Kevin VeseyAug 3, 2017, 7:10 pmAug 4, 2017, 10:01 am

Islip ordered to give over $14M to woman seriously injured by street sign in Bay Shore

Incident caused Carolyn McNeill to suffer cognitive abilities, rendering her unable to care for herself


A jury ordered the Town of Islip to pay $14.45 million to a woman who suffered a stroke and now has cognitive disabilities from a Bay Shore street sign struck her several years ago.

“There's a major lesson to be taught here,” said Michael Della from the Gruenberg Kelly Della law firm that represented the woman. “The public expects towns to keep them safe and we pay tax dollars for a reason. That reason is so the town can maintain the roadways, bridges, and these street signs, which have become a problem.”

In 2007, 54-year-old Carolyn McNeill was walking on Fifth Avenue in Bay Shore when a street sign suddenly fell over and hit her on the head.

As a result of the accident, the woman developed aneurysms, had to undergo brain surgery, and also suffered a stroke.

Sadly, the incident left the victim with serious cognitive disabilities and her family says she now requires 24-hour care from aides just to get by.

“It's been very hard for me. I didn't have any rest, couldn't do much because I had to take care of her,” said Cora McNeill, the victim's mother.

Attorneys for the family say they won this verdict by proving the town was at fault because the sign had not been properly maintained for more than four decades.

“She lost the ability to speak correctly, think correctly, recall names, recall people, and her brain got rewired, so the color yellow could be black, a table could be a chair to her, all of her language skills were scrambled,” said Glenn Auletta, a senior trial counsel of the Gruenberg Kelly Della law firm.

In a statement, the town says they plan to fight the decision: "The town intends on pursuing all available post-trial remedies, including an appeal if necessary, as the verdict is inconsistent with the evidence presented at trial."

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