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ARTICLE ID 21198

$________ Plaintiff falls from bicycle onto roadway in Livingston Township - Allegedly defective roadway due to depression in road surface - Alleged faulty bicycle helmet design - Coma - Partial loss of vision - Permanent cognitive loss involving higher function loss.

Essex County

The plaintiff contended that as he was riding his bicycle, he hit a depression in the road on Tremont Terrace in Livingston Township which caused him to crash. The plaintiff maintained that the defendant Township of Livingston had notice of the depression in the roadway and yet negligently failed to repair the road surface. In addition, the plaintiff maintained that the helmet designed by the codefendant Troxel Cycling & Fitness Co. did not have sufficient padding, resulting in the plaintiff suffering debilitating brain trauma. The defendant Livingston Township disputed that there was a defect in the roadway.

The evidence revealed that on June 11, ________, the plaintiff, who was a then 53-year-old male electrical engineer, was riding his bicycle on Tremont Terrace in Livingston. The plaintiff argued that as a result of hitting a depression in the roadway, he crashed and fell onto his nose and cheek with such force that his nose bone was pushed up into his brain, causing the plaintiff to suffer debilitating brain trauma. At trial, the plaintiff would have offered the testimony from two witnesses, who would have stated that the street was defective and dangerous at the time of the incident. In addition, the plaintiff would have offered evidence that the Township of Livingston had been previously requested by local residents to repair this section of the roadway.

The plaintiff further claimed that the codefendant Troxel Cycling & Fitness of San Diego was also liable because their helmet, which the plaintiff was wearing at the time, was not properly designed in that it had insufficient padding so that when the plaintiff fell, the helmet did not adequately protect the plaintiff from brain injury.

The evidence revealed that the plaintiff landed on his cheek and nose with such force that his nose bone was pushed up into his brain, causing extensive brain injury and coma. The plaintiff also sustained partial loss of vision. Additionally, the plaintiff maintained that he suffered permanent cognitive loss of higher functions and lost the ability to reason and to do mathematical equations. The defense did not dispute the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries so that if the case had not settled before trial, the only issue would have been liability.

The codefendant Troxel argued that there was no design flaw with its helmet and that it was not designed to protect a person from injuries that could be sustained from falling face forward. At trial, the codefendant would have offered expert testimony to support this position.

The defendant Township of Livingston contended that the area of the roadway where plaintiff fell had been inspected some two months prior to the accident and that no substantial defect was noted at the time of this inspection. In addition, the Township of Livingston would have offered the testimony of two witnesses who would have stated that they did not observe any defect in the roadway at the time of the fall. There were no witnesses to the actual fall.

On the third day of trial, after the parties made their opening statements, a settlement was reached between the plaintiff and the defendant Township of Livingston. The claim against the codefendant Troxel was settled before trial during the course of mediation. Pursuant to the settlement agreements, the Township of Livingston will pay the plaintiff, $________ with the codefendant Troxel agreed to pay the plaintiff $________ in cash and $________ as an annuity to be paid $________ monthly for life.

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