Attorneys for the owner of three restaurants serving authentic Szechuan food have secured a $100,000 settlement after the man was struck by a car after closing up one of his eateries.
Attorney Ryan Miller said 50-year-old Xinyu Huang had just driven from his Fairfield restaurant with his wife when he stopped at a Bridgeport convenience store in February 2017 before heading home to Farmington. Huang was hit at the intersection of North Avenue and French Street by a car driven by Tamara King soon after he got out of his vehicle, which was on the side of the road near the convenience store.
“The initial blow to my client was to his right leg,” said Miller, a partner with Stratford’s Rosenberg, Miller, Hite & Morilla. “After the impact, his face hit the driver’s car.” It is not clear how fast King was driving, but she immediately stopped her vehicle to assist Huang, Miller said.
Ryan Miller, partner with Rosenberg, Miller, Hite & Morilla in Stratford.
Huang sustained fractures to his right leg for which he had surgery and later plastic surgery to cover up a hole in his leg, Miller said. In addition, Miller said, Huang had lacerations to his left cheek and abrasions and contusions to his face. He also broke about five teeth. Huang, Miller said, was not able to walk for about six months following the accident.
King was not issued a citation following the accident.
A settlement was reached with both Travelers Insurance, the carrier for Huang and Geico Insurance, the carrier for King, prior to a lawsuit being filed, Miller said.
Miller said his biggest obstacle was getting Travelers to pay the bulk of the settlement even though Huang technically was not driving his car at the time of the accident.
“At first, Travelers said Huang was not driving and it was up in the air whether they’d cover him because of that reason,” Miller said. “I posed the premise that he had just left his vehicle a second before the accident with the intent to return to the vehicle and thus the underinsured policy should be paid.”
Specifically, Miller said, he was able to convince Travelers to pay “after reading the policy’s language and comparing it to past case law. There have been legal decisions regarding cases like this which say a pedestrian’s own coverage can be utilized even if they are not behind the wheel. It’s more contract law than your normal personal injury case of negligence.”
Miller said the negotiations with both insurance carriers “was amicable.” The settlement was agreed upon on May 30 and the check to Huang should be disbursed this week, his attorney said.
Travelers paid $80,000 and Geico paid $20,000 of the settlement.
Huang incurred about $122,402 in medical expenses, Miller said.
Miller worked with Karie Ogonoski, the claims adjuster with Travelers and Joelle D’Arcy, the claims adjuster with Geico. Ogonoski declined to comment on the matter. D’Arcy could not be reached for comment.
Huang, Miller said, spent much of his career as a culinary arts professor in Chengdu, China. He moved to New York City about six years ago where he opened up a Chinese restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood. He later moved to Connecticut and is currently the owner of Shu, a restaurant with locations in Fairfield, Hartford and West Hartford. Huang will be opening up a fourth establishment in West Hartford, Miller said.