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ARTICLE ID 142721

- Wrongful Death - Motor Vehicle Negligence - Auto/Pedestrian Collision - Wrongful Death of 42-year-old decedent childless male - No evidence of conscious pain and suffering - Childless decedent survived by spouse.

Bergen County

The plaintiff contended that the defendant driver negligently failed to make proper observations as he was traveling Northerly on a roadway that did not contain a sidewalk, lost control and swerved to his right, striking the 42-year-old decedent, who was walking very close to the fog line at night. The plaintiff’s proofs reflected that the plaintiff was walking in the same direction as traffic and the defendant contended that the accident actually occurred as the decedent suddenly crossed from East to West, rendering it impossible for the defendant to avoid the collision. The defendant also maintained that under the plaintiff’s version, the decedent had disregarded the statute that requires a pedestrian to walk while facing opposing traffic and that even under the plaintiff’s scenario, the decedent was comparatively negligent.

The defendant’s accident reconstruction expert contended that the presence of objects such as the decedent’s glasses and keys in the roadway reflected that the defendant’s version that the accident occurred when the decedent was crossing the street was accurate. The defense expert maintained that if the plaintiff’s version was correct, such objects and the decedent would have been propelled onto the snow covered golf course that was to the right of the roadway.

The decedent was found under the car and died approximately 15 minutes later from massive blunt force trauma. There was no evidence of conscious pain and suffering. The decedent was married and had no children. The plaintiff’s economist discussed approximately $________ in economic losses, including lost wages, household services and the pecuniary value of intangibles such as guidance and advice under Green vs. Bitner.

The jury found that the defendant was not negligent.

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