$10.6 Million Jury Verdict for Wrongful Death of Pedestrian Struck by Truck in Crosswalk

Margarita Martinez was crossing a city street in a crosswalk when Robert Lane, driving a van for the defendant Premium Laundry Corp., began turning left into the intersection.  The van hit Martinez, 79, and dragged her several car lengths.

Martinez sustained multiple severe injuries, including fractures to her ribs, spine, pelvis, and left tibia and fibula. She also suffered a lung contusion and a facial laceration.

She was rushed to a hospital emergency room, but she unfortunately died of respiratory and cardiac arrest within an hour of her arrival. She is survived by her husband, Mario Martinez.

Individually and on behalf of his wife’s estate, he sued Premium Laundry Corp. under the theory of respondeat superior, alleging that Robert Lane, the driver of the van, was negligent in choosing not to pay attention to his driving and yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The Martinez family argued that she had a walk signal as she entered the crosswalk.

In addition to the damages claimed, the Martinez family also sought recovery for Martinez’s conscious predeath pain and suffering, maintaining that she experienced approximately 40 minutes of pain and suffering before her passing.

The Martinez family presented testimony from paramedics that when they arrived at the scene of the accident, she was responsive and moving her arms and legs. A pre-hospital care report also showed that she scored a 4 out of 4 in the Glasgow Coma Scale’s eye response category, showing that she was opening her eyes spontaneously.

The defendant Premium Laundry argued that Martinez was not in the crosswalk but was attempting to cross the street a few car lengths from the end of the block. The defendant also argued that she may have stepped out between parked cars, citing Lane’s statement that he never saw her before he felt a big bump and slammed on his brakes.

Premium Laundry also contended that her overall low score of 6 out of 15 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, including 1 out of 5 in the verbal response category and 1 out of 6 in the physical response category, suggested that she was unable to experience conscious pain and suffering within the minutes after being struck and the ambulance arriving.

Considering all of the evidence and arguments of counsel, the jury signed a verdict of $10.6 million finding the defendant, Premium Laundry, 100% at fault. The jury verdict included $10.5 million in survival damages, including damages for Martinez’s conscious predeath pain and suffering, $92,400 to her husband for loss of future support and services and $5,000 for funeral expenses.

The attorney successfully handling this case for the Martinez family was Justin R. Hartman.

At trial, the Martinez family attorney presented experts in commercial trucking and neurology. The defendant Premium Laundry presented an expert in neurology.

Martinez v. Premium Laundry Corp., No. 304226/12 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Bronx County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling premises liability lawsuits, automobile accident cases, truck accident cases, motorcycle accident cases and bicycle accident cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Northlake, Oak Forest, Orland Hills, Franklin Park, East Hazel Crest, Elgin, Elmwood Park, Burnham, Burbank, Buffalo Grove, Broadview, Berkeley, Barrington, Hanover Park, Roselle, Chicago (Hyde Park, Pulaski Park, Portage Park, Printer’s Row, Humboldt Park, Greek Town, Englewood, Garfield Ridge, Edgewater, DePaul University Area, McKinley Park, Loyola Park, Lincoln Park, Old Town Triangle, Pill Hill, Pilsen), Norwood Park, Round Lake Beach, St. Charles, Western Springs and Geneva, Ill.

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