Weitz & Luxenberg has achieved a major $20.5 million verdict – as well as approximately $3 million in past and future medical expenses – in Kings County Supreme Court on behalf of the victim of a hit-and-run car accident that left him paralyzed for life. The verdict is particularly notable in that attorneys successfully argued to a jury that while the car was reported stolen by its owner, it was his son who was behind the wheel.

“Our client will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair thanks to the recklessness and negligence of a man who did not have the courage to admit his wrongdoing,” said Nicholas Wise, senior attorney for personal injury and malpractice at Weitz & Luxenberg.

Attorneys Argued Car Owner’s Son Was Behind the Wheel

On February 16, 2008, music producer Charles Harding was on his way home from work when the car he was riding in was struck by a vehicle that had driven through a stop sign. That driver then fled the scene of the accident, and the owner of the vehicle – who said he was the only one that used the car – reported it stolen shortly afterwards.

The car owner, Wojiech Czmielewski, said that he should not be held responsible for anything that happened after the car was allegedly stolen. However, Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys successfully argued that the car was used almost exclusively by the owner’s son, and that it was his son who was driving the car that night. Specifically, attorneys presented evidence from the son’s social media accounts that showed him working on the car, and showed that the owner did not have a knowledge of certain aspects of the vehicle that he would have known had he used the car regularly.

“The defendant in this case and his son lied in an attempt to get out of paying for our client’s medical bills, pain and suffering,” said Adam Raffo, associate attorney for personal injury and malpractice at Weitz & Luxenberg. “While the defendant cannot go back in time and take the car keys out of his son’s hands that night, this verdict will force him to address his wrongdoing.”

Plaintiff Confined to Wheelchair for Life

The accident left Harding paralyzed from the nipple-line down and as a result he will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

The verdict specifically awarded Harding with $20.5 million for past and future pain and suffering, as well as approximately $3 million for past and future medical expenses.

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