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Salem County, NJ

The 49-year-old plaintiff, a nurse walking in the hospital parking lot on her way to work, contended that the defendant bus driver negligently struck her with the right front of the bus, causing a skull fracture and subdural hematoma. The plaintiff contended that despite surgery, she suffered permanent deficits involving memory and concentration and that the plaintiff, who worked as a full time charge nurse prior to the incident, now works approximately two days per week only. The defendant would have contended that the plaintiff failed to make proper observations and was comparatively negligent.

The plaintiff maintained that after she walked approximately 85% of the way from her to car to the hospital, and as she was crossing the travel lane to reach the sidewalk beyond this lane, she was struck by the right front of the bus. The plaintiff elicited testimony from the bus driver during discovery that as she drove by the area, she was checking her mirrors and the plaintiff would have maintained that it was clear that the driver negligently failed to make adequate observations. The plaintiff would have also presented a bus passenger who would have testified as to observing the plaintiff cross before impact.

The evidence disclosed that the hospital had both north and south entrance areas. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert would have maintained that the bus company should have used a different route to reach the bus stop in question that would have entailed using the other entrance and a service road. The plaintiff’s expert would have concluded that by doing so, the bus driver would have reduced the amount of pedestrian traffic that the bus would confront and the plaintiff would have argued that the bus company was negligent in its own right, and not only vicariously liable for the negligence of its driver.

The plaintiff contended that when she was struck by the right front of the bus, she struck the windshield and then fell to the ground. The plaintiff suffered a skull fracture and subdural hematoma. The plaintiff was carried into the hospital. The evidence reflected that the physicians appreciated that the injuries were too serious to be addressed at the local hospital and the plaintiff was transported by helicopter to a tertiary care center in Delaware where surgery was performed and the subdural hematoma was evacuated. The plaintiff was an in-patient for approximately one week.

The plaintiff contended that although she made very good improvement, from a neuropsychological standpoint in deficits involving memory and concentration, she continues to have extensive difficulties in this area. The plaintiff would have contended that it is likely that the deficits are related to a psychological reaction to the injuries, and are permanent in nature. The plaintiff would have also contended that in discovery, the defendant’s experts did not dispute that the plaintiff has continuing symptoms or that such symptoms were permanent in nature.

The plaintiff would have introduced evidence that she was earning approximately $________ per year as a charge nurse. The plaintiff contended that because of the injuries, she can no longer work full time and currently works as a nurse approximately two days per week. The plaintiff would have maintained that her wage losses are very extensive.The case settled prior to trial for $________.

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