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Middlesex County, NJ

Liability was conceded by the defendant truck driver in this case, in which the plaintiff passenger in her non-party mother’s car contended that the defendant tractor-trailer driver – who was turning right behind the host vehicle that was stopped to permit a vehicle to turn left from the opposite direction – negligently struck the host car in the rear and traveled on top of it. The plaintiff maintained that the defendant did not initially realize that an accident had occurred, and that the host car moved backwards until impacting with one of the wheels of the truck. The plaintiff contended that the roof was partially crushed, the windows of the host automobile were blown out, and that its tires were flattened. The plaintiff maintained that she suffered a cervical herniation that required an endoscopic discectomy and fusion surgery, a rotator cuff tear that was treated with two arthroscopic interventions, and a manipulation under anesthesia.

The evidence disclosed that the plaintiff’s daughter was also in the car. She, and the plaintiff’s mother/host driver, was not involved in this litigation. The plaintiff maintained that she was very afraid for her own well-being, and that of her mother and daughter. She maintained that she developed severe pain in the neck and shoulder areas after the collision, and contended that a cervical herniation and rotator cuff tear of the shoulder on the dominant side were confirmed by MRI. The plaintiff embarked on a course of very extensive conservative care – including physical therapy, and supported that the conservative a course provided limited improvement only. The plaintiff underwent cervical fusion surgery, and the plaintiff maintained that although the surgery provided relief as to the radicular symptoms, she continued to suffer very significant cervical pain, which will continue permanently.

The plaintiff further supported that because of extensive pain and difficulties moving the arm, she underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery to treat the rotator cuff tear on the dominant side. She asserted that the surgery had very limited results, and that she underwent a second arthroscopic shoulder surgery, which also failed to provide very significant improvement. The plaintiff maintained that she will permanently experience great limitations in the ability to use her dominant arm, and that she has extensive difficulties with everyday activities. The defendant denied that the plaintiff’s claims should be accepted, and contended that the diagnostic imaging studies showed very significant degenerative disc disease, and maintained that any continuing symptoms stemmed from this factor. The plaintiff countered she had no prior symptoms, and opined that any pre-existing degenerative disc disease was quiescent.

The plaintiff made no income claims.The jury awarded $________.

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