Levinson Axelrod, P.A. continues to strengthen its reputation for achieving significant verdicts and awards on behalf of its clients. Here are some of our most recent cases and recoveries.
$8,000,000.00 Jury Verdict - A 35-year old laborer who resides in Kearny was seriously injured while working on the median of a highway when a passing tractor-trailer lost a wheel that struck him. Evidence at trial established that after a recent tire change, the lug nuts were not properly secured by both the owner and the independent contractor who had installed the tire. The plaintiff suffered severe head and orthopedic injuries and is now totally disabled as a result of the accident. The case was tried by Ronald Grayzel and James Dunn before a Hudson County jury.
$7,000,000.00 Settlement - A Middlesex County man was severely injured and burned as a result of a collision with a truck. The truck driver had lost control of his vehicle and had come through a median barrier which had failed to redirect the truck away from oncoming traffic. Expert testimony established that the median barrier was defective and therefore failed to protect motorists from this type of accident. The case was handled by Richard Levinson.
$7,000,000.00 Jury Verdict - A Middlesex County jury awarded Seven Million Dollars to a woman injured by electrical shock from a carnival amusement ride. The woman was putting her 3-year old son on a ride and was holding onto a portable fence when she received an electrical shock. The victim was hospitalized and later developed traumatic dystonia, a condition that caused tremors in her hand and made her fingers curl. The case was tried by James Dunn and Adam Rothenberg.
$6,000,000.00 Jury Verdict - A female drunk driver crashed into plaintiff’s vehicle causing multiple fractures to the right ankle and foot. Plaintiff suffered a comminuted and crushed type fracture to the right tibia, fracture to the right talus and crush fracture to the right calcaneus. Large fracture blisters developed the next day and plaintiff was unable to have surgery for several months after the accident. The fractured bones healed with misalignment. Plaintiff’s doctor testified that plaintiff would be under pain management protocol for the rest of his life due to this condition. Plaintiff’s only other option was to have a complicated fusion procedure which would result in a club foot. The chance of success of the surgery would be 50/50 and there were substantial risks involved. Plaintiff testified that the drug management caused him insomnia, constipation and a severely negative impact on his relationships. David Wheaton successfully tried this case in Superior Court of Ocean County.
$3,700,000.00 Settlement - A Morristown woman was injured by a tractor trailer that lost control on black ice on Interstate 287. The defendant’s truck had jack knifed as it was changing lanes in order to avoid an earlier accident. The accident resulted in a severe head injuries.
$3,500,000.00 Jury Verdict - The plaintiff was injured in this products liability action when a step on his commercial truck collapsed as he was exiting his vehicle. Ronald Grayzel tried this matter before a Middlesex County jury and argued that the steps manufactured by defendant were defective. Defendants denied this allegation and instead argued that the accident could not have occurred in the manner alleged by plaintiff.
$3,000,000 – Levinson Axelrod Partner Brett Greiner wins $3,000,000 jury verdict for slip and fall victim.
$3,000,000.00 Jury Verdict - A jury awarded $3 million dollars to an Edison delivery man who slipped on a wet floor while delivering a package. He broke his knee and suffered an injury to his spine in the fall, which in turn aggravated pre-existing conditions of incontinence and impotence which had been caused by previous injuries.
$3,000,000.00 Settlement - A 31-year old iron worker was injured in a construction site accident when he was struck in the head by a cinder block. Despite the facts that he was wearing a hard hat at the time, the plaintiff still received a serious closed head injury resulting in both memory loss and total disability. The case was handled by both Richard Levinson and James Dunn and settled at the time of trial.
$3,000,000.00 Jury Verdict - Asbestos exposure by a worker resulting in asbestosis and lung cancer. Evidence at trial proved asbestos to be a defective product, which causes harm to workers who use it. Jury awarded the victim’s widow damages for wrongful death.
$2,700,000.00 Jury Verdict - A mother of nine was shot and killed while working at a convenience store. Evidence at trial proved a lack of adequate security, including a panic button and outgoing phone line, had placed this worker at risk. Expert testimony also established that there was an increased risk of criminal activity in convenience stores which had inadequate surveillance equipment. This testimony was supported by a survey of criminal activity at convenience stores in the surrounding area. The matter was tried by Ronald Grayzel, upheld on Appeal, and settled prior to being reviewed by the New Jersey Supreme Court.
$2.5 Million Settlement – Ronald Grayzel represented a young man seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. Plaintiff was riding to work when the other driver made a left hand turn in front of the motorcycle. The plaintiff had no memory of the accident. Plaintiff had a number of serious fractures, underwent surgeries and was left with disabilities. Plaintiff was able to work. Case settled on the second day of trial.
$2,500,000.00 Settlement - The plaintiff was injured while delivering a 3,000 pound piece of equipment to defendant’s premises. The defendant’s employees were assisting the plaintiff in unloading the product when one of them prematurely activated the lift gate, thereby causing the piece of equipment to fall and strike the plaintiff’s legs. The plaintiff suffered serious injuries to both legs, which required multiple surgical interventions. The matter was handled by Richard Levinson.
$2,250,000.00 Jury Verdict - The plaintiff injured her ankle when she stepped into a cement cut out in a commercial sidewalk where a tree had been planted. The plaintiff had been walking on the sidewalk on her way to a down town holiday festival. Her attention had been distracted by a negligently placed chestnut grilling stand, thereby diverting her attention away from the cut out. The plaintiff brought a claims against both the property owner and the operator of the chestnut stand. As a result of her accident, she sustained a badly sprained ankle and went on to develop Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. The case was tried by Mark Kuminski.
$2,100,000.00 Settlement - In this products liability action against various pharmaceutical companies, Ronald Grayzel argued that the defendants had failed to manufacture a safe product for use by hemophiliacs, thereby resulting in HIV and AIDS infections. Evidence established that the use of defendants’ products actually transmitted the HIV virus.
$2,000,000.00 Settlement - A construction worker was injured when he fell down a flight of poorly maintained steps at a jobsite at J.F.K. Medical Center. The worker suffered serious injuries to his back and lower extremities. Evidence established that the general contractor on the jobsite had failed to make proper repairs to the steps.
$2,000,000.00 Judgment - David Wheaton handled this matter in which a truck driver was injured in a chain collision type accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. The defendant had been operating a tractor trailer in front of the plaintiff’s vehicle and had jack knifed in an attempt to bring its vehicle to an abrupt stop. The plaintiff’s vehicle then struck the defendant’s trailer from behind, causing the plaintiff serious leg injuries which resulted in amputation.
$1,800,000.00 Settlement - Levinson Axelrod, P.A. helped the operator of an aquarium business to obtain a $1.8 million dollar settlement for permanently disabling injuries he suffered when he fell through a deck at a client’s house. The plaintiff had arranged to feed the client’s fish while he was away, and in attempting to retrieve the keys to the house from behind a bar next to the swimming pool, he fell through a rotted plank, thereby receiving serious injuries.
$1,750,000.00 Settlement - A father and daughter were killed in motor vehicle accident when the vehicle in which they were passengers was struck by defendant’s delivery truck. Evidence established during discovery revealed that the delivery truck driver had run a red light and was also speeding at the time of the accident. Accident occurred in Essex County.
$1,640,000.00 Settlement - A California man contracted Legionnaires Disease while staying at a local Hotel while in New Jersey on business. After retuning to California, his condition was discovered and he ultimately died as a result of the exposure. This matter was handled by Ronald Grayzel who brought claims against not only the hotel, but the local water company, as well.
$1,600,000.00 Jury Verdict - A legal secretary fell down a defective set of stairs on her way to pick up the mail for her employer. In a case tried to conclusion before a Middlesex County jury, David Wheaton was able to obtain a verdict in the amount of 1.6 million dollars. The client had sustained multiple injuries resulting in surgical procedures to her arm and shoulders.
$1,600,000.00 Settlement - A utility worker sustained serious orthopedic injuries when a defective bolt on a utility pole gave way, causing him to fall. Ronald Grayzel handled this products liability matter for the plaintiff, filing suit against the seller of the bolt and establishing that the bolt was manufactured improperly.
$1,500,000.00 Settlement - An Essex County construction worker was injured when the roof trusses he was installing collapsed, thereby causing him to fall backwards from the roof. In a matter handled by Mark Kuminski, it was alleged that the General Contractor on the project was negligent in allowing the work to be performed in an unsafe manner. The plaintiff suffered injuries to his neck and back and was ultimately required to undergo surgery.
$1,500,000.00 Jury Verdict - An Elizabeth County man lost the use of one of his eyes after being assaulted while a customer in defendant’s commercial establishment. Plaintiff argued that defendant had prior notice that several of the patrons in the bar had been acting in an unruly manner and had defendant responded appropriately, the assault could have been avoided. It was likewise argued that had defendant contacted the police earlier , the plaintiff’s injuries would not have been nearly as severe. The matter was tried by Ronald Grayzel.
$1,500,000.00 Settlement - Improperly stacked shelving fell at the defendant’s warehouse in Middletown, N.J., causing the plaintiff to suffer a closed head injury with resulting memory loss and cognitive abnormalities. The case was settled by David Wheaton.
$1,500,000.00 Settlement - A father and son received this settlement after being hit by a limousine. Both the father and son received severe injuries to their knees and legs. They were loading baggage into their car in front of one of the terminals at Newark Airport when a limousine driver, in an argument with a police officer, suddenly gunned his engine. The limousine jumped forward and struck the two men and their car.
$1,500,000.00 Settlement - This case involved toxic exposure to an instrument cold sterilization chemical used by healthcare professionals. The plaintiff’s injuries included severe asthma and permanent pulmonary disability. The chemical had a prior history of causing illness in people who were exposed to it, yet the manufacturer continued to distribute it. The matter was handled by Ronald Grayzel.
$1,500,000.00 Settlement - This settlement was reached for the wrongful death of a 36-year old Parsippany man. The accident, which occurred in Pennsylvania, resulted when a bus driver lost control of his bus and collided with the rear end of a tractor trailer. The case was venued in Federal District Court.
$1,400,000.00 Settlement - A patron at a recreational site was struck by a golf type vehicle, which had been left unattended and was then driven by a 5 year old. David Wheaton settled this Ocean County case at the court house where it had been scheduled for trial.
$1.250M FOR PASSENGER IN ONE CAR ACCIDENT
A Howell Twp. teenager has agreed to accept a $1,250,000.00 settlement in Monmouth County on Oct. 20, 2010 for injuries suffered as a passenger in a one car accident. On April 11, 2008, the driver of the car plaintiff was riding in lost control of his vehicle on Nomoco Road in Freehold Twp. N.J. resulting in a violate crash against a tree. According to David T. Wheaton of Howell’s Levinson Axelrod, P.A., both the driver and the plaintiff were unconscious and were pulled out of the car to safety by passing motorists before it burst into flames.
Plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury with objective evidence of axonal damage resulting in major memory loss, poor concentration and cognitive deficits. His orthopedic injuries were fractures to the left jaw and sinus, transverse process fractures to T1-T4 and deep lacerations to the tendons of his left hand requiring plastic surgery. Mr. Springer also required a tracheotomy and a feeding tube. Plaintiff was hospitalized at Jersey Shore Medical Center for 4/11-08-4/28/08 and thereafter at Children’s Specialized Hospital 4/28/08-5/17/08. At the time of the accident, plaintiff was a senior in high school. Expert vocational/economist, Ph. D. Robert Wolf was prepared to testify regarding his wage loss given the diminished capacity. The proceeds of the settlement on behalf of plaintiff will be put into a Trust to pay for his special needs throughout his life.
$1,250,000.00 Settlement – A Howell Twp. teenager has agreed to accept a $1,250,000.00 settlement in Monmouth County on Oct. 20, 2010 for injuries suffered as a passenger in a one car accident. The case was settled by David Wheaton.
$1,250,000.00 Settlement - Settlement was reached for a man who was caused to fall down a set of stairs at a commercial establishment. The fall was caused by materials that were left by the defendant at the top of the stairs, thereby causing the victim to trip and sustain severe back and bladder injuries. Expert testimony established that the materials left on defendant’s steps created a substantial tripping hazard and violated known safety standards in the industry.
$1,200,000.00 Settlement - Ocean County – This matter arose out of a slip and fall incident that occured in January 2007. The Plaintiff parked his vehicle at a mall, took one step to get out, and slipped and fell on black ice rendering him unconscious for a few minutes. As a result of the fall, the Plaintiff sustained injuries to his back and neck requiring surgery, impaired vision requiring prism glasses, an inner ear injury requiring surgery, and shoulder surgery. As a result of these injuries, Plaintiff was disabled from work. This matter was handled by Kimberly Gozsa and David Wheaton who brought claims against the landowner and the snow removal company.
$1,200,000.00 Settlement - A Passaic man was injured on a construction project when an improperly constructed ladder he was working on collapsed. As a result, he fell and suffered fractures to both legs. This matter was handled and settled by Richard Levinson.
$1,100,000.00 Jury Verdict - A jury awarded a police officer 1.1 million dollars when he fell on a defective set of stairs while attempting to apprehend a fleeing suspect. The plaintiff had suffered an injury to his back. The plaintiff was able to establish that his back injury was primarily a result of this fall, rather than a subsequent fall from a moving car in which he re-injured his back.
$1,100,000.00 Settlement - An Ocean County man was injured while operating a motorcycle when an oncoming car attempted to make a left hand turn in front of him. He suffered a brachial plexus injury, as well as injuries to his neck. The matter was handled by David Wheaton.
$1,100,000 Settlement - The plaintiff slipped and fell on a wet floor in the vestibule of the office building where she worked. It was snowing outside at the time, and the landlord had removed the floor mat, but had failed to replace it before the accident occurred. The plaintiff sustained an injury to her neck for which she was required to undergo surgery. The matter was handled by Mark Kuminski of our office.
$1,050,000.00 Settlement - This settlement was awarded to a 63-year old Woodbridge woman and the estate of her husband. She was seriously injured, and her 59-year old husband killed, when their car was hit by a car full of teenagers who had been drinking. The settlement was against the driver of the car and against the parents who had allowed the underage drinking to take place in their home.
$1M for Dog-Bite Injuries
A former model whose face was permanently scarred by a dog bite settled her Monmouth County suit against the dog’s owner for $1 million on Feb. 28.
On Aug. 4, 2008, Plaintiff, 37, was a patron at a local farm and was bit by a Labrador retriever when the dog lunged at her and bit her in the face. Plaintiff lost most of her right upper lip and part of her right lower lip in the attack, which required emergency surgery, three subsequent plastic surgeries, injections, and caused scarring, permanent discoloration, and frequent chapping and scabbing. Plaintiff had not modeled in several years but wished to maintain the option of returning to the industry, which her injuries would preclude. She had been working as a spa director at a resort before the attack but was replaced because she missed work for medical treatment. David Wheaton, Esq., of Levinson Axelrod, P.A., argued strict liability under New Jersey’s dog-bite statute, and claimed the business negligently allowed the dog to remain in the presence of customers despite its attack on another patron three days before. He successfully negotiated the settlement of $1M in this matter.
$1,000,000.00 Judgment - A Middlesex County man was involved in a motor vehicle accident with a tractor trailer and subsequently ejected from his vehicle. The plaintiff had very little recollection of the facts surrounding the accident and liability had to be established through the use of an accident reconstruction expert. The plaintiff suffered injuries to his head, neck, back and leg, and was required to undergo surgery for same. The matter was handled by Mark Kuminski.
$1,000,000.00 Settlement - This settlement was agreed to during trial for an injured worker who fell from a roof. Through expert testimony, it was established that the workers should have been provided with fall protection to prevent this type of accident. The fall resulted in severe back injured and future disabilities. The case was tried by Richard Levinson and James Dunn.
$1,000,000.00 Settlement - Richard Levinson handled this matter on behalf of a 33-year old sanitation worker who suffered severe and debilitating injuries when he was caught in a garbage compactor while working for the City of Linden. The garbage compactor had insufficient warning devices, so that the victim was unaware that the tail gate was descending. It was alleged at the time of trial that the lack of sufficient warning devices made the garbage compacter a defectively designed product and under New Jersey Products Liability law, and therefore the plaintiff was entitled to compensation.
$995,000 for Worksite Injury Jury Verdict Orgonas v. J.V. Palmonari Inc.:
A Middlesex County jury awarded $995,000 on Sept. 21 to an ironworker who suffered foot fractures and soft-tissue injuries in a fall at a Perth Amboy construction site.
Wayne Orgonas, a subcontractor’s employee, fell as he stepped from a ladder onto a beam on Aug. 19, 2002, plunging 28 feet. In his suit, filed in Middlesex County, Orgonas claimed the prime steel contractor, J.V. Palmonari Inc. of Milmay, failed to provide safety nets or harnesses.
Palmonari, represented by Bruce Bendix of Rivkin Radler in Uniondale, N.Y., answered that it was not required to do so and that Orgonas was negligent in the manner in which he stepped off the ladder.
Orgonas, 38, of Sayreville, has required five surgeries on his right foot as a result of the injuries and has been unable to return to work, says his lawyer, Ronald Grayzel of Levinson Axelrod, P.A. in Edison. Grayzel’s expert testified that Orgonas would suffer significant knee, hip and ankle problems.
The defense showed a surveillance video of Orgonas running to cross a street, but Grayzel says the video did not contradict Orgonas’ testimony because he never said he could not move quickly.
The jury found Palmonari negligent and awarded Orgonas $900,000 for pain and suffering, $53,000 for medical expenses and $42,000 for lost wages.
Superior Court Judge Jane Cantor presided at the trial.
On October 3, 2007, at approximately 10:25 p.m., the plaintiff was working for a trucking company. His truck was parked at a truck stop when the Defendant’s tractor trailer hit the front end of his truck, knocking him out of the door and onto the ground. The liability in this case was clear, and the court decided the issue 100% in favor of the Plaintiff.
As a result of this accident, the plaintiff sustained serious injuries to his neck and back. In January 2008, he underwent a fusion surgery to his neck, involving the nerves. He also had surgery in June of that year for the removal of hardware for a prior back surgery in 2000. He was left with significant limitations from these injuries in his daily and recreational activities, and was unable to work.
This matter was handled by Tara L. Johnson.
$977,000.00 Jury Verdict - A union carpenter and his wife were awarded a jury verdict after the jury deliberated for 17 hours over three days. The injuries occurred to a South Bound Brook man whose feet were run over by a truck while he was picketing a Branchburg construction site. The jury found the defendant truck driver 90% responsible for the accident, which resulted in both a herniated disc and psychological injuries. The case was tried by Richard Levinson and James Dunn.
$975,000.00 Settlement - A carpenter working as an independent contractor was injured at defendant’s refinery when he was improperly exposed to dangerous fumes. Ronald Grayzel handled this occupational exposure case and ultimately settled the matter for $975,000.00.
$975,000 Settlement – Lawsuit on behalf of a woman who was stopped at a traffic light when another vehicle struck her from the rear causing her to strike the vehicle in front of her. Case was handled by Richard J. Levinson and Kenneth M. Harrell.
Plaintiff sustained a neck and back injury that eventually lead to an L5-S1 percutaneous discektomy, L5-S1 fusion, and C5-C6 fusion. Harrell obtained all of the medical records and a report from both the treating orthopedist and the treating neurosurgeon, documenting the seriousness of the injuries. Additionally, a medical illustrator prepared detailed exhibits of the surgeries plaintiff underwent.
As the defendants alleged that plaintiff could not have sustained the injuries she claimed because of the minor property damage involved, Harrell obtained a biomechanical engineering report validating the forces involved in the accident did indeed cause the injuries to plaintiff’s neck and back.
While the plaintiff attempted to return to work after her surgeries, she was eventually determined to be totally disabled. Harrell obtained an employability report, setting forth the limitations plaintiff had as a result of the injuries and the economic harm resulting.
The case settled one month before the trial date.
$950,000.00 Settlement – Dogbite Injury - BRAIN INJURY
Stune v. Okolovitch, Perfection Plus Auto Body and Elizabethtown Water Company, Superior Court, Middlesex County, Superior Court, Union County. Lawsuit handled by Ronald Grayzel, Esq.
Plaintiff was an elderly, retired gentlemen taking a morning walk past an auto body shop when a German Shepherd ran out from the premises and attacked him. The dog bit the man, knocked him to the ground, where plaintiff struck a raised, broken metal cap on the sidewalk.
Plaintiff suffered a serious head injury and was later taken to the hospital. The man came under the care of a neurosurgeon and eventually required the installation of a shunt. Plaintiff was left with residual cognitive problems.
The owner of the dog claimed there was no insurance and the auto body shop claimed that the dog owner was not an employee of the business. Grayzel had to undertake an intensive program of discovery to unearth the true facts and demonstrate that there were insurance policies in place on the dog owner and that the business did employ the dog owner. Grayzel’s hard work paid off and he was able to show that there was a policy of insurance on the home where the dog owner was living and that it provided coverage for the dog bite. Grayzel also took the deposition of the body shop owner and was able to show that the dog owner regularly performed work for the business owner at the business. The business owner was also aware that the dog was present at the business on a daily basis. Grayzel had included the insurance company for the auto body shop as a defendant. Under this policy, there was coverage available for “employees” working in the business.
