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$3.5 Million Awarded to Child for Harrisburg Bicycle Accident Injuries

Pennswood Apartments advertises that living in the complex is ‘like a walk in the park’. The description fits; the complex is a 44 acre landscaped community that is next to a lower, middle and upper school, as well as public athletic fields. But, for one girl, it was a very dangerous park.

The young victim was a nine-year-old bicyclist when she lived with her parents in the apartment complex.  At 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, 2009, she was riding her bike on the complex grounds when she was struck by a pick up truck. The driver of the truck was Brian Kiefer. Kiefer, an employee of Jaeger Management Company, was the maintenance supervisor at the apartment complex. It was his job to ensure that the property was safe.

accident-scene
Photograph of the bike and “children at play” sign taken at the accident scene.

Mr. Kiefer was driving into the maintenance office parking lot when he struck our minor client. She suffered several injuries, including fractured ribs, a fractured tibia, facial fractures, traumatic brain injury and psychological injuries. Mr. Kiefer was charged with aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol. His blood alcohol level was .30 at the time, more than three times the legal level of intoxication.

The young victim’s family contacted Ostroff Injury Law. Mr. Kiefer’s insurance policy on his truck only provided $100,000 in insurance coverage.  Since he was not on-the-clock at the time of the accident, it seemed that there were no other means of compensation for a personal injury.

Jon Ostroff, and other attorneys at Ostroff Injury Law, launched an intensive investigation at the Pennswood Apartment complex. After weeks of interviewing residents, witnesses, employees, police, and conducting surveillance, the firm overcame the conspiracy of silence around what occurred. Despite the refusal of employees to cooperate and discuss the matter, and other employees lying about what lead up to this crash, the law firm pressed on. After countless hours of investigation and dozens of depositions where Attorney Ostroff interrogated past and present employees up and down the corporate ladder of Pennswood Apartments and the Jager Management Company, Ostroff pushed through the lies and got to the truth. As a result, his client wasn’t limited to the $100,000 insurance policy that covered Kiefer, who was off the clock when he struck her on a Saturday night.

After weeks of in-depth investigation and surveillance, Ostroff was able to find a witness to the events that led up to the accident. We learned that on the day of the crash, Mr. Kiefer had been working on a maintenance project in an apartment at Pennswood that he planned to move into. That is where he got so drunk. Although he was not on-the-clock at the time, his employer gave him access to the apartment, so he could do the work which would otherwise be completed by a paid employee during normal work hours. This activity benefitted his employer. This was what we needed to prove to make sure our client could recover what she was due.

As a result of the investigation and dozens of deposition interrogations, Ostroff Injury Law helped our client file a corporate liability lawsuit against the Pennswood Apartment Complex, Jager Management Incorporated, and Joel Gershman, the owner of both Pennswood and Jager. The Complaint filed in the lawsuit alleged that the companys’ negligence endangered residents. It was further alleged that when they hired Mr. Kiefer to supervise maintenance at the property, with his past and ongoing alcohol abuse, he created a danger to the residents at Pennswood.  In October 2015, this case settled for $3.5 million. Just before it was scheduled to go to trial. This was a very substantial recovery given the miraculous recovery made by our client, who needed no surgery and was left with a scar beneath her hairline, psychological injuries and a very minor residual injury to her brain. She missed only a month of school and has stayed on track with her grade.

At Ostroff Injury Law, we care about our clients and we’ll do whatever it takes to prove it.

“I’m really proud of the help we were able to provide to a brave, young client that I’ll never forget and will always stay in touch with.”

—Jon Ostroff

 

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