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ARTICLE ID 197459

$________ Motor Vehicle Negligence – Single vehicle collision – Defendant host automobile driver loses control as he enters curve on roadway and strikes fence – Defendant driver contends oncoming co-defendant oil truck driver swerves into his lane, causing him to lose control – Wrongful death.

Burlington County, NJ

This case involved a 17-year-old passenger who was killed when the defendant host driver lost control and struck a fence on the side of the roadway that contained one lane in each direction. The plaintiff maintained that the host driver was clearly negligent. The plaintiff further contended that the defendant fuel oil truck driver failed to control his vehicle after making a nearby delivery. The defendant fuel oil truck driver denied involvement. This defendant pointed to the testimony of a motorist approaching from behind the host vehicle shortly after the incident occurred who observed no indication that contradicted the oil truck driver’s position. The plaintiff also produced an expert engineer who contended that a fence owned by a neighborhood resident was too close to the roadway, contributing to the death. The plaintiff’s engineer maintained that under applicable standards, the fence, which was slightly less than 20 feet from the roadway, should have been at least 30 feet away.

The defendant homeowner denied that the plaintiff’s position should be accepted, and that any code violation occurred. The homeowner also pointed out that a barn situated across the roadway was much closer to the edge of the roadway. There was no evidence of conscious pain and suffering. The decedent was unmarried and had no children. The decedent’s parents, who never married, did not live together. The plaintiff contended that the decedent provided extensive guidance and advice to his parents and that the plaintiff’s life care planning expert discussed elements of Green/Bitner damages, which when totaled, approximated $________ before reducing to present value, based upon each of the parents living until age 95.

The defendants contended that such claims were highly speculative, unrealistic and should clearly be rejected.The case settled prior to trial for $________, including $________ from the defendant host driver, $________ from the defendant fuel oil driver, and $________ from the homeowner. The father and mother each received one-half.

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