An investigation also disclosed that the raised metal object that plaintiff struck his head on was a broken water cap improperly maintained by Elizabethtown Water. In a deposition of an employee of the company, he conceded that the cap was broken and should have been repaired.
As the trial date approached, the parties agreed to go to mediation and work with a retired judge to settle the case. Each defendant and its insurance carrier made a substantial contribution to the settlement. It was settled six weeks before trial.
$950,000.00 Judgment - The plaintiff was the operator of a tractor trailer which was involved in a three tractor trailer accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. The plaintiff was slowing his vehicle for an abandoned tire in the roadway, when his vehicle was struck from behind by the defendant’s tractor trailer. The defendant then went on to strike a third vehicle, as well. The plaintiff suffered a low back injury, which could not be operated on because of a previous low back surgery which the plaintiff had undergone as a result of a prior injury. The matter was handled by Mark Kuminski.
$950,000.00 Settlement - A four year old child developed a severe case of food poisoning after having eaten an undercooked beef product which was prepared and sold by a local restaurant. In a case handled by Mark Kuminski of our office, it was argued that despite the fact that the diagnostic test results were negative, that the clinical finding supported a diagnosis of an exposure to E-Coli.
$937,000.00 Jury Verdict - A 30-year old Rahway woman was awarded a $937,000.00 verdict by a Middlesex County jury for back and knee injuries she suffered when she slipped and fell on produce in the defendant’s supermarket. During the trial, it was maintained that the woman had slipped on a grape due to the negligence of the supermarket in failing to keep the produce aisle clean. The case was tried by James Dunn.
$912,000.00 Verdict - A Middlesex County woman fell on a wet carpet while at work in a large department store and injured her wrist, thereby requiring her to undergo two surgical procedures. The water had seeped into the store from under a wall as a result of a construction project which was being performed adjacent to the location. The verdict in the case, which was tried by James Dunn, was upheld by the Appellate Division.
$900,000.00 Judgment - The plaintiff was injured on a construction project when he fell from a ladder which was not secured properly. As a result of the fall, the plaintiff sustained serious injuries to both feet. The matter was tried by Richard Levinson before a Middlesex County jury, before ultimately being submitted to a binding arbitration.
$900,000.00 Settlement - A pipe fitter was injured when he descended into a tank to fix a pipe on a construction site at Merck. He had observed water as he reached the base of the tank and tried to avoid the water by stepping onto an area he believed was dry. Unfortunately, it turned out to be moist and he fell, thereby injuring his back. It was argued that Merck had failed to meet its obligation to provide the plaintiff with a safe workplace, thereby causing the accident to occur.
$900,000.00 Settlement - A Middlesex County man suffered severe leg injuries when he fell from his second story apartment balcony. Defendants claimed that the plaintiff had tampered with the railing, thereby contributing to the accident. The plaintiff countered with evidence that the apartment complex had failed to properly inspect and maintain the balcony railing, which in turn had caused the railing to fail and the fall to occur.
$900,000.00 Verdict - The plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident with a tractor trailer. The plaintiff, an intensive care unit nurse, injured her lower back, suffering a herniated disc. While she did not undergo surgery to repair same, her ability to work was greatly effected. The matter was tried by Adam Rothenberg.
$875,000.00 Judgment - The infant plaintiff suffered severe injuries to his leg when he was struck by a car as he exited a school bus. The driver of the car lacked sufficient liability insurance coverage to compensate the plaintiff for his injuries. As a result, Adam Rothenberg brought this claim for Underinsured Motorist benefits under the insurance policy of the bus.
$800,000.00 Settlement - A Middlesex County man was injured while getting out of his truck in the parking lot of a convenience store in Edison. The plaintiff had stepped into a pothole while exiting his vehicle and fractured his left ankle, as well as aggravating pre-existing injuries to his back and right knee.
$800,000.00 Judgment - A Middlesex County man was involved in an automobile accident in which he injured his back, shoulder, knee and foot. The suit alleged negligence on the part of the defendant, a tow truck operator. The case was handled by James Dunn, and settled at the Courthouse after being assigned to a Judge for the start of trial.
$775,000.00 Judgment - A Hunterdon County woman received serious head injuries when she was caused to fall on a defective County sidewalk. Expert testimony established that the cement slabs were in a defective condition and thereby created a tripping hazard. Further evidence established that the County was aware of the condition, yet failed to take any action to remedy the known defect.
$750,000.00 Settlement - An electrician was injured on a construction site when one of the wheels of the scissor lift he was operating went into a hole, thereby causing the lift to tip over and fall. The matter was handled by Mark Kuminski, who argued that the General Contractor on the construction project was negligent in coordinating the trades working on the project so that the electrician had to work in the same area as the plumbing contractor, who was to run pipes through the holes. The matter was settled with the General Contractor, as well as both the plumbing subcontractor and the company hired to drill the holes.
$750,000.00 Settlement - A woman who had carpets cleaned in her home suffered a severe asthmatic reaction. Suit was filed for injuries caused by her inhalation of the chemical products used by defendant to clean the carpets. Discovery revealed that there was a history of adverse reactions in some individuals who were exposed to some of the elements in the cleaner. No warnings of the potential dangers were given to the homeowner prior to the job commencing. This matter was handled by Ronald Grayzel.
$750,000 Settlement - Middlesex County man was driving down a main street in Seaside Heights at approximately 7:30 a.m. one Sunday morning when he was struck by a vehicle which went through a stop sign at a high rate of speed. The impact caused our client’s vehicle to flip over and slide down the roadway. Our client was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from his vehicle through the sun roof. He struck the pavement and received serious and permanent injuries. The defendant driver argued that had our client been wearing a seatbelt, his injuries would have been minimal. Plaintiff’s injuries included a serious back injury requiring major surgery and a substantial limp. He continues to get physical therapy three years after the accident. This matter was settled by David Wheaton.
$739,250.00 Settlement – Middlesex County woman was injured when a tire fell of a tractor-trailer causing her to lose control of her vehicle and hit a concrete divider. She suffered neck injuries and required two surgeries. Plaintiff sued the owner of the truck as well as the company who installed the tire. The matter was settled by Brett Greiner, Esq.
$700,000.00 Settlement - A Toms River man was injured in an automobile accident after attending classes at Middlesex County College resulting in cognitive disabilities and chronic panic attack syndrome. The case was handled by David Wheaton and settled just prior to the start of trial.
$700,000.00 Settlement - A Middlesex County man was blinded in one eye following cataract surgery. This medical malpractice action was tried by Adam Rothenberg, and settled as the jury was set to begin deliberations. At the start of trial, the defendants refused to offer plaintiff anything to settle the case, but ended up settling the matter for $700,000 as a result of evidence produced during the course of trial.
$650,000.00 Settlement - David Wheaton settled this case involving a head on collision between two tractor trailers which occurred in South Carolina. David sued the tractor trailer that had lost control in Federal District Court and was subsequently able to negotiate the settlement.
$650,000.00 Settlement - The plaintiff, an underage worker, suffered burns to the face and arms when a propane tank erupted while he was cooking food at a concession stand. Because of the age of the plaintiff, Richard Levinson was able to bring this cause of action against the plaintiff’s employer directly, rather than through the employer’s worker’s compensation carrier. The matter was settled for $650,000.00.
$625,000.00 Settlement - A Hunterdon County man suffered severe burns caused by defective electrical wiring in a barn. The burns occurred when the plaintiff came to the aide of various farm animals which were trapped inside a barn which was on fire was as a result of the defective wiring. In his attempt to rescue the animals, he was struck by burning wood and severely burned. The matter settled during the course of trial.
$600,000.00 Settlement - A Hunterdon County woman suffered severe injuries to her hand and fingers while using a defectively designed pay telephone from her car. Ronald Grayzel handled this products liability matter for the plaintiff, and argued that the telephone, which was specifically designed for use by drivers while sitting in their car, was defective.
$575,000.00 Settlement: Mark Kuminski handled this case for the plaintiff, who was injured at work when he slipped and fell on a wet floor, injuring both knees. The floor outside his office had recently been mopped by an outside contractor, and the wet floor signs were placed by the defendant in such a manner that they would not have been readily observable as the plaintiff exited his office. The plaintiff aggravated preexisting conditions in both knees, for which he had previously undergone multiple knee surgeries. As a result of this accident, he was required to undergo bilateral knee replacement surgery.
$600,000.00 Judgment - A Dunellen woman received serious injuries when a tractor trailer pulled out from a stop sign across oncoming traffic in order to make a left-hand turn. Evidence produced in discovery established that the tractor trailer easily could have made a right-hand turn, traveled less than a quarter of a mile, and then made the turn at a jug handle as opposed to the manner in which it attempted to make the turn at the time of the accident.
$550,000.00 Settlement - Richard Levinson handled this medical malpractice action against the plaintiff’s treating physician for injuries sustained by the plaintiff as a result of the doctor’s negligence in performing surgery on the plaintiff’s knee. The surgery involved the removal of a cyst in the plaintiff’s knee, but resulted in the development of a drop foot. The matter was tried for four days before being settled.
$550,000.00 Settlement - In this matter, a Hunterdon County woman was injured when she fell down a set of stairs while exiting the defendant’s commercial property. The fall resulted from a hole in the cement steps and resulted in a serious fracture of the plaintiff’s leg. Suit was filed against both the property owner and the commercial tenant and was handled by James Dunn.
$550,000.00 - A Morris County man suffered injuries to his neck and shoulder when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident. It was argued by the defense that there was minimal impact to the car and that he could not have sustained these injuries with a minimal impact to his vehicle. The matter was tried by James Dunn and the verdict returned was $550,000.00.
$550,000.00 Settlement - Plaintiff, a 30-year old warehouse manager, sustained a severely lacerated arm with resulting scarring when a strap he was using ripped apart during a loading procedure. The lawsuit was filed against the manufacturer and retailer of the strap, both of whom denied responsibility. After a trial on liability, a civil jury agreed with the plaintiff that the retailer had improperly warranted the utility of the product. Shortly thereafter, the case was settled for $550,000.00 by Richard Levinson.
$500,000.00 Settlement - A tool box fell off of an improperly stacked shelf at a hardware store, striking the plaintiff customer in the head and neck, causing Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. David Wheaton negotiated the settlement at the Middlesex County Courthouse where the matter was scheduled for trial.
$500,000.00 Settlement - A Spotswood woman was injured in a collision with a truck. At the time, the victim was seven months pregnant and suffered facial injuries and struck her abdomen on the steering wheel, thereby injuring the fetus’ head. Settlement was reached while the jury was deliberating the issue of liability.
$500,000.00 Settlement - A Morris County steelworker was struck by a steel girder when it swung and pinned his arm against the back of the truck being unloaded. A settlement with the general contractor, trucking company, and crane company was negotiated on the eve of trial in Mercer County.
