Paralyzed Music Producer in Accident Wins $23M Verdict
A New York-based music producer paralyzed in a 2008 car accident has won a $23.3 million verdict in a Brooklyn jury trial.
Charles Scott Harding, a New York City based artist/producer/engineer/composer, was awarded $8 million in Brooklyn Supreme Court for past pain and suffering, $12.5 million for future pain and suffering and approximately $2.8 million for future medical expenses, according to his lawyer.
His attorney said the damages award appears to be highest ever won in a car accident case.
Harding, who was left paralyzed from the chest down and must use a wheelchair, had lacked closure for eight years during the run-up to the trial, his lawyer said.
Scott was in Intensive Care Unit at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, a victim of a car crash on a Friday in February in which he was a passenger of a car service, returning home from a late night mixing session to finish a new record. Another car came at high-speed through a stop sign and crashed broadside into his car. The accident occurred a short distance from his home. His condition was listed serious, with fractures of his clavicle, rib, shoulder-blade, and back, including catastrophic fracture of his T5 vertebrae, crushing his spinal cord.
The trial took two weeks beginning Nov. 9, featuring testimony aimed at showing defendant Wojciech Czmielewski and his son, Adrian, were responsible for the collision in the early morning hours of Feb. 16, 2008.
The jury say came back with the statement: We heard the evidence and we know who put you in the position you are in.”
The liability verdict was announced on Nov. 17 and the damages verdict on Nov. 22.
The impact was so loud that neighbors rushed out of their homes. Wojciech Czmielewski, who owned the car, reported it stolen several hours later.
It was the plaintiff’s contention that the car theft was a ruse, and that it was actually driven, and often used by Adrian Czmielewski, who was 18 years old at the time.
The trial also consisted of testimony from a Queens woman, who was Czmielewski’s the neighbor. She testified that a few days after the 2008 crash, she saw Adrian was bruised and cut up, indicating he was in the accident.
This has been a long battle for Scotty Hard and this “WIN” will set him on the road to healing. Below is a YouTube video of Scott hard thanking the generosity of those who donated to his recovery while awaiting a long lawsuit conclusion.
New York personal injury attorney Paul Ajlouny in this case states that the award was warranted considering the victim is now paralyzed due to the severity of the accident.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 200k people living with spinal cord injuries in the US. Each year, about 12k to 20k new cases of spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. The majority of spinal cord injuries are suffered by younger people. An estimated 50 to 70 % of all new spinal cord injuries are in people in the 15- to 35-year-old age group.
The cost of treating a paralysis victim in the first year after the injury runs, on average, between $300,000 and $1 million. Each year after that treatment will cost between $40,000 and $170,000 as of 2013. The lifetime cost of treating a paralyzed victim can easily run over $3 million dollars.