, which in New York keeps his guilty plea under seal. Depositions were taken and then the insurance carrier met John’s settlement demand. The amount recovered in this case is confidential.
Significant Settlement For Face Burned While Using Gas Stove
John represented a 17-year-old Brooklyn resident of Daytop Village (a drug treatment facility) in Milbrook, New York (Dutchess County), who was burned in the face when using a gas stove in the middle of the night. The injured victim was told to use the stove, yet no one explained how to use it. Without filing a lawsuit, John successfully secured a settlement based on negligent supervision. The amount recovered in this case is confidential.
$242,000 Settlement For Injuries Sustained Falling From Scaffold
John represented a 55-year-old Canadian structural engineer who was injured in a fall from a scaffold at a construction site on West 42nd Street in New York City. John filed the lawsuit in Federal Court based on Labor Law that gives construction workers strong rights to sue and recover damages for construction site injuries. The injured victim was inspecting the ceiling of a FedEx warehouse under renovation. The scaffold tipped and the engineer fell 10 feet. He was transported to the hospital complaining of neck pain. He was treated and released. The victim was diagnosed with a herniated disk in his neck, which the defendant disputed, and a ruptured biceps tendon. The defendant’s doctors offered proof of an extensive degenerative spine. The defendant sought to dismiss the case when, in another case, New York’s highest court ruled that inspection workers, like the plaintiff, are not covered by the Labor Law protections. John submitted extensive legal briefs with novel arguments. He convinced the defendant to withdraw the motion to dismiss and meet John’s settlement demand.
$140,000 Settlement For Injuries Sustained When Drunk Police Officer Hits Patrol Car
John represented a 25-year-old man who was injured while sitting in a police car. The man had been involved in a minor accident in Bronx, New York on the Major Deegan Expressway. The police officer who answered the call directed the man to sit in his patrol car. A vehicle driven by a drunk off-duty police officer smashed into the patrol car in which the plaintiff was sitting. Photos of the accident and car were on the entire front page of two major New York daily newspapers. The injured victim had previously suffered a herniated disk, undergoing surgery four months before this accident. In this accident, the victim suffered a re-herniated cervical disk. The defendants claimed that the plaintiff’s injuries resulted from the first accident that night, which the plaintiff caused. Also, the defendants claimed that the injured victim would have needed a second surgery anyway as part of his ongoing treatment. John sued the drunk off-duty police officer and recovered the full amount of his insurance policy, $100,000. John also got New York City to pay $40,000 based on the theory that the city should have trained its employee better, even though he was off duty at the time of the accident.
$52,000 Settlement From Broken Knee When Hit-and-Run by New York City Taxi
John represented a 50-year-old man who claimed that a taxi cab had grazed him while crossing Park Avenue in Manhattan, New York. The man fell to the ground and the taxi did not stop. The injured victim picked himself up and walked to his office. When his knee started to hurt, he went to the hospital, where he was treated and released. The man suffered a slightly fractured tibial plateau (knee). The next day he went to an orthopedic surgeon, who said surgery was not needed. John filed an uninsured motorist claim against the injured victim’s insurer, Chubb. This case was particularly difficult because there were no witnesses and no police report as required by policy and law. Other lawyers had rejected this case. John successfully secured a settlement for $52,000.
$122,000 Payout to Girl Hit by Car When Crossing Highway Against the Traffic Light
John represented a 12-year-old pedestrian who suffered a tibia/fibula fracture when knocked down by the defendant’s car. A convincing witness stated the plaintiff darted across Route 9A in Briarcliff Manor, New York against the traffic light and that the defendant could not avoid hitting her.
While other lawyers had rejected this case, John accepted the case, then had an accident reconstruction expert re-create the accident with advanced technology. The expert proved that the defendant could and should have seen the plaintiff and that the young girl may not have seen the defendant’s car. John had a very weak case but was prepared to take the case to trial. At mediation, John convinced the defendant to make a reasonable offer. They settled the case for $122,000 paid out over time, with a present value of $90,000.
