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ARTICLE ID 197259

$________ – MOTOR VEHICLE NEGLIGENCE – MULTI-VEHICLE REAR-END COLLISION INVOLVING CAR AND TWO TRACTOR-TRAILERS – DEFENDANT TRACTOR-TRAILER STOPPED IMMEDIATELY BEHIND PLAINTIFF AUTOMOBILE DRIVER IS STRUCK IN REAR BY ANOTHER CO-DEFENDANT TRACTOR-TRAILER AND PROPELLED ONTO THE ROOF OF CAR, OVERRIDING AND CRUSHING IT – MULTIPLE THORACIC COMPRESSION FRACTURES – FUSION SURGERY – PTSD.

Mercer County, NJ

This action involved a female plaintiff automobile driver, in her early 60s at the time of the settlement, who, while stopped at a traffic light, was struck in the rear by a tractor-trailer driver who was himself struck in the rear by another tractor-trailer driver. The plaintiff maintained that the seat of the tractor-trailer driver directly behind her was improperly mounted and fastened, resulting in the seat breaking upon impact and causing this tractor-trailer driver to be unable to reach the brake, substantially contributing to this tractor-trailer landing on top of the roof of the plaintiff’s car after being struck in the rear by the other tractor-trailer. The plaintiff established from the post-accident inspection that the seat in the tractor-trailer directly behind her was fastened by only two bolts, rather than four bolts, and that these two bolts were improperly situated in the unreinforced, rather than the reinforced, portion of the seat track. The plaintiff maintained that the inadequate connection resulted in the seat fracturing when this tractor-trailer was struck in the rear by the co-defendant tractor-trailer.

The plaintiff maintained that because the seat broke, the driver could not reach the brakes in time to minimize the movement of his vehicle, and that this factor substantially contributed to his tractor-trailer overriding the plaintiff’s car. The defendant tractor-trailer driver immediately behind the plaintiff contended that the sole cause was the negligence of the co-defendant tractor-trailer behind him who struck his rig in the rear and propelled it onto the plaintiff’s car.

The plaintiff contended that she was trapped in the car for approximately one-half hour. The evidence disclosed that as an initial tow truck lifted the tractor-trailer off her car, a second tow truck pulled her car free. The plaintiff suffered multiple thoracic fractures and alleged that conservative care, including physical therapy, was inadequate, and that ultimately, she required fusion surgery. She contended that she will suffer permanent pain and restriction. The plaintiff further contended that she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. She contended that she has continued to suffer anxiety and depression, nightmares and flashbacks of the event.

The plaintiff was retired and made no income claims. The case settled prior to trial for $________, including $________ from the rear-striking defendant tractor-trailer and $________ from the defendant tractor-trailer immediately behind the plaintiff.

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