A Cheektowaga man injured three years ago when a police cruiser crashed into his vehicle has settled a lawsuit against the Town of Amherst for $1.2 million.
The Amherst Town Board on Monday consented to the $1.2 million for Michael Paoletta, after attorneys on both sides came to a settlement last week prior to a jury verdict.
“We thought that was a fair compensation for what he had gone through and taking into account his potential wage claim,” said Donald P. Chiari, who tried the case with his partner, James E. Brown.
“This was a good settlement,” said attorney George W. Collins Jr., who handled the case for the town.
“We actually did pick the jury and start the trial and then the case settled.”
Paoletta, 48, was a passenger in a vehicle traveling on Sheridan Drive on the evening of Oct. 28, 2010.
Paoletta’s vehicle tried to make a right turn into a dealership when it was rear-ended by the police vehicle traveling at about 45 mph, Chiari said.
Paoletta suffered injuries and needed surgery on his neck, his attorney said.
The case went to trial late last month before State Supreme Court Justice Timothy J. Drury.
Paoletta’s attorney argued that the police officer was looking down at his laptop at the time of the accident, while the town argued the driver in Paoletta’s vehicle stopped abruptly due to construction.
Both sides reached a settlement last Tuesday before the case was turned over to a jury for a decision, Chiari said.