$200,000 Settlement For Facial Injuries Suffered in Car vs. Bicycle Accident
John represented a 29-year-old bicyclist in Westchester who could not remember being involved in a car vs. bicycle accident at an intersection. The plaintiff suffered facial fractures, requiring surgery. The defendant driver and a passenger claimed that the plaintiff rode his bicycle onto King Street (Route 120) in Rye Brook, New York into the side of the car. John undertook an extensive investigation with the police departments of the Village of Rye Brook and the Village of Port Chester. As a result, at deposition, John’s crushing cross-examination of the driver forced the defendant’s insurance carrier to meet his settlement demand of $200,000.
$121,000 Settlement For Facial Fractures after Falling From a Ladder
John represented a Spanish citizen who was a construction worker bricklayer. He fell from a ladder at a construction site at the East New York subway station in Brooklyn, New York, causing facial fractures requiring surgery. The victim missed only 10 days of work. At medi-ation against the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), John settled the case in Kings County (Brooklyn) for $121,000.
$1,400,000 For Leg Amputated in Crash With Bus Whose Carrier Went Bankrupt
John represented a 22-year-old newspaper deliveryman who was involved in a car accident with a bus at the intersection of Iroquois St. and Route 133 in Ossining, New York. The injured victim suffered an amputation of one leg below the knee. John’s investigation revealed that the victim was speeding. Further, he discovered that the defendant’s insurance carrier was on shaky financial ground. John acted quickly, securing this settlement without depositions by taking an aggressive settlement posture and making a reasonable settlement demand. John settled the case for $1,400,000. The defendant’s insurance carrier went bankrupt just one month after John received the settlement check. Had John not concluded this case quickly, it could have dragged out for years and the injured victim might not have recovered any money at all.
$120,000 For Head Injury Sustained While Watching Brawl at Reform School
John represented a teenage resident at Graham Windham School, a reform school in Hastings, New York, who was struck in the head while watching a brawl among other reform school residents. The injured victim did not participate in the scuffle. The defendant who struck the victim was charged with criminal assault. John sued the reform school for lack of supervision and failure to protect the plaintiff. A judge awarded the injured victim $120,000.
$1,225,000 For Worker Who Fell From Ladder and Broke His Back
John represented a 35-year-old maintenance construction worker who was on the shopping center roof in North White Plains, New York to get an estimate for roof repairs. While descending the ladder, he fell and fractured his lumbar spine, requiring a surgical laminectomy and fusion. John sought a summary judgment, asking the Court for a win without going to trial. The judge granted the motion. On appeal, the defendant’s insurance carrier paid John’s demand of $1,225,000.
$200,000 For Pedestrian Hit and Knocked Down by Passing Car, Breaking Leg
John represented a 37-year-old woman pedestrian who was struck and knocked down by a car in the middle of Route 119 in Elmsford, New York. She had no memory of the accident. The woman suffered a broken femur, which required surgery. John’s immediate investigation resulted in a statement from the defendant driver that would have proved very useful at trial. John settled the case in six months for his demand, $200,000.
$350,000 For Passenger in a Taxi Hit by Another Car
John represented a passenger who was riding in a taxi on Saw Mill River Road in Yonkers, New York. A driver with very little insurance struck the taxi, breaking the passenger’s leg (femur), which required surgery. John sued the taxi company’s insurance carrier to collect from its underinsured motorist coverage. John resolved the case in 7 months, collecting $350,000.
$162,000 For Car Accident Victim Who Suffered a Broken Knee
John represented a 21-year-old Bronx County woman who suffered a broken knee in a car accident on the Sprain Parkway in Mount Pleasant, New York (Westchester County). The fracture required surgery. The defendant’s insurance carrier claimed the defendant did not cause the accident. John offered proof that the defendant was at fault and convinced the insurance carrier to settle the case for $162,000.
$150,000 For Police Officer Hit by Oncoming Car During Traffic Stop
John represented a 31-year-old police officer who was hit by a car during a traffic stop on Pleasantville Road in Briarcliff Manor, New York. The police officer pulled over a westbound speeder and stopped behind that car in the traffic lane. Two other cars stopped behind the police car. When the officer got out of his police cruiser, he was struck by the defendant’s vehicle, traveling in the opposite direction. An eyewitness said the police officer was 2 feet on the wrong side of the double yellow line at the time of impact. The officer was hit by the oncoming vehicle’s left headlight and thrown onto the car’s windshield. He suffered leg fractures (tibia and fibula), which required surgery. The police officer returned to full-time work after one year. While the jury was deliberating, John and State Farm Insurance settled the case for $150,000.