$500,000.00 Settlement - This case involved an automobile accident in which the plaintiff, an elderly woman, suffered a knee injury when her vehicle was struck by the defendant’s vehicle. It was claimed by the defendant that his view of the intersection was obstructed by an illegally parked moving van. As a result, suit was filed against both vehicles. The case was handled by James Dunn and settled at the time of trial.
$500,000.00 Settlement - An elderly female pedestrian was injured when she was struck in a crosswalk by defendant’s automobile which had been attempting to make a left hand turn at the intersection. The plaintiff suffered injuries to her leg, as well as multiple dental injuries and impaired vision in one eye. This matter was settled just prior to the start of trial.
$495,000 Settlement - Plaintiff, a minor child, was crossing a three-lane highway. Cars in the first two lanes stopped for him to cross, but he was struck by a vehicle traveling in the third lane. As a result of this incident, the child suffered a fracture of the upper part of one leg and fracture of both bones in the lower part of his other leg. Surgery and hardware were required to repair all the fractures and extensive therapy followed. While the child has made a good recovery, he faces the prospect of surgery in the future to remove the hardware. The case was settled by Brett R. Greiner.
$485,000 Settlement - An iron worker was injured from a fall while traversing a beam. He suffered a compression fracture to a vertebrae and a fracture to a bone in his hand that required multiple surgeries. A claim was brought against the General Contractor for failing to oversee that work was being done in a safe manner and against the steel fabricator who supplied the materials that were not made to correct specifications. The case settled at a mediation for $485,000.00. The matter was handled by Brett R. Greiner.
$483,589.47 Settlement - Plaintiff suffered neck, back, shoulder and knee injuries as a result of this serious accident. Plaintiff was diagnosed with two disc herniations in her neck, which necessitated surgery. She also had shoulder and knee surgery as a result of her injuries. The case was handled by Kenneth Harrell, Esq. and the defendant tendered their entire remaining policy of insurance of $483,589.47.
Plaintiff was driving her motorcycle on Route 36 in Keyport, New Jersey when she encountered a poorly maintained road causing her rear tire to fall into the rut of the road. As a result, the Plaintiff was caused to crash into the side of the road and flip over the handle bars of her motorcycle. She sustained numerous injuries to her neck, back, and shoulders requiring multiple surgeries. The case was handled by Kimberly Gozsa and was settled just prior to trial.
475,000.00 Settlement - 46 yr old Ocean County woman was stopped on her motorcycle in Bayville, N.J. when the defendant, driving a motor vehicle struck the right rear of the motorcycle and the right leg of the female plaintiff. The female plaintiff sustained a very serious injury to the right leg known as Compartment Compression Syndrome and was required to undergo immediate surgical decompressive surgery of the four compartments of her right leg. If the immediate surgery had not been performed, this type of injury results in potential amputation. The surgery was successful but she will have permanent abnormal numbness in her leg, knee and foot and permanent disfiguring scars from the extensive surgery performed. David T. Wheaton with Levinson Axelrod, P.A.’s Forked River office settled the case.
A South Plainfield woman fractured her knee cap when she tripped on a strap that had fallen off a box at the defendant’s store. The evidence showed that the tripping hazard was present for a sufficient period to put the defendant’s on constructive notice of the condition but they failed to remedy the situation before plaintiff encountered the strap while shopping at their store. The plaintiff landed directly on her knee, breaking the knee cap in several places. A surgery using screws and wires was necessary to reduce the fracture. After she healed, the plaintiff still had difficulty negotiating stairs and could not kneel on the injured knee and had difficulty taking care of the family home. Brett R. Greiner represented the plaintiff and her husband.
$450,000 Settlement - A Middlesex County woman was leaving her apartment to go to work when she slipped and fell on ice that had formed on the walkway as a result of snow melting and refreezing. While the defendant argued that they had acted reasonably under the circumstances, the evidence showed that this was a recurring problem that they were aware of. The woman sustained a displaced ankle fracture that required a plate, screws and pinning. The matter was tried by Brett R. Greiner.
$400,000.00 - Ocean County woman worked as an Art Teacher in the local public school system. Just prior to the opening of a new art exhibition to supplement the community, the lady was involved in a serious automobile accident and was required to undergo multiple surgical procedures. The resulting disability forced her to retire from her profession. David T. Wheaton handled the case and settled the case for $400,000.00.
$450,000.00 settlement – Parking Lot Accident - An 82 year old man was walking from a convenience store to his car in the parking lot of a strip mall when a vehicle proceeding through the driveway separating the stores from the parking lot spaces ran into him. The man was knocked backwards and struck his head on the pavement. The plaintiff never regained consciousness, suffering a significant brain injury requiring immediate surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery was not able to save the man and he remained in a coma until he passed three days later. A lawsuit was filed against the driver of the vehicle that struck the man and against the shopping mall since they did not provide any cross walks or other signage to assist pedestrians and motorists in the parking lot area. The case settled prior to trial for the driver’s policy limits of $300,000 with the shopping mall contributing $150,000.
$390,000 Settlement – A fifty-year old man was injured in a motor vehicle accident when his car was struck by a tractor trailer that came through a red light at an intersection. The plaintiff’s left eye was injured when the air bag deployed. Plaintiff sustained a traumatic hyphema and traumatic mydriasis to the left eye. The plaintiff’s complaints and symptoms include sensitivity to light and difficulty focusing at short distances. The case was settled for $30,000 on the day before a scheduled arbitration. The matter was handled by Ron Grayzel, Esquire.
$375,000.00 Settlement: The plaintiff was injured when the automobile in which she was a passenger was struck from behind by an ice cream truck. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff sustained injuries to her lower back, for which she underwent numerous injections and other related procedures. Mark Kuminski handled the case for the plaintiff and the matter was settled at mediation.
$375,000.00 – Fall at work -A construction worker was on a job site when he fell and injured his knee requiring a partial knee replacement. The worker had to retrieve blueprints from a storage box inside of a parking garage that was under construction. The electric had not yet been installed in the building and there was limited construction lighting in place. As the worker walked further into the garage he tripped over a curb he could not perceive due to the limited amount of light. A claim was brought against the general contractor who was responsible for the overall safety of the job site. The was case settled during a pre-trial mediation.
$375,000 Jury Verdict - Plaintiff suffered a back and neck injury in an accident caused by another car that rear ended her. Plaintiff was diagnosed with a disc herniation in her lower back and a disc bulge in her neck, as well as radiculopathy in her lower and upper extremities. The lawsuit was handled by Kenneth Harrell, Esq. and the jury returned a verdict of $375,000.
The insurance company took the position that plaintiff had no injuries from the accident. In order to prepare plaintiff’s case, Harrell obtained all the medical records and had the plaintiff evaluated by an orthopedic spine specialist that described the plaintiff’s condition and why it was caused by the accident.
The insurance company retained a “hired gun” expert to offer the opinion that the plaintiff’s MRI’s were normal, and that only a temporary injury occurred as a result of the accident.
The jury determined that the plaintiff had a permanent injury as a result of the accident and awarded her $375,000.
$375,000.00 - While heading to work, the Plaintiff was impacted twice as a result of the Defendant’s negligence suffering herniated discs in her neck. She failed to improve with conservative therapy. As a result, the Plaintiff had to undergo a cervical fusion. Although the excruciating pain was gone, due to the limited range of motion and resulting surgical pain, the Plaintiff’s son assists her with her paper route. Kimberly Gozsa settled this case for $375,000.00.
$370,000.00 Settlement – Auto Accident - HERNIATED DISC SURGERY
Jensen v. Guillaume & Exantus, Superior Court, Union County. Plaintiff suffered a neck injury in an accident caused by two vehicles that struck the plaintiff’s vehicle in the rear. Plaintiff was diagnosed with a herniated disc and underwent surgery by a neurosurgeon to repair the damage. The lawsuit was handled by Ronald Grayzel, Esq. and settled just prior to trial.
The insurance companies took the position that plaintiff’s surgery was caused by a pre-existing condition of the neck and not the accident. In order to prepare plaintiff’s case, Grayzel obtained reports from the plaintiff’s treating orthopedist and neurosurgeon that described the plaintiff’s condition and why it was caused by the accident.
The two insurance companies for the defendants retained two “hired guns”, physicians who wrote reports blaming the injuries on pre-exisiting conditions. Grayzel took the depositions of one of the defense experts and demonstrated that their opinions were not based on the facts or accepted medical principles. Rosemary McGeady, a lawyer and a physician, took the deposition of the other defendant’s expert and totally discredited his opinion.
After the depositions of the two defendants’ expert witnesses were completed, the insurance companies began negotiations and the case was settled.
$365,000.00 - The Plaintiff was headed to the mall to do some Christmas shopping when her vehicle was rear ended by a tow truck. She suffered herniated discs to her back and neck. Although the epidural injections worked for her back, she needed to undergo a cervical fusion. While on home from a defense exam, the Plaintiff was rear ended again, resulting in a second lawsuit. The Plaintiff had increased pain in her back in which the injections that previously provided relief, no longer helped. As a result, the Plaintiff had to undergo lumbar fusion surgery. Due to a limited policy on the second accident, Kimberly Gozsa settled these cases for $365,000.00.
$365,000.00 Settlement: The plaintiff was injured while working on a construction site when the platform of the scaffold he was using collapsed. The plaintiff’s employer did not have sufficient scaffolding on site, and therefore the plaintiff borrowed a second scaffold from another contractor and placed it on top of his employers scaffold. Unfortunately, the platform of the second scaffold was not the correct size, and as a result it fell through the support arms of the scaffold thereby causing the plaintiff to fall. The plaintiff sustained injuries to his back, for which he was ultimately required to undergo surgery. The case was handled by Mark Kuminski of our office and settled at the time of trial.
350,000.00 Settlement - A 56 yr old Howell woman. was a home care nurse and was assigned to treat and assist an elderly woman in Manalapan New Jersey on the date of the accident. After parking her car in a designated area, she was required to walk along a sidewalk to the residence. Unfortunately, the sidewalk was covered with snow and ice and, although she was trying to be careful, she slipped and fell. She banged her head and neck on the sidewalk and sustained a spinal injury to her neck and left shoulder. The neck injury was diagnosed as a herniation of two cervical discs and required neck surgery during which time the orthopedic surgeon used metal cages to fuse the damaged cervical spine. David T. Wheaton of Levinson Axelrod, P.A.’s Howell office settled the case.
350,000.00 Settlement - A 74 yr old Ocean County woman living in Jackson, N.J. was gardening in the front of her property when the defendant driver lost control of her car, jumped the curb and struck the elderly woman causing serious and permanent injuries. She was admitted to a local hospital for 9 days and was diagnosed with a fracture to the left shoulder, fracture to the left clavicle, six fractured ribs and a damaged lung. She also sustained a injury to her spleen with internal bleeding requiring an arterial immobilization. David T. Wheaton of Levinson Axelrod, P.A.’s Howell office settled the case.
