A Brooklyn jury awarded $6.6 Million dollars to a 13 year old 7th Grade student who was severely injured while a passenger in a vehicle which was struck in the rear by a speeding ambulance on April 30, 2006. At the time of the collision the 6 year old Michelle W. sustained open fractures of the hip and left foot which required 2 surgeries, a 6-day hospital admission and has resulted in permanent scarring.
The incident occurred while an ambulance,’driven by Stuart Freedman and owned by Lifestar Ambulance Response Corp. and Bi-County Ambulance and Ambulette Corp., was on a non-emergency patient transfer.
According to attorney Douglas Hoffer, Esq. of Dansker & Aspromonte Associates, Michelle W. underwent 8 months of physical therapy but developed joint dysfunction which causes instability in her left foot upon running and walking, and she has begun to show signs of arthritis in her left foot.
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Testimony by Michelle’s treating pediatric orthopedist revealed that Michelle’s joint dysfunction and arthritis is permanent and will get progressively worse over her lifetime. Michelle’s treating doctor also instructed her to avoid all high-impact competitive sports. The evidence further revealed that Michelle would require at least 2 joint fusion surgeries in the future to address her disability.
According to Michelle’s mother, Qing Tao, a dancer, “this accident prevented my daughter from realizing her dream of becoming a professional ballerina.”
Several interviewed jurors expressed their concern for Michelle’s ability to live a normal life into the future.
“This is an example of justice at work in New York City. The jurors were smart and attentive and arrived at a decision which was fair and reasonable under the circumstances,” said Douglas Hoffer, trial attorney.
Defendants are expected to appeal.