$531,000 For Cable Installer Who Broke His Back Falling From Ladder
John represented a 36-year-old cable wire installer who was working in Falmouth Street in Scarsdale, New York. He worked for United Cable, which was under contract to install and repair cable wire for Cablevision. The installer was on a ladder, working on a cable television wire that went from a pole to a home. He claims that the wire at the house snapped, causing the tension at the pole to drop, the ladder to shift, and him to fall. The plaintiff broke his back (thoracic spine). That night, he went to an emergency room, then underwent two years of treatment with a radiologist and neurosurgeons. Doctors then fused his thoracic spine at T10-11 with rods and a bone allograft. He never returned to work. The defendant, Cablevision, disputed the accident claim because there was no physical evidence of an accident, and because the plaintiff returned to work after the fall and didn’t go to the emergency room until that night. No one witnessed the accident. In spite of defendant’s claims, John secured a settlement 4 days before trial for $531,000.
CBS Sunday News Program 60 Minutes Covered Florida Drunk Driving Accident That Killed a Student
John represented the family of a college student who died while he was a passenger in a car hit by a drunk driver. The student lived in New York and attended college in New Jersey. He was in Florida with members of his college singing group on a national tour. The student was one of four people in a car on Interstate Route 95 in Florida when they were struck by a drunk driver who had no insurance. The drunk was arrested and convicted. CBS Sunday News Program 60 Minutes showed the family members in court for the sentencing.
John worked extensively with Florida authorities, prosecutors, police and the family to ensure justice was done. The case was very complicated because of interstate issues. The driver of the car in which the students were riding did nothing wrong. The drunk hit the car from behind. John discovered insurance coverage — through National Grange of Massachusetts — on the car in which the student was riding. The insurance carrier raised many objections to paying. It claimed that New York law applied and that New York’s restrictive wrongful death law on should result in the plaintiff getting nothing. The insurance carrier also raised intricate Massachusetts issues. John researched — and researched — and fought — and sued — and ultimately got the carrier to pay the full limits of its policy, $250,000. It was a hard fought, emotional victory.
Recovery for Death of the Passenger in One-Car Crash
John represented the family of a young man who was a passenger in a car driven by the defendant. The young man was killed when the defendant drove into a driveway gate. John successfully recovered damages for the victim’s family, the amount of which is confidential
Death of a Young Man Who Over-Reacted When Truck Approached
John represented the family of a young man who died at the scene of a one-car accident on Route 117 in Chappaqua, New York. John claimed that a truck, traveling the same direction, must have veered into the plaintiff’s lane. This caused the plaintiff to over-react and steer into the oncoming traffic, where he was hit by a truck. Naturally, the truck driver denied these events, but John pushed the case and got a reasonable settlement for the young man’s family, the amount of which is confidential.
$100,000 For Driver of Car Who Crashed Head-On With Coca Cola Truck
John represented the driver of a car who crossed the double yellow line on South State Road in Pleasantville, New York and hit an oncoming truck owned by the Coca Cola Bottling Company. The driver of the car suffered a broken leg. At deposition, John got the truck driver to admit that on this narrow road, his wide truck might have had its wheels on or slightly over double yellow center line. John secured a settlement from Coca Cola for $100,000.
$800,000 For Fractured Hip After Hit by Truck Sliding on Black Ice
John represented a 50-year-old man who was hit by a semi truck on Route 9 in Ossining, New York. The man suffered a fractured hip. The truck driver claimed the accident was unavoidable due to black ice. After taking depositions of both drivers, John caught the defendant truck driver in inconsistencies as to when he first saw the black ice on the road. John settled the case for $800,000.
$950,000 For High School Student Rendered Impotent After Ejection From Vehicle
John represented an 18-year-old high school student who was a passenger in the rear seat of a rental car driven by his brother. There were 2 people in the front seat and 2 in the rear seat. The car was northbound on Taconic State Parkway in Putnam Valley, New York. The plaintiff’s brother (the driver) did not have a driver’s license. The four occupants had driven from Columbia County to Queens for an all-day party. After the party, they headed home.
