On February 15, 2005, in Rahway, New Jersey, the plaintiff was driving northbound on St. Georges Avenue, approaching its intersection with Linden Avenue. Suddenly another vehicle traveling southbound on St. Georges made a left turn in front of the plaintiff’s vehicle just as she was crossing the intersection with Linden. The plaintiff had no chance to avoid a collision. The front of her vehicle collided with the passenger side of the other vehicle. The crash pushed her forward. Her right foot was on the brake and the impact broke her ankle. An ambulance crew braced and boarded plaintiff and transported her to Robert Wood Johnson hospital.
CT scan testing conducted at the hospital indicated a comminuted fracture through the body of the right ankle’s calcaneus bone, with the fracture reaching the right foot’s subtalar joint space. Later MRI testing of the plaintiff’s neck indicated disc bulging at the C3-4 and C4-5 levels, impressing on the anterior thecal sac at each level and straightening and reversal of the normal cervical lordotic curvature, consistent with muscle spasm.
Plaintiff’s fractured ankle required several weeks of immobilization in a lower-leg cast, followed by a course of physical therapy. In the meantime, she lost 35 weeks of work from her full-time job as a US Postal clerk. Because of permanent pain and swelling in the ankle, as well as a gait disturbance, the plaintiff was forced to return to her job at part-time hours.
Attorneys Amos Gern and James Meszaros initially settled the underlying bodily injury claim for $75,000, which represented the full limits of the two separate insurance policies for the owner and driver of the vehicle that struck the plaintiff. An additional $112,500 was recovered from the plaintiff’s own underinsured-motorist (UIM) carrier.
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