$350,000.00 settlement - A 46 year old retired police officer was in traffic on the Garden State Parkway and rear ended. The force was so hard that the Plaintiff hit the vehicle in front of him. He sustained serious injuries to his neck, which included 2 herniated discs. The Plaintiff tried conservative treatment, which included chiropractic care, epidural injections, and physical therapy with no long lasting relief. Due to the unrelenting pain, the Plaintiff underwent cervical fusion. This matter was handled by Kimberly Gozsa.
$350,000.00 Settlement – Falldown on Ice - Mauro v. A&P and Woodbridge Realty Associates Superior Court, Middlesex County.
Lawsuit on behalf of a woman who slipped and fell on ice on parking lot at A&P supermarket in Woodbridge, New Jersey. Case was handled by Ronald Grayzel, Esq.
Defendants denied that they were responsible for clearing ice from their parking lot or that they were negligent. During the lawsuit, Grayzel took the depositions of the A&P supermarket manager and assistant manager. The managers conceded that it had snowed; that after the snow was cleared that it had melted and that ice had accumulated on the parking lot and that the managers had failed to inspect the lot to look for ice. The manager conceded that he saw ice at the scene when the ambulance came to take the plaintiff to the hospital.
Grayzel also took the deposition of the owner of the shopping center and established that it was this defendant’s obligation to take care of ice melt after a snowstorm. The shopping center manager insisted that it was the obligation of a snowplow contractor to do the ice watch. Grayzel also took the deposition of the landscaper who was able to document that he had not been hired to do ice watch and that the testimony of the shopping center owner was not correct. An expert meteorologist was hired to summarize the weather conditions before the fall and demonstrate how ice formed after higher temperatures melted the snow and freezing temperatures caused the water to freeze.
Plaintiff sustained a serious fracture of the ankle the required surgery and physical therapy. Grayzel obtained all of the medical records and a report from an orthopedist documenting the seriousness of the injuries. A medical illustrator prepared diagrams of the fractured ankle and post operative diagrams of the ankle with the hardware.
The case settled in mediation with a retired judge one week before trial.
$350,000.00 Settlement – Motor Vehicle Case - A 57 year-old Cumberland County man was struck by a motor vehicle while crossing a side street in Millville, N.J. Some evidence indicated that he was in the crosswalk when he was struck; other evidence indicated he was perhaps 25 to 30 feet away from the crosswalk. The vehicle that struck the man was a commercial vehicle on its way to perform janitorial service.
The pedestrian sustained a traumatic brain injury resulting in some cognitive loss and emotional instability. He had no memory of the accident and therefore, had no version of how the accident happened. He was hospitalized for two weeks at a local trauma center and thereafter for another three weeks at a head trauma rehabilitation center. The client was unemployed.
Problem: pedestrian suffered from paranoid schizophrenia during his entire adult life. This condition caused him to commit multiple anti-social acts which resulted in his being jailed for approximately 13 years. It became difficult to figure out what cognitive deficits he had prior to the accident and what emotional instabilities he experienced prior to the accident. However, defense medical expert agreed that he did sustain a traumatic brain injury, although mild, in the motor vehicle accident which also exacerbated to some extent his emotional instability. The other problem was that the case was venued in Cumberland County, a low verdict venue.
All parties agreed to submit the case to retired Judge John Keefe for mediation. Following a lengthy mediation on 1/15/09, the case was settled for $450,000.00. David T. Wheaton handled the case for the plaintiff.
$345,000.00 - A Howell resident, employed by a restaurant chair, went to Restaurant Depot to purchase supplies. While reaching for the supplies from a shelf in an aisle, he was struck by a forklift operated by defendant’s employee. Injuries were severe and required surgery. David T. Wheaton handled the arbitration in front of Judge Mark Epstein (Ret) and settled the case for $345,000.00.
$340,000.00 Settlement – Auto Accident - A 39-year old Middlesex County man was injured when another vehicle made a left hand turn in front of his truck. While he braked as hard as he could, the plaintiff could not stop his truck in time and the collision occurred. The plaintiff sustained injuries to his shoulder and arm as well as his low back. The shoulder injury required a surgical procedure that left the man with a two inch scar from the operation.
The plaintiff was kept out of work for five months to recover from his injuries and his surgery. Despite five months of treatment, he continued to suffer from the residuals of his injuries. The driver that caused the accident had a minimum policy with only $15,000 in coverage. The additional $325,000 had to be obtained via a settlement with the plaintiff’s own insurance company through a claim for Underinsured Motorist benefits.
This case is a good example why it is important to make sure you have sufficient coverage on your own policy in the event you are hurt by another driver with little or no insurance.
Case was handled by Brett Greiner, Esq.
$300,000.00 - Howell teen was a passenger in a one car accident when the driver lost control and flipped over causing multiple injuries. David T. Wheaton arbitrated the case for the young passenger before arbitrator Kenneth Pentony. Mr. Wheaton also pointed out that his client was about to enlist in the U.S.Air Force but was deprived of this goal due to the injuries sustained. Case was successfully settled for $300,000.00.
$300,000 settlement – Plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident involving multiple cars. She was transported to the emergency room and underwent a bout of chiropractic care and one injection. However, with no relief, this 28 year old had to undergo a cervical fusion. This case was mediated and resolved by Kimberly Gozsa just prior to the trial.
$300,000 Settlement – Reached for a New York resident who was visiting New Jersey and was impacted by a vehicle that lost control. As a result of the impact, plaintiff sustained injuries to the back. He previously had back surgery over 20 years before the accident and was doing well. As a result of the impact in this case, he developed severe back pain, necessitating a significant back surgery.
The insurance company representing the defendant who caused the accident offered their full $100,000 policy. Plaintiff has purchased an additional $200,000 worth of underinsured motorist coverage. Due to the severe injuries he sustained, they offered all of their remaining policy for a full settlement in this matter of $300,000. James J. Dunn handled the matter for Levinson Axelrod, P.A..
$300,000.00 Settlement for Strip Search Case - On January 28, 2005, two female students at Franklin Township School were strip searched by the school nurse at the direction of the interim superintendent. The circumstances of the strip search arose from a belief by the administration that the students were involved in the theft of a nominal amount of money from teachers. The students were questioned, their belongings were searched, and then they were eventually escorted by the superintendent to the nurse’s office. While there, they were ordered to stand behind a curtain where they were asked to remove their clothing and undergarments, which exposed their bodies, so that the nurse could see if they were hiding any money. Following the search, no money was ever found.
Both female students brought suit against the defendants in the case, including both state and federal 1983 claims, asserting that their 4th amendment constitutional rights were violated by the unlawful search. Both students were embarrassed and humiliated by the search, and were under the assumption at the time that their parents were notified and consented to the search. The parents were never notified prior to the search, nor were the police advised. The administration handled the matter in-house, which gave rise to the unlawful strip search.
The case was handled by Ronald B. Grayzel and Tara L. Johnson of Levinson Axelrod, P.A.. The case settled for $300,000.00 which included compensation for all claims, costs and counsel fees.
$300,000 Settlement - On January 28, 2005, two female students at Franklin Township School were strip searched by the school nurse at the direction of the interim superintendent. The circumstances of the strip search arose from a belief by the administration that the students were involved in the theft of a nominal amount of money from teachers. The students were questioned, their belongings were searched, and then they were eventually escorted by the superintendent to the nurse’s office. While there, they were ordered to stand behind a curtain where they they were asked to remove their clothing and undergarments, which exposed their bodies, so that the nurse could see if they were hiding any money. Following the search, no money was ever found.
Both female students brought suit against the defendants in the case, including both state and federal 1983 claims, asserting that their 4th amendment constitutional rights were violated by the unlawful search. Both students were embarrassed and humiliated by the search, and were under the assumption at the time that their parents were notified and consented to the search. The parents were never notified prior to the search, nor were the police advised. The administration handled the matter in-house, which gave rise to the unlawful strip search.
The case was handled by Ronald B. Grayzel and Tara L. Johnson of Levinson Axelrod, P.A..
The case settled for $300,000, which included compensation for all claims, costs and counsel fees.
$300,000 Settlement - 20 yr old Freehold man was the right seat passenger in a vehicle when the driver started to speed down a local country road at approximately 80 to 90 mph. Driver lost control of the vehicle which struck a pole and flipped over. The plaintiff passenger sustained a fractured skull without surgery and a fractured left leg requiring lengthy surgery including the placement of a metallic rod and screws. The plaintiff passenger was also scheduled to join the U.S. Air Force approximately 1 month after the accident and those plans were cancelled. Aside from the injuries mentioned above, he also suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and scarring resulting from the surgical repair. This matter was settled by David T. Wheaton.
$300,000.00 - This drug and alcohol counselor was rear ended by an ice cream truck while heading home from work one day. She had immediate pain in her back where she was ultimately diagnosed with 2 herniated discs that required lumbar fusion surgery. Although the surgery was helpful in reducing the pain, she was left with residual pain and scarring that she would endure for the rest of her life. At the trial call, Kimberly Gozsa settled this case for $300,000.00.
290,000.00 Settlement - A 49 yr old Ocean County woman living in Forked River was driving to work and as she passed a side entrances to the Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant, a large, military-type vehicle sped out from the side street without stopping for the controlling stop sign and crashed into the plaintiff causing serious injuries. She sustained a cerebral concussion with loss of consciousness, facial scarring, severe damage to both knees requiring knee braces and surgery to the left knee. She also sustained a post traumatic agitated depression and post traumatic headache disorder which are permanent in nature. David T. Wheaton of Levinson Axelrod, P.A.’s Forked River office settled the case.
$275,286.32 Settlement – The plaintiff injured her shoulder and bicep when she was caused to slip and fall on an accumulation of ice on premises owned by the defendant. The plaintiff brought a claim against the property owner. As a result of her accident, she sustained an extensive tear of the rotator cuff with injury to the biceps tendon. The case was settled by James Bayard Smith, Jr.
$275,000 Settlement - Lawsuit on behalf of a man who was attempting to enter a McDonalds. The door he intended to use was locked and should not have been. He attempted to navigate to the other door in spite of ice covering the sidewalk. He slipped and fell, injuring his shoulder. Case was handled by Kenneth Harrell, Esq.
Defendants denied that they were responsible for the happening of the accident and claimed that the plaintiff was not careful when using their facility. During the deposition, the defendant’s representative admitted that the back door should have been unlocked and another representative admitted that the employees had no ice melting material on hand to deal with the conditions.
