New Haven Settles Police Car Crash Lawsuit For $10 Million
Murphy said that police with their lights and sirens on must still proceed carefully in traffic through intersections of red lights. She said the state police's conclusion was "neither of them slowed down to proceed safely through" the intersection.
Murphy said witnesses to the crash were conflicted as to who had a green light. Some witnesses believed Gonzalez had the green light. Others thought Aponte did. The credibility of those witnesses would have been examined closely had the case gone to trial, Murphy said.
Gerarde, the defense lawyer, said their own separate accident reconstruction revealed that Aponte was the one who ran the red light, causing the accident.
"The initial state police report said both were going fast and Diane Gonzalez was not without fault," said Gerarde. "But if you had to pick one versus the other, it tilts in favor of Diane Gonzalez being less responsible than Dario Aponte.
"It would've been a plaintiff's verdict any way you slice it, possibly reduced by Diane Gonzalez's own conduct," added Gerarde.
In addition to the main lawsuit, the city of New Haven was also an intervening plaintiff against Gonzalez seeking reimbursement of funds paid out through workers' compensation. Attorney Anne Kelly Zovas, of Pomeranz, Drayton and Stabnick in Glastonbury, handled that aspect of the case for the city of New Haven.
Murphy explained that after the accident, workers' compensation had spent over $3 million to Gonzalez for medical bills and lost pay. As such, workers' compensation placed a lien on Gonzalez for reimbursement after her lawsuit was resolved.
All of the parties to the case then proceeded to a mediation before Thomas P. Barrett.
"It was a very difficult case to settle," said Murphy. "There were a lot of aspects of the claim that needed to be taken into consideration."
Murphy said a settlement for $10 million was reached first with the city of New Haven, which needed final approval from several parties, including the probate court and insurance carriers. From there, Murphy settled the workers' compensation lien on Gonzalez for $1,625,000, meaning of the $10 million settlement, that amount was paid back.