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New York Prisoner Awarded $435,000 in Tire Accident

New York Prisoner Awarded $435,000
in Tire Accident

On June 10, 2003, the Court of Claims in Rochester, New York, awarded $435,000 for pain and suffering to a New York prisoner who was injured when a forklift tire exploded in his face.

Prisoner Clay Rumley was attempting to repair a forklift tire in the garage of the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York when the tire exploded, driving the wheel's metal rim into the right side of his face.

Surgery was required to repair the damage which, according to the supervising surgeon, included a fractured jaw and right cheekbone, collapsed sinuses, a displaced eyeball which was permanently scarred, and nerve damage to his eye and face. The plates and wires used to repair the bones around his eyes remain embedded in his skull.

Rumley testified that he is now forced to take pain relievers every day to alleviate stabbing pain in his eyeball, throbbing pain in his face resulting from exposure to heat or cold, and pain in his teeth and gums. Also, Rumley's forehead was scarred, areas of facial skin remain discolored, and his face is noticeably asymmetrical.

Upon finding that Rumley will suffer lifelong pain as a result of the accident, the court awarded him $316,500.00 for past pain and suffering, and $408,500.00 for future pain and suffering ($9,500.00 per year for the 43 years he is expected to live), for a total of $725,000.

However, the court determined that Rumley was 40% responsible for his injury while the State was 60% responsible. Thus, after a 40% reduction, the award for past pain and suffering was $189,900 and the award for future pain and suffering, was $245,100, for a total of $435,000.

Rumley was represented by Joseph P. Muenkel of the Buffalo, New York firm Rosenthal, Siegel, Muenkel, & Maloney. See: Rumley v. State of New York, Court of Claims, Rochester, Case No. 93170.


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Related legal case

Rumley v. State of New York