Plaintiff sustained a shoulder injury that eventually led to a surgery. The plaintiff did not have a good result from the surgery. The defense contended that the result from the surgery was good and provided a surveillance video of the plaintiff to suggest he was not having continuing problems. Harrell obtained all of the medical records and a report from the treating orthopedic surgeon and a second opinion from an orthopedic surgeon documenting the seriousness of the injuries. Harrell provided the video to the orthopedic surgeon, who said that plaintiff’s injuries were demonstrated by the video in that he could not lift his arm above 90 degrees.
Faced with overwhelming evidence of liability and damages, defendant’s insurance company agreed to an arbitration, at which time the plaintiff was awarded $275,000.
$275,000 Settlement - A motor vehicle accident occurred in Manville on May 13, 2008 just after noon that day. The Plaintiff was walking in a marked crosswalk on Main Street in Manville when she was struck by the Defendant. As a result of the accident, she sustained serious neck and back injuries, and ultimately required neck surgery. The case settled for $275,000, and was handled by Tara L. Johnson out of the Hillsborough office.
250,000 Settlement - A 40 yr old Jackson, N.J. man was employed by a the County and was directing motor vehicle traffic at a road construction site when he was struck by a defendant who claimed that he did not see the worker because the sun was in his eyes. The plaintiff sustained a displaced fracture of his left knee and a torn ACL of his left knee requiring arthroscopic surgery. He missed a great deal of time from work and has permanent pain and disability in his injured knee. David T. Wheaton of Levinson Axelrod, P.A.’s Howell office settled the case.
$250,000 Settlement - A woman coming off the bus slipped on ice breaking her ankle. While it had not rained or snowed prior to the accident, the evidence showed that the ice had formed from a pooling of water in a landscape bed in the area where the passengers were let off the bus. The case was settled by Brett R. Greiner.
$250,000 Jury Verdict - This is a 78 year old Hillsborough woman who was awarded $250,000.00 as a result of a Somerset County Trail. At trial it was alleged that as a result of a motor vehicle accident, the plaintiff sustained a fracture to the neck. The plaintiff elected not to have surgery, but continued to complain of ongoing neck pain. At trial the treating neurosurgeon testified that although the fracture has stabilized and partially healed, it is expected that the plaintiff will continue to have pain in the future. The case was a tried by James Dunn of our Hillsborough Office.
$250,000 Settlement – Gym Class Accident - A student was injured in gym class playing street hockey. She twisted her ankle when she tripped over a crack in the asphalt surface of the playing field. The plaintiff subsequently developed a regional pain syndrome. Aside from arguing that the injury was no more than a sprained ankle, the school asserted a Charitable Immunity defense which would allow them to escape liability for any damages. To overcome this defense, the plaintiff would have been required to prove to the jury that the school’s actions in having students take gym class on the asphalt surface that contained cracks rose to a level of gross negligence, something greater than ordinary negligence. The case settled prior to trial for $250,000.
This case involved a motor vehicle collision between a gentleman on a bicycle and a limousine. On July 24, 2008, Mr. Condit was riding his bicycle across Route 206 at the intersection of Orlando Drive when he was struck by defendant’s vehicle. Liability was contested, as the Defendant claimed that the plaintiff crossed against the red light, and thus, was not entitled to damages.
The plaintiff’s expert submitted a report supporting the plaintiff’s contentions that the defendant was traveling too closely to be able to avoid contact with the plaintiff. The allegations were that he violated the following distance policies of the State, and also of his own company.
As a result of the accident on July 24, 2008, Mr. Condit sustained serious injuries. He was transported from the accident to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital by ambulance, where he was treated. He was diagnosed with a right hip and left leg fracture, in addition to a cervical spine fracture. He was admitted to the hospital for his injuries and released to a rehabilitation facility.
Over the next few months and year, the plaintiff had multiple surgeries to address his injuries as well as infections that developed. Ultimately, his injuries healed to a degree, but he was left with pain, limitations on his ability to work and enjoy his recreational activities, and scarring.
This case was handled by Tara L. Johnson.
Tara Johnson, Esq. handled this case for the plaintiff, who was injured on April 30, 2008, when she was leaving work and she suddenly and unexpectedly twisted her knee while stepping off uneven/broken curbing. The plaintiff brought a claim against the property owner. As a result of her accident, she sustained a torn meniscus, aggravation of previous osteoarthritis, scarring, and underwent a right total knee replacement.
$250,000.00 Settlement - Tara Johnson, Esq. handled this case for the plaintiff who was injured in a motor vehicle accident on August 9, 2007, when he was struck by a dump truck. The plaintiff brought a claim against the insurance company for the dump truck. As a result of his accident, he sustained a neck injury requiring surgery.
This case involved a motor vehicle collision between a truck and a pedestrian. On October 13, 2007 at approximately 9:30 am, the plaintiff went to the food market for a newspaper. The plaintiff parked her car in the parking lot. She was walking back to her car after buying the newspapers when defendant backed up his truck into her. She yelled to try to stop him, but he hit me and knocked her to the ground.
As a result of the accident, the plaintiff sustained very serious injuries, including a right hip fracture requiring surgery, and a right wrist fracture. After the injuries healed, she was left with residual pain, and limitations on her recreational activities.
This matter was handled by Tara L. Johnson.
$225,000 Settlement - A woman was walking from her car to the WalMart store where she worked and was caused to fall on a patch of ice that formed as a result of compactions by vehicular traffic. The owner of the property had hired a snow removal contractor who claimed to have been on site at the time of the fall spreading salt, but the conditions belied his assertions. The woman suffered a mid-shaft tibia fracture that required the insertion of a rod. The matter was settled by Brett R. Greiner.
$200,000 settlement- A Middlesex County woman was shopping at a retail store looking at some full length mirrors that were on display. Several different mirrors were on a shelf leaning against each other. In order to see the past the first mirror on display, the woman had to flip the top mirror forward to see the ones behind it. As she did so, the weight of the mirrors became more than she could support and they fell on top of her. As they fell forward, the woman fell backwards striking her head, breaking a bone in her foot and also suffered an injury to her shoulder. Thorough discovery, Levinson Axelrod, P.A. was able to show that this chain of retailers had recorded numerous other incidents where customers were injured in a similar fashion, yet store had not installed any type cable or support system to prevent these items from falling onto the unsuspecting customers. An expert in the field was retained to review these prior incidents and offer testimony that showed other retailers used restraint systems in similar circumstance to prevent just this type of thing from happening. The matter was handled by Brett R. Greiner.
$200,000.00 Settlement – Auto Accident - Total Knee Replacement
Pasinski v. Wistuba, Middlesex County.
Case was handled by Kenneth Harrell, Esq.
Lawsuit on behalf of a woman who was travelling straight through an intersection when another vehicle turned left in front of her causing an accident.
Defendants denied that they were responsible for the happening of the accident and claimed that the plaintiff was speeding. During the deposition, the defendant admitted that he had not seen the plaintiff before the impact of the two vehicles. The other driver conceded that he could not say how fast plaintiff’s vehicle was going; only that he did not see her before he began his turn.
Plaintiff sustained a knee injury that eventually led to a total knee replacement surgery. The defense contended that the knee condition was caused by prior existing conditions. Harrell obtained all of the medical records and a report from an orthopedist documenting the seriousness of the injuries. A medical illustrator prepared diagrams of the knee replacement surgery.
Faced with overwhelming evidence of liability and damages, defendant’s insurance company settled the case in a conference with a judge two weeks before trial.
$191,880.00 Settlement - A union laborer settled his case for $191,880.00 as a result of facial injuries sustained when a saw he was using kicked back and struck him in the face. Rich Marcolus settled the case for the petitioner.
$190,000.00 Settlement - Scalera v. Fratesi
Plaintiff was 12 years old. She and two classmates, one who resided at the defendant’s premises, were jumping on a trampoline. While doing so, plaintiff cut her left foot on the spring of the trampoline. For this reason, she was jumping on her right foot only when she felt the trampoline surface rebound in an unusual way as she landed one time while jumping solely on her right leg. She believes this was because one of her classmates got onto the trampoline while she was jumping; however, they both denied doing so.
House was owned by defendant Fratesi, grandparent of one of the classmates who was also a minor.
The defendants contended that plaintiff was at fault for jumping only on one leg. They also contended they did not know plaintiff was present at the time of the accident and therefore, no supervision was being provided. Defendants contended that proper supervision would have prevented the accident because an adult supervisor would not have let the plaintiff jump on only one leg.
Plaintiff’s injury was a bi-malleolar right ankle fracture that required pinning.
Case handled by Brett Greiner and settled for 190k just before jury selection.
Workers’ Compensation – Total Disability - Richard Marcolus is a certified worker’s compensation lawyer with Levinson Axelrod, P.A.. The following are several settlements that Richard Marcolus recently obtained for clients of our firm:
1. Workers compensation, post-traumatic stress disorder, total disability, bus driver, psychiatric disability, mental disorder, medical benefits, wage benefits, claimant.
A trial resulted in an award of 100% disability for a bus driver who was transporting passengers when NY City was attacked by terrorists on 9/11/01. The claimant alleged that she suffered PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) resulting in her inability to return to work. After 4 days of hearings Rich Marcolus was able to convince the parties that the claimant was permanently disabled resulting in medical and wage benefits for life.
2. Lump sum settlement, workers comp, knee injury, maintenance worker, fall down, penalty, court order, knee surgery, contempt of court.
A maintenance worker accepted $96,000.00 in a lump sum as a result of a knee injury sustained on the job. Rich Marcolus negotiated the settlement on behalf of his client who alleged his knee injury was the result of a fall on his employer’s property. The claimant also received a $1,500.00 penalty when the insurance company violated a court order. Marcolus filed a motion to hold the insurance company adjuster in contempt of court for violating the order.
3. Workers comp, repetitive injury, neck surgery, neck injury, cervical disc disease, settlement, cervical fusion, cumulative trauma.
A borough maintenance man accepted a $97,665.00 settlement after having neck surgery. The claimant alleged that his neck injury was the result of his years of doing repetitive work. The worker had a neck fusion but was able to return to work with some restrictions. Rich Marcolus negotiated the settlement for the worker.
4. Office worker, workers comp, psychiatric, work place harassment, disability, discrimination, harassment, racial discrimination, hostile work site, medical benefits, and temporary disability benefits.
A trial resulted in medical and compensation benefits for an office worker who was the subject of derogatory racial remarks. Rich Marcolus was able to prove that as a result of the racial remarks that the claimant was exposed to a hostile work environment and needed treatment.
5. Construction worker, sheet metal worker, union, total disability, scaffolding accident, fall off scaffolding, workers comp, uninsured claim, contractor, general contractor, unsafe workplace, OSHA, construction manager, construction site.
