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ARTICLE ID 198578

$________ – MOTOR VEHICLE NEGLIGENCE – HEAD-ON COLLISION – PICK-UP TRUCK DRIVER LOSES CONTROL AND CAUSES FATAL HEAD-ON CRASH – DECEDENT OBSERVED TO BE CONSCIOUS AND MOANING ON SIDE OF ROAD FOR SEVERAL MINUTES BEFORE LOSING CONSCIOUSNESS – SEVERAL SECONDS OF PRE-IMPACT TERROR AND FRIGHT – DECEDENT SURVIVED BY SPOUSE.

Monmouth County, NJ

In this motor vehicle wrongful death action, the plaintiff contended that the defendant pickup truck driver lost control, swerved into the oncoming lane and struck the female 50-year old decedent’s car head-on. The driver was in the employee of the defendant company that provided logistical services for the non-party JCP & L, involving the review of the trimming of trees and foliage in proximity to power lines. The plaintiff maintained that the defendant driver’s record reflected some five accidents and 12 violations on his DMV abstract in the past five years, including careless driving and improper lane changes, and that under the contractor’s policy, his driving record should have precluded him for the job, which entailed providing him the pickup truck which he could keep 24 hours per day. The plaintiff contended that the decision by the defendant to hire him at the urging of the defendant driver’s father, who was a long time employee of the utility, justified punitive damages. The defendant had $________ in primary coverage and a $________ umbrella.

The decedent was an R.N. and school nurse and the collision occurred on Rt. 34 as she was en route to school. The defendant driver traveled into the oncoming lane, two vehicles in front of the decedent swerved out of the way, and several seconds later, the defendant crashed into the decedent’s car. The plaintiff contended that the decedent experienced a short period of pre-impact fright and terror. The plaintiff presented a number of witnesses who related that they observed the decedent on the side of the road, moaning and gasping for breath for several minutes before she appeared to lose consciousness.

The plaintiff’s expert internist contended that the decedent, who died from massive trauma, experienced a few minutes of conscious pain and suffering. The widower had been the chairman of the New Jersey Civil Service Commission. He had been diagnosed with ALS several years earlier. The plaintiff’s expert pulmonologist contended that with appropriate respiratory therapy patients, typically live 15 years and are able to avoid becoming ventilator dependent for a significant period. The expert maintained that at time, patients opt not to use a ventilator when needed because they are afraid of experiencing "locked-in syndrome." The plaintiff’s pulmonologist related that it was anticipated that when his breathing difficulties increase, the decedent would provide extensive care, which was very significant with the husband exceeding most benchmarks associated with the disease.

The plaintiff’s economist projected losses of approximately $________, including lost income and the replacement value of the care provided to the widower. The case settled prior to trial for $________.

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