$1,850,000 Settlement for Fractured Leg
The County of Monmouth agrees to pay $1.85 Million for leg injuries sustained by a 62 year-old Cliffwood Beach resident who was injured in a crash with a Monmouth County Senior Citizen Transport Bus. Lou DeVoto handled the case for Rossetti & DeVoto.
The defendant negligently pulled from a stop sign and drove the bus directly into the path of RD’s client who had no ability to avoid the crushing impact. While RD’s client testified that the bus pulled directly into her path of travel, the defendant bus driver claimed the plaintiff caused the crash by speeding. The crash caused severe, comminuted and displaced fractures to our client’s right leg that required internal and external fixation and that resulted in multiple hospitalizations and rehabilitative care, five surgical procedures, repeated infections and debridement procedures, wound care, and a 1” leg-length discrepancy. Upon discharge, RD’s client lived with relatives for several years before selling her home and moving to an adult community that provided assistance with meals and transportation if necessary.
DeVoto filed an emergent action against the county to preserve evidence and retained accident reconstructionist, David Benn, to inspect the scene, examine the vehicles and re-create the crash before the key evidence was destroyed and before the crash scene changed. DeVoto also uncovered records that showed that the bus driver had a poor driving record and was cleaning buses just a few years earlier. Despite her poor driving record, the County failed to remove the driver from the roadway until after the crash. Had the case gone to trial, DeVoto stated: “we were prepared to demonstrate through our experts and witnesses that the defendant caused the crash and that our client’s fracture was severe and resulted in her being permanently disabled and in need of assistance with her future needs and activities of daily living.” Most of the compensation was paid for pain and suffering as RD’s client was awarded Social Security Disability for her lost wages and only had $30,000 in unpaid medical bills. The defense claimed the plaintiff’s health was already compromised after contracting the swine flu years earlier compromising her physical abilities before the crash.
The case settled shortly before the three week trial was set to begin after a series of mediations presided over by the Honorable James Clyne, Retired Superior Court Judge in Ocean County. RD’s Melissa Mark assisted in all aspects of the case including the mediation memorandum.