A sheet metal worker working out of a union hall was awarded 100% disability benefits as a result of a workplace fall from scaffolding. Rich Marcolus negotiated the settlement even though the claimant’s employer was not insured at the time of the accident. Marcolus was able to locate and sue the construction manager on the site who was then forced to pay the settlement.
6. Sexual harassment, workers comp, retaliation, psychiatric, benefits, tape recordings, evidence, hostile work setting, sexual conduct, sexual harassment policy.
Rich Marcolus won a trial for a female janitor who alleged she was sexually harassed by her male co-workers. The trial lasted 6 months and required testimony of co-workers, managers and doctors. The key to the case was Marcolus’ ability to get the judge to introduce into evidence tape recordings that were taken by the claimant. The tapes caught some of the witnesses giving false testimony when compared to the tape recordings. Some of the witnesses testified that they never made certain statements, but they had clearly made them as could be confirmed by the tapes. The judge ruled for the claimant and awarded workers compensation benefits and medical treatment.
7. Asbestos, mesothelioma, plant worker, lung disease, death, widow benefits, workers comp, bankruptcy.
Rich Marcolus negotiated a lump sum settlement of $150,000.00 for a widow whose husband died from lung disease related to asbestos exposure. Although the employer is currently in bankruptcy, Marcolus was able to convince a Federal Bankruptcy Judge to lift the bankruptcy stay. The deceased worker worked his whole career as a plant worker, Marcolus was able to prove through discovery requests that he was exposed to asbestos at the plant.
8. A teamster/driver settled his workers compensation case with Interstate Baking Corp. for 100% disability as a result of spinal injuries sustained in a fall. The petitioner will receive $590.15 a week for life as a result of the settlement negotiated by Rich Marcolus.
9. A union carpenter settled his workers compensation case for total disability in a settlement negotiated by Rich Marcolus. The carpenter required back surgery and was not able to return to work. He will receive $650.00 per week for life.
$150,000.00 Settlement - A service rep settled her case for over $150,000.00 as a result of negotiations by Rich Marcolus. The petitioner required back surgery as a result of her work related injury.
$130,000.00 Settlement - A union carpenter will receive a $130,000.00 settlement as a result of a settlement negotiated by Rich Marcolus. The petitioner fell off scaffolding resulting in his needing hip and shoulder surgery.
$126,000.00 Settlement - A volunteer firefighter settled his workers compensation case for $126,000.00 as a result of negotiations by Rich Marcolus. The volunteer firefighter injured his back rescuing a passenger in a motor vehicle accident. He needed back surgery that has restricted his ability to work as a volunteer fireman.
$125,000.00 Settlement – Auto Accident - Shoulder Injury
Cherensky v. Wolff
Lawsuit handled by Kenneth Harrell, Esq.
Plaintiff suffered a shoulder injury in an accident caused by another car that rear-ended her. Plaintiff was diagnosed with a torn labrum and rotator cuff and underwent two surgeries to repair it.
The insurance company for the careless driver took the position that plaintiff’s shoulder injury was not serious as the plaintiff had made a good recovery from her surgeries.
In order to prepare plaintiff’s case, Harrell obtained reports from the plaintiff’s treating orthopedist that described the plaintiff’s condition, the surgeries that were performed and the resulting disabilities. The case settled two weeks before the trial.
$110,000.00 Settlement – Auto Accident - Shoulder Injury
Perez v. Lenczewski, Middlesex County
Lawsuit handled by Kenneth Harrell, Esq.
Plaintiff suffered a shoulder injury in an accident caused by another car that ran a stop sign. Plaintiff was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff and underwent surgery to repair it.
The insurance company took the position that plaintiff’s shoulder injury was not caused by the car crash. In order to prepare plaintiff’s case, Harrell obtained reports from the plaintiff’s treating orthopedist that described the plaintiff’s condition and why it was caused by the accident.
The insurance company retained a “hired gun” expert to offer the opinion that since plaintiff did not complain about her shoulder right away, it could not be related to the crash. The treatment records actually indicated that plaintiff was treating for her neck and shoulder soon after the accident. The case settled the week before the trial was scheduled.
$108,000.00 Settlement - A union carpenter settled his case for injuries sustained in a fall off scaffolding for $108,000.00. The carpenter required knee and shoulder surgery but was able to return to work. Rich Marcolus negotiated the settlement.
Workers’ Compensation – Total Disability - Patrick R. Caulfield is a certified worker’s compensation attorney and has been practicing law for 30 years. The following are several settlements that Patrick recently obtained for clients of Levinson Axelrod, P.A.:
1. Workers’ Compensation – Total Disability Settlement
Partner, Patrick Caulfield recently settled a claim for Total Disability for a mason who required bilateral knee replacements due to the nature of his heavy occupation. His knee injuries in conjunction with prior problems with his shoulders, neck and back rendered him totally disabled. This settlement will result in lifetime benefits of $691.00 per week and lifetime medical treatment for both knees.
2. Workers’ Compensation – Full Dependency Benefits after Trial
The Appellate Division recently affirmed a verdict for Full Dependency Benefits for an AT&T employee who died in her home office from a pulmonary embolism.
Partner, Patrick Caulfield successfully tried the case and was recently successful again when the Appellate Division affirmed. The Judgment provides the decedent’s husband and children with benefits of $711.00 per week.
3. Workers Compensation – Total Disability Settlement
Partner Patrick Caulfield recently settled a claim for Total Disability for a construction worker who injured his left knee and elbow on a ladder. The employee required multiple surgeries to his left knee. He was found Totally Disabled as a result of these injuries and prior serious right knee injuries and surgeries. The settlement will entitle the worker to $170.84 per week until age 62 and $568.00 per week thereafter as well as lifetime medical treatment for his left knee and left elbow.
4. Workers’ Compensation – Total Disability Settlement
Partner, Patrick Caulfield recently settled a claim for Permanent and Total Disability after a construction worker injured his back and neck lifting large timbers. The Petitioner’s Total and Permanent Disability resulted from his neck and back injuries as well as certain pre-existing injuries to his right knee, left shoulder and neck as well as prior heart problems. The worker will be entitled to benefits of $700.00 per week for the rest of his life as well as continuing medical treatment for his neck and back injuries.
5. Workers’ Compensation – Total Disability Settlement
Partner, Patrick Caulfield, settled a claim for Permanent and Total Disability after a worker was injured when the suspension of his truck collapsed. The worker suffered serious injuries to his neck and was unable to return to work. The settlement awarded 100% Permanent Total Disability for his neck injury as well as various pre-existing disabilities to his back right shoulder, left knee, kidney and hand. The worker will be entitled to lifetime benefits and medical treatment for his neck injury.
6. Workers’ Compensation – Total Disability Settlement
Partner, Patrick Caulfield was successful in obtaining a Total Disability Settlement for a 57 year old maintenance worker who injured his right shoulder, neck and back while moving a 55 gallon drum. The worker will be entitled to $328.78 per week until age 62 and $468.87 thereafter. He will also be entitled to lifetime medical treatment for his related conditions.
7. Workers’ Compensation – Total Disability Settlement
Partner, Patrick Caulfield was successful in obtaining a Total Disability Settlement for a Fast Food Manager, who injured his back when he slipped and fell. He was found totally disabled due to his work injury and prior neck and back injuries. He will receive benefits of $364.48 per week until age 62 and $656.38 per week thereafter and lifetime medical treatment for his back conditions.
TOTAL DISABILITY SETTLEMENT FOR LEGAL SECRETARY
Partner Patrick Caulfield obtained a total disability settlement for a legal secretary who injured her back lifting on her job. Petitioner’s disability was found to result from her back injury which required fusion surgery and prior injuries and illnesses including a fractured right shoulder, rheumatoid arthritis, a pelvic fracture and a fractured sternum.
The Petitioner will receive $638.00 per week tax free from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company from July 2004 through November 2008. Thereafter, during her continuing disability, she will receive the same $638.00 per week from the State of New Jersey until her death.
TOTAL DISABILITY SETTLEMENT FOR REGISTERED NURSE
Partner Patrick Caulfield obtained a total disability settlement for a nurse who injured her neck while lifting a patient. The Petitioner underwent neck surgery as a result of her injuries. Petitioner’s total disability was the result of Petitioner’s neck injury and certain pre-existing injuries including left knee surgery and a total right hip replacement.
The Petitioner will receive $568.00 per week tax free from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company from May 2004 through February 2010. Thereafter, during her continuing disability, she will receive the same $568.00 per week from the State of New Jersey until her death.
TOTAL DISABILITY SETTLEMENT FOR MAID
Partner Patrick Caulfield, obtained a Total Disability Settlement for a Maid injured in a work related automobile accident. The Petitioner had previously received a Settlement of $475,000.00 in a separate Civil Liability Claim arising out the same accident.
The Petitioner was found to be 100% Permanently and Totally Disabled as result of back and neck injuries and surgery as well as prior disc herniations in her neck and back.
TOTAL DISABILITY SETTLEMENT FOR PRINTER
Partner Patrick Caulfield, obtained a Total Disability Settlement for a Printer who had previously had surgery on his back and right leg. The Petitioner will receive 100% Permanent Disability Benefits for a more recent 2006 accident which involved injuries to his neck and back.
The Petitioner will receive $666.00 per week, tax free beginning April 15, 2008. These benefits will continue throughout the Petitioner’s life.
TOTAL DISABILITY SETTLEMENT FOR BAKERY ROUTE SALESMAN
Partner Patrick Caulfield, obtained a Total Disability Settlement for a Bakery Route Salesman injured in a bouncing truck. A back injury, in conjunction with prior injuries to his neck and left leg were found to be 100% Permanently and Totally Disabling.
Because Petitioner was also receiving Social Security Disability Benefits his Workers’ Compensation was reduced to $319.17 per week tax free. At age 62 his Workers’ Compensation will increase to $666.00 per week tax free.
TOTAL DISABILITY SETTLEMENT FOR PLASTIC WORKER
Partner Patrick Caulfield, obtained a Total Disability Settlement for a plastic worker who’s right hand and arm were injured in a plastic injection accident. The Petitioner had previously received a $450,000.00 Settlement in a separate Civil Action.
100% Permanent Total Disability entitles the Petitioner to a lump sum payment of $70,500.00 for the period ending 6/14/2014. Thereafter Petitioner will receive $490.00 per week tax free.
$100,000.00 Jury Verdict – Auto Accident - CHALKLEY v. SHEIKH, Superior Court, Morris County.
Lawsuit on behalf of a young woman who was rear-ended. The case was tried by Attorney Tara L. Johnson of the Somerville Office. Ms. Johnson is a Certified Civil Trial Attorney.
