A personal injury action was commenced by plaintiff-mother. It was alleged that when she was 12 days pregnant she was injured when a police vehicle backed up and hit her as she was crossing a street and that she sustained a stress fracture of her right tibia as a result of the accident, and that the trauma and stress of the accident caused her to experience pregnancy complications resulting in an emergency cesarean section at 27 weeks.
Has the stress from the accident induce a placental abruption that would make the defendant liable?
A report from the pathologist who examined the post-delivery placenta and blood specimens indicated that an infection was the cause of the infant plaintiff’s premature delivery. Moreover, plaintiff-mother’s history of preexisting gynecological issues established prima facie that the infant’s premature birth was not due to placental abruption because of trauma from the accident (birth injury or birth injuryaccident).
While the medical records note that plaintiff mother experienced chronic vaginal bleeding during her pregnancy, the evidence establishes that preexisting gynecological issues were the cause of the bleeding. Further, the conditions associated with a placental abruption, such as clotting and affected hemoglobin levels, were not present in the medical record
As noted, the medical evidence did not substantiate the claim of placental abruption. Further, the prenatal care reports plaintiff mother’s physicians prepared did not note an accident, nor did they record any complaints from her regarding stress or anxiety arising from the accident. Indeed, the evidence demonstrated that plaintiff had preexisting high blood pressure, and that she took medication to control this condition before her infant’s birth.
Evidence, consisting of medical records, deposition testimony and expert medical affirmations, established prima facie entitlement to summary judgment dismissing plaintiffs’ claims as to the pregnancy complications, but not as to the leg injury.
The court rules that the plaintiff did raise a factual issue as to whether the accident caused the fracture of plaintiff’s right tibia. The Defendant City relied on the absence in the ambulance and emergency reports of any mention of a stress fracture or complaints about plaintiff’s leg. Given that plaintiff had recently become pregnant via in vitro methods, it is understandable that she may have focused on her pregnancy rather than on her leg. According to plaintiffs’ expert, it was also reasonable for plaintiff to wait to seek medical treatment for her leg in order to avoid an x-ray during her pregnancy. Moreover, documents from Lutheran Medical Center from as early as 8 November 2006, three weeks after the accident, indicate that plaintiff complained of pain in her right leg. At the time of her General Municipal Law hearing, three months after the accident, plaintiff complained that since the accident she had constant, severe pain in her right leg.
Furthermore, records from the Hospital dated 28 April 2007 indicate right lower extremity pain. X-rays from that date revealed what doctors in The Bronx and Brooklyn thought was most likely “a healing stress fracture.” On 3 May 2007, plaintiff visited a doctor, complaining of pain and swelling in her right leg that began two weeks after the accident. The doctor sent plaintiff for an MRI and referred her to another hospital for further care. The MRI from that Hospital revealed a lesion on plaintiff’s right tibia that a biopsy ultimately revealed to be “in keeping with a previous stress fracture.” On 16 October 2007, plaintiff went to the emergency room complaining of swelling in her right leg that had persisted for the past month. In December 2007, plaintiff underwent a surgical procedure on her right tibia, as it had become infected. According to plaintiffs’ expert, orthopedic surgeon, plaintiff reports that she still has pain in her leg, cannot kneel or run, has difficulty walking and cannot work in her job as a security guard. Plaintiff claims she had no other injury to her right leg after the accident.
Hence, the evidence adduced raised an issue of fact as to whether plaintiff sustained a “serious injury” of a permanent nature to the right leg within the meaning of Insurance Law.
Personal injury is a result of the negligence or wrongdoing of an individual, corporation, government agency, or any other entity. The injuries may be the result of a motor vehicle accident, a birth injury accident, a medical malpractice, and the like. Lawyers who spent most of their practice in these types of cases are known to have acquired special skills and knowledge in the field of tort law which includes civil wrongs and economic or non-economic damages to a person’s property, reputation, or rights. To avail the services of these experts, contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates. You will be provided with our New York Personal Injury Lawyers and our New York Birth Injury Lawyers, if you are in the same situation as the above-mentioned case, or another lawyer depending on your situation.