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Essex County, NJ

This was an action involving a then 79-year-old plaintiff who was walking in the non-party pharmacy’s parking lot and had almost reached the entrance when a delivery truck suddenly traveled in reverse and ran over her with the rear wheels. The plaintiff contended that she suffered pelvic fractures and severe degloving injuries to both thighs. The plaintiff maintained the despite some 16 surgical interventions, she will suffer severe cosmetic deformities to the both thighs permanently. The delivery truck, owned by a local individual, was painted in such a manner that it appeared to reflect that it was one of the national delivery company’s fleet. The evidence also reflected that the national company had agreed, in its contract with the truck owner, to be responsible for any liability.

The delivery truck had been double parked next to the entrance and the presence of the truck at this location obstructed vehicles parked alongside of the store. The plaintiff would have presented eyewitness testimony that reflected that the driver of one of the parked cars sounded his horn to the delivery truck driver and that he hurriedly backed out, failing to make observations of the plaintiff walking behind his truck. The defendant would have maintained that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent, especially since the truck engine was left running when the driver began to walk towards the store.

The delivery truck driver indicated in discovery that a backup alarm was not present. The owner of the truck maintained that when he was called immediately after the accident, he rushed to the area, placed the packages in another delivery truck and confirmed that a working backup alarm was present. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert would have testified that when he conducted his inspection of the delivery truck, such a device was present, but was not functioning. The delivery truck was not required by law to have such an alarm.

The delivery truck had a camera to assist in the driver making observations when traveling in reverse. The plaintiff would have contended that the failure to observe and avoid the plaintiff was all the more egregious because of the failure to effectively use this device. The plaintiff would have argued, however, that either the defendant driver failed to use the resource already on the truck or that the owner negligently failed to adequately maintain it.

The plaintiff contended that she sustained multiple pelvic fractures and required surgery. The plaintiff maintained that the permanent pain and difficulties ambulating are very significant, especially because of the formation of arthritis. The plaintiff also contended that she suffered severe degloving injuries to both inner thighs and underwent some 16 surgical interventions, including skin grafts and debridements. The plaintiff maintained that despite the treatment, she will permanently suffer particularly severe cosmetic deficits on both sides of the inner thigh.

The plaintiff lives in an over-55 community. She contended that prior to the collision, she frequently enjoyed using the facility’s swimming pool, and that she is now too embarrassed to wear a swim suit. The plaintiff would have argued that the pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life was extensive and warranted a very significant award, notwithstanding her age of 79 years old at the time of the incident. The case settled prior to trial for $________.

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