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Mercer County, NJ

This action involved a plaintiff driver, in her late 30s at the time of the collision, who was proceeding on a rural road containing one travel lane in each direction. The plaintiff contended that the defendant failed to pay adequate attention and that when he was confronted with a car stopped next to a vegetable/fruit stand; he swerved into on-coming traffic rather than to the right, causing the head-on crash. The plaintiff maintained that she sustained massive internal injuries, including a transection of the small bowel and multiple small bowel perforations and underwent a laparotomy. The plaintiff also contended that she suffered a severe hernia in which multiple organs protruded into the lower quadrant and which was surgically addressed approximately three years after the collision. Finally, the plaintiff maintained that she suffered a closed head injury and mild TBI that was probably associated with the airbag deployment. The plaintiff contended that she will suffer permanent deficits involving memory and concentration.

The plaintiff maintained that had the defendant been paying adequate attention, he would have been able to stop his vehicle rather than swerve. The plaintiff also contended that the defendant could have swerved to the right in the rural area rather than into on-coming traffic. The evidence disclosed that a rural type mailbox encased in a cement stand was in the direct vicinity of the collision site.

The plaintiff contended that the collision involved extensive property damage and that the plaintiff was extracted from the car. She was transported from the scene to the hospital by helicopter. The internal injuries were considered life threatening. The plaintiff underwent immediate surgery in which the transection of small bowel and multiple bowel perforations were repaired. The plaintiff contended that the permanent disfiguring scarring from the abdominal injuries, as well as pain and weakness are permanent in nature.

The evidence disclosed that once the plaintiff’s condition stabilized, the arm and leg fractures were surgically addressed and that the plaintiff underwent open reductions and the insertion of hardware. The plaintiff also sustained fractures to the calcaneus that were treated conservatively. The plaintiff contended that the pain and restriction from the orthopedic injures is permanent and render performing everyday tasks much more difficult. The plaintiff maintained that although she is independent in the activities of daily living, she finds activities painful, especially if she attempts to carry items that weigh more than a minimal amount or kneels. The plaintiff, who is single parent, would have related that she significantly depends upon her son in his early 20s, who resides at home.

The plaintiff developed a hernia in which multiple organs began protruding into the left lower quadrant. The plaintiff could not undergo hernia surgery for three years because of financial reasons. The plaintiff maintained that although ultimately repaired weakness and some pain, as well a significant additional scarring, will remain permanently.

The plaintiff had been an RN who worked through an agency and the evidence reflected that she had not worked in the several-month period leading up to the accident. The plaintiff maintained, however, that she would have resumed working, but for the injuries. The plaintiff had been earning approximately $________ to $________ per year. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff could perform work that was more administrative in nature and command comparable earnings. The plaintiff countered that because of the mild TBI associated with the closed head trauma, she suffered permanent neuropsychological deficits that involved memory and concentration difficulties that will prevent her from concentrating sufficiently to adequately discharge such duties. The plaintiff would have argued that it is highly likely that she will be permanently unable to work and will suffer extensive future economic losses.The defendant had $________ in primary coverage and $________ in excess coverage. The plaintiff settled with the excess carrier for the policy limits on May 30, ________, and settled with the primary carrier for its limits on June 6, ________.

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