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ARTICLE ID 21475

$________ Negligent assembly of ATV purchased from defendant - Plaintiff loses control and strikes a fence - Arm fracture.

Ocean County

This was an action involving a female plaintiff, who along with her husband, had purchased a pair of ATVs for each other as anniversary gifts. The ATVs were assembled by the defendant dealership. The shock absorbers consisted of a spring on top and a hydraulic sensor situated on the lower portion of the shock absorber. The plaintiff contended that although her husband’s vehicle was assembled properly, the defendant negligently installed the shock absorber upside down in the plaintiff’s vehicle. The evidence disclosed that such a mistake would not have a significant impact on the functioning of the vehicle in-and-of itself. The plaintiff contended, however, that shortly after purchasing it, she complained to her husband that the ride was not smooth. The husband related that after consulting the manual, he changed the settings of the shock absorber to render the ride smoother. The plaintiff contended that because of the improper assembly, the settings were changed in the wrong direction with the ride of the ATV becoming significantly rougher. The plaintiff and her husband maintained that after making the change and before the plaintiff again rode the vehicle, they contacted the defendant and confirmed that the directions in the manual were correct. The plaintiff contended that within 15 seconds of commencing to ride, she lost control and struck a fence.

The defendant denied that the plaintiff’s claims should be accepted. The defendant contended that the plaintiff was, in fact, operating her husband’s much more powerful ATV when the accident occurred. The defendant would have produced the investigating officer whose report reflected that the plaintiff indicated that the accident occurred because she was not sufficiently aware of the proximity of the fence. The officer’s report also contained the husband’s VIN and insurance card numbers. The officer had indicated in discovery that he obtained the information at the scene.

The plaintiff contended that the officer must have obtained this information from the hospital records and maintained that the husband had mistakenly given his temporary card to the hospital staff. The plaintiff maintained that the report contained his temporary insurance number only, arguing that it was clear that the officer obtained this information from the hospital records and not at the scene as claimed by him.

The plaintiff contended that she sustained a compound, comminuted fracture of the non-dominant arm that required surgery and the p 7 3 use of an external fixation device. The plaintiff further contended that she will suffer some permanent pain and restriction. The plaintiff made no future income claims.

The case settled prior to trial for $________.

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