The plaintiff was asleep when the driver lost control of the vehicle, hit the guide rails, and flipped over into a gully. The plaintiff and the other rear seat passenger were ejected from the vehicle. Neither had been wearing seat belts. Only the plaintiff was injured. The two occupants in the front seat were wearing seat belts and were not hurt.
The plaintiff suffered pelvic fractures, which were treated without surgery. He also suffered a transected urethra, which required three surgeries. The plaintiff is permanently impotent.
The defendant insurance carrier said that if the plaintiff had been wearing a seat belt, he would not have been ejected or injured. Plaintiff’s expert would have testified that the plaintiff would have suffered serious head injuries or death from the car’s roof if he had not been ejected from the car. John settled the case 10 days before trial for $950,000.
$250,000 For Fractured Hip From One-Car Accident. Previous Lawyer Missed Coverage.
John represented a woman whose car was struck on Route 117 in Pleasantville, New York by another whose defense was she unavoidably slid on black ice. John’s client suffered a fractured hip. Her previous attorney failed to discover underinsurance coverage. John took over the case and found the driver’s $100,000 in coverage, plus newly discovered additional $150,000 underinsured coverage. John recovered a total of $250,000 for her injury.
$150,000 For Man Who Fell From Forklift. Novel Theory Wins Settlement.
John represented a young man who fell from a forklift, fracturing his leg. The plaintiff had a security dog rental business. He went onto a client’s roof on Ditmars Avenue, Brooklyn, New York to get his dog. To help him get down, he had his brother borrow a forklift. Due to the brother’s negligence, the plaintiff fell to the ground. John developed novel theories of Labor Law in this construction case.
$450,000 For Back Injury From Car Accident For Woman With History of Car Wrecks
John represented a female civil engineer who was in a car accident on Noxon Road in LaGrangeville, New York (Dutchess County). She suffered herniated discs, which required surgery. The defendant insurance carrier claimed several prior car accidents caused the degenerative discs and that her need for surgery was not related to this accident. John worked with several expert doctors to document and demonstrate that surgery was required from this accident alone. When John presented his evidence to the insurance carrier, they met John’s settlement demand and wrote a check for $450,000.
$300,000 Offer Client Refused. Hired New Attorney Who Got Zero!
John represented a woman who was involved in a car accident with a Con Edison truck in Ossining, New York. John got Con Edison to offer $300,000 for disc surgery, which John recommended to his client. The woman went to another well-known attorney for advice. The lawyer said he could get more money, so the woman fired John and hired the new attorney. John wrote a long letter to her new lawyer, stating that $300,000 was an outstanding offer and that at trial, she may get nothing due to her prior injury and subsequent accident. Her new attorney took the case to trial and got nothing!
$60,000 For Slip and Fall On Ice Paid by Landlord and Snow Removal Company
John represented a 32-year-old woman who slipped and fell on ice at the home she rented in Croton, New York. The victim suffered a fractured ankle, which required surgery. John filed a lawsuit against the landlord and snow removal company for negligence. After taking depositions, the insurance carrier settled with John for $60,000.
Wrongful Death Involving a New York City Taxi
John represented a victim who suffered a wrongful death in a car accident case against a New York City taxi company. The amount of John’s recovery is confidential.
$125,000 Recovery From Metro-North Railroad
John represented a 50-year-old man who was traveling by train at night, coming home to Ossining, New York. After leaving the train, the victim did not see cones or yellow tape marking off an area in the parking lot where a construction project was underway. The plaintiff fell on debris, resulting in a fractured ankle that required surgery. The hospital record contained evidence that the plaintiff had been drinking! Even so, after depositions, John recovered $125,000 for his client.
$150,000 for Trip and Fall at Dentist’s Office
John represented a 45-year-old dentist who had his parking lot repaved. The pavement was not even, causing the dentist to fall and break his ankle, requiring surgery. After depositions, John settled the dentist’s claim for $150,000.
Slip and Fall at New Jersey Casino
A 40-year-old woman gambler fell in the casino’s lobby, fracturing her hip. A maintenance worker had just waxed the floor and had removed the danger cones before the floor was safe to walk on. No surgery was required. John settled the injury claim — without filing a lawsuit — for a substantial sum.
In an effort to protect the public, I support the New York State Bar’s ethical rules, which require this statement: “Facts and results in an earlier case do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future matter on which John Hochfelder may be engaged.”