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Middlesex County, NJ

This action was brought by a flatbed truck driver who was employed by a subcontractor and sent to the yard of the defendant to transport Jersey barriers that were to be installed in a few days on the New Jersey Turnpike by the defendant. The plaintiff contended that the defendant, who was loading the ________ pound, eight foot long barriers with a crane, negligently failed to use spotters to guide the barriers and/or secure the barriers with tag lines to prevent them from spinning out of control while being loaded. The plaintiff was strapping the first row of loaded barriers near the cab while the second row was being loaded on the back of the trailer. The crane operator had loaded the barrier in the second row and was in process of loading another barrier when it spun out of control and struck the already loaded barrier in the second row. The force of the banging knocked that barrier off of the trailer, which crushed the plaintiff’s leg. The plaintiff, who suffered a below-the-knee amputation at the scene, required a surgical above-the-knee amputation approximately one week later, after two unsuccessful operations.

The defendant had a contract with the Turnpike Authority to install the barriers as part of a road construction project several days later. The plaintiff’s OSHA expert would have maintained that the defendant’s crane operator should have used a spotter to help guide the barrier onto the flatbed, and to keep unauthorized people out of the potentially hazardous area. The plaintiff’s expert would have also maintained that the defendant should have utilized so called "tag lines" that would be attached to the barrier and truck and help keep the barrier secured as it was being loaded.

The defendant maintained that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent in remaining in zone of danger during the loading operation. The defendant contended that the plaintiff had been instructed to remain in his cab until the crane operator had completed loading the barriers onto the flatbed truck. The plaintiff denied that he was so advised. The plaintiff also would have pointed out that the defendant’s supervisor, who was in the immediate vicinity as the plaintiff was tying down barriers that had already been loaded into his flatbed, did not tell him to return to his cab.

The plaintiff sustained a below-the-knee amputation at the scene. The plaintiff underwent two surgeries, but because of as a result of wound complications, he needed an above-the-knee amputation. The evidence disclosed that the plaintiff weighed approximately ________ pounds at the time of the incident. The plaintiff’s prosthetic expert would have testified that this factor greatly compromised the plaintiff’s recovery. The plaintiff was able to lose ________ pounds while in rehabilitation, which enabled him to obtain a prosthetic.

The plaintiff contended, however, that the he must be refitted much more frequently than would otherwise be the case because of weight gain or loss. The plaintiff maintained that each time he requires a refitting he is unable to exercise and keep the weight loss momentum going. The plaintiff would have argued that the jury should consider that this factor will create an ongoing struggle for him. The evidence disclosed that after initially losing the weight, the plaintiff gained back about 50 pounds. He is continuing to try and reach the ________ pound goal.

The plaintiff contended that he will have great difficulties obtaining work. The evidence reflected that although the plaintiff has a much higher IQ than normal, he had to quit school after the ninth grade because his father became disabled and he needed to work to contribute to the support of the large family.

The plaintiff has relocated to Pennsylvania where he is close to family. He has renewed his Pennsylvania CDL and is attempting to obtain work driving a truck with an automatic transmission, which may be available. The plaintiff contended, however, that irrespective of the type of truck he uses, climbing in and out of the truck will be problematic and that he clearly faces future income losses. The defendant would have contended that irrespective of the driving issues, the plaintiff can clearly be retrained for more sedentary type work. The plaintiff indicated that he hopes to do so if he is unable to resume driving for a living.The case settled prior to trial for $________.

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