Ms. Chalkley was driving home early from work for Thanksgiving weekend when she was rear-ended in traffic by the defendant at a high rate of speed. The damage to both cars involved was noted in the police report to be extensive. Ms. Chalkley was transported from the scene of the accident by ambulance to the emergency room. She later followed up with her family doctor for continued pain, treated with a chiropractor and physical therapist, and eventually treated with a neurologist, who gave her epidural injections into her back. Ms. Chalkley was only in her twenties at the time of the accident and enjoyed a very active lifestyle. Since the accident, she is much less active, and is more of a spectator of the activities she once enjoyed.
Ms. Chalkley had an auto policy in effect on the date of the accident that contained the verbal threshold selection, which is a limitation on her rights to sue as a victim of a car accident. Under the law in New Jersey, if you have the verbal threshold selection on your auto policy, your ability to sue for personal injury pain and suffering hinges upon whether or not your injuries fall into one of these six categories: (1) Death; (2) Dismemberment; (3) Significant Disfiguring or Scarring; (4) Displaced Fracture(s); (5) Loss of a Fetus; OR (6) A permanent injury, other than scarring or disfigurement. In Ms. Chalkley’s case, her injuries fell under the permanent injury category. As such, in order to prove a permanent injury, as all Plaintiffs do, she had to prove that she had a permanent injury, which is supported by objective medical evidence, that was caused by the accident. In these cases, this is a very difficult burden of proof to meet.
In light of the difficulty of proving these verbal threshold cases, liability insurance companies often do not settle. And often, if any offers to do so are made before the trial, they are unreasonably low in most cases. Liability insurance companies rely on the tough burden of proof for each Plaintiff to establish, which is why the offers are low or in many cases, non-existent. However, Ms. Johnson has considerable experience in trying these cases, and Plaintiff attorneys must take the risk in fighting the insurance companies to recover fair money damages for the pain and suffering of innocent accident victims. In this case, there was no offer made to settle the case at any time.
In Ms. Chalkley’s case, at trial, the defendant driver admitted being 100% responsible for causing the accident. The only issue to be decided by a jury at trial was the extent of the injuries suffered by her, and the amount of money damages she was entitled to for pain and suffering.
The medical expert on behalf of Ms. Chalkley testified in court, in front of the jury selected, to decide her case. The doctor explained that as a result of the accident, Ms. Chalkley suffered a disc herniation in her back, and an aggravation of a pre-existing neck injury, based on the medical evidence in the case. Before this accident, Ms. Chalkley was diagnosed as having a herniated disc in her neck that was aggravated by the trauma of this accident. With regard to her back, while she was initially more concerned with her neck pain because of the previous injury, within a month after the accident she noticed that her back pain was not going away. Eventual testing showed a herniation in her back.
The Plaintiff’s medical expert testified at trial and explained that the back herniation represented a permanent distortion of her anatomy, and that she can expect to suffer from pain and discomfort, in addition to restrictions of her daily activities from her injuries. He explained that she never had any back problems before, and that the trauma of the crash caused the disc injury in her back. He further explained that the treatment she had for her neck before the accident had ended, and she only required additional treatment after the accident, and her symptoms were reportedly worse.
The defendant hired a medical expert who testified that she had received temporary soft tissue injuries, but denied that the back injury was caused by the accident, or that she had any permanent injuries caused by the accident, which is the standard for recovery in a verbal threshold case. However, at trial, it was clear on cross examination, that he was not familiar with the medical records he reviewed in coming to his opinions, nor experienced in treating neck and back injuries, and rendered opinions that were not supported by the medical evidence in the case. His opinions disagreed with the treating records in the case.
The trial lasted three days. After deliberations of only a bit more than a half hour, the jury returned a verdict in the amount of $100,000. Ms. Chalkley was also entitled to recover $11,636.18 in pre-judgment interest from the insurance company.
$100,000.00 Jury Verdict – Auto Accident - Limitation on Lawsuit Threshold – Herniated Disc
Chavez v. Tantillo, Superior Court, Middlesex County.
Lawsuit on behalf of a young man who was rear-ended at a light. The case was tried by Attorney Tara L. Johnson of the Somerville Office. Ms. Johnson is a Certified Civil Trial Attorney.
Mr. Chavez was on his way to work when he was hit from behind by a young female driver at a high rate of speed, causing extensive damage to his car. As a result of this crash, Mr. Chavez was taken by ambulance to the emergency room, and then followed up with his family doctor, a chiropractor, and eventually a pain management specialist. Before this accident, Mr. Chavez was an extremely active person. He had been in the military, active with his young daughters, and a performer of martial arts. After this accident, his life became sedentary.
Mr. Chavez had an auto policy in effect on the date of the accident that contained the verbal threshold selection, which is a limitation on his rights to sue as a victim of a car accident. Under the law in New Jersey, if you have the verbal threshold selection on your auto policy, your ability to sue for personal injury pain and suffering hinges upon whether or not your injuries fall into one of these six categories: (1) Death; (2) Dismemberment; (3) Significant Disfiguring or Scarring; (4) Displaced Fracture(s); (5) Loss of a Fetus; OR (6) A permanent injury, other than scarring or disfigurement. In Mr. Chavez’s case, his injuries fell under the permanent injury category. As such, in order to prove a permanent injury, as all Plaintiffs do, he had to prove that he had a permanent injury, which is supported by objective medical evidence that was caused by the accident. In these cases, this is a very difficult burden of proof to meet.
In light of the difficulty of proving these verbal threshold cases, liability insurance companies often do not settle. And often, if any offers to do so are made before the trial, they are unreasonably low in most cases. Liability insurance companies rely on the tough burden of proof for each Plaintiff to establish, which is why the offers are low or in many cases, non-existent. However, Ms. Johnson has considerable experience in trying these cases, and Plaintiff attorneys must take the risk in fighting the insurance companies to recover fair money damages for the pain and suffering of innocent accident victims.
In Mr. Chavez’s case, sometime before the trial, the Court determined that the defendant driver, Tantillo, was 100% responsible for causing the accident. The only issue to be decided by a jury at trial was the extent of the injuries suffered by him, and the amount of money damages he was entitled to for pain and suffering. Before trial, the insurance company offered $30,000 to settle the case, which was rejected by Mr. Chavez, and his case went to trial.
At trial, Ms. Johnson presented the testimony of Mr. Chavez’s treating doctor. He told the jury about the medical treatment Mr. Chavez had both up until the time he treated him, and while he was being treated, which included epidural injections. The doctor diagnosed Mr. Chavez with a disc herniation in his back, which is permanent, in addition to nerve damage in the back seen on the tests that he performed. The doctor explained to the jury that the trauma of the crash caused these injuries and that Mr. Chavez would be expected to live with pain and limitations of his activities for the rest of his life. As a man in his thirties, that is expected to be a long time for Mr. Chavez.
The insurance company hired a doctor who saw Mr. Chavez once and opined that he did not suffer any permanent injuries as a result of the crash. However, it is assumed by the verdict that the jury found it interesting that the doctor was able to come to that conclusion without ever reviewing the MRI films that were used to diagnose the injuries in Mr. Chavez’s neck and back.
After three days of trial, the jury deliberated, and returned a verdict in the amount of $100,000. Mr. Chavez was also entitled to recover $8,923.58 in pre-judgment interest.
$90,000.00 Settlement - A union carpenter settled his workers compensation case for $90,000.00 as a result of a head injury sustained in a fall off scaffolding. Rich Marcolus negotiated the settlement.
$85,000.00 Settlement - A union carpenter settled his case against Great Adventure for $85,000.00 as a result of injuries he sustained while driving a golf cart. The carpenter suffered knee and foot injuries. Rich Marcolus negotiated the settlement for the carpenter.
$85,000.00 Settlement - A sales woman who fell down a flight of stairs at work injuring her back settled her case for $85,000.00 in a negotiated settlement by Rich Marcolus.
$78,000.00 Settlement - A custodian will receive a settlement of $78,000.00 as a result of a neck injury sustained in a fall at work. The claimant suffered a neck injury that necessitated surgery but was able to return to work. The injury was challenged by the insurance company as not being related to the fall at work. Rich Marcolus settled the case on behalf of the petitioner.
$77,000.00 Settlement - A construction worker who fell of a ladder and fractured his ankle settled his case for $77,000.00 as a result of negotiations by Rich Marcolus. There was an issue of insurance coverage as the workers employer was not insured on the date of the accident.
$74,800.00 Settlement - An estimator settled his workers compensation case for injuries sustained in a fall for $74,800.00 in a settlement negotiated by Rich Marcolus. The claimant suffered an alleged head injury.
$70,000.00 Settlement - An electrician slipped and fell during the course of his employment resulting in the Workers’ Compensation carrier providing a fusion surgery to his neck. Following significant negotiations which were aided by a Judge of Workers’ Compensation in Mt. Arlington, Levinson Axelrod, P.A. was able to arrange a settlement for the electrician in excess of $70,000 with the right to acquire additional medical treatment for his neck for two years, and the right to reopen his claim should his disability get worse.
Levinson Workers’ Compensation Wins
1. An employee of a Workers’ Compensation insurance company came to us after he suffered nerve damage to both of his arms due to a poor workstation and repetitive typing for two years. The carrier had originally denied that the injury arose out of the course of his employment as a Workers’ Compensation adjuster. Ultimately, he was provided surgery on both arms, and Levinson Axelrod, P.A. was able to get him a settlement in excess of $27,000 at the Lebanon Workers’ Compensation Court, with the right to reopen his claim for two years should he need additional medical treatment and the right to return to the Workers’ Compensation Court should his injuries get worse.
2. A worker came to us following a fall during the course of his employment. His employer originally treated his injury as a broken thumb, and refused to provide additional care, or pay temporary disability while he was out of work. Through the efforts of Levinson Axelrod, P.A., the worker was sent to more appropriate physicians who felt that he needed significant surgery to cure and relieve the effects of his injury, and the Workers’ Compensation carrier was compelled to provide same pursuant to the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation statutes. When his treatment was completed, we were able to work out a settlement which would provide the worker with benefits equivalent to 40% of the statutory hand plus 6% partial total for psychiatric residuals of this injury, with the right to reopen his claim at the Mt. Arlington Workers’ Compensation Court.
3. A college student, home for the Summer, injured his shoulder while working for a cable company. Amazingly, the employer denied that he was an employee, and if he was, that his injury did not arise from the course of his employment. Following a Motion for Medical and Temporary Benefits, Levinson Axelrod, P.A. was able to secure medical treatment and temporary benefits for the injured worker, with a determination of the nature and extent of his injury reserved for when he reaches his maximum medical improvement.
THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS WEB SITE INVOLVES SPECIFIC FACTUAL CASES. THE FACTS OF YOUR CASE MAY BE DIFFERENT AND IT IS NOT INTENDED OR REPORTED THAT LEVINSON AXELROD WILL HAVE THE SAME RESULTS IN YOUR CASE AS IN THE CASES FOUND IN THIS WEB SITE.