$2.5 Million Settlement During Trial for Pedestrian Injuries

Hudson County managing partner John E. Molinari represented a 26-year-old woman who was crossing the street and was struck by a town school bus that was making a left-hand turn. The initial impact was with the front mirror of the bus causing the woman to be thrown to the ground and then have her left leg run over by the rear wheels of the bus. The defense at first contended that she was walking outside the crosswalk and was distracted by using her cell phone. After taking the depositions of numerous witnesses, investigating police officers, the bus driver and several other employees of the bus company; and providing an accident reconstruction report, the defendants stipulated to liability just prior to jury selection.

Our client suffered an open head wound, a severely comminuted fracture of the left femur and also fractured her left humerus and right collarbone. At the hospital immediately following the accident, the head wound was closed with staples and an open reduction and internal fixation was performed on her femur. Nearly one year later, the femur bone had still failed to heal and she had developed numerous infections in the leg. She underwent a second surgery to remove the original plate and screws, to graft bone from her hip at the site and to insert new hardware. She had a third procedure done 8 months later to clean the knee of adhesions and permit her more flexibility. Despite this treatment, she was left with a slight discrepancy in leg length and gets tired walking even short distances.

The head wound left her with significant scarring above her eye and into her scalp. The multiple surgical procedures on her leg also left the leg significantly and irreparably scarred.

Following the head injury she began to experience difficulty with her short-term memory and in processing information due to what was diagnosed as a traumatic brain injury. Expert reports were obtained from both a neurologist, and a clinical psychologist diagnosing the brain injury and confirming the cognitive deficits. Family members gave poignant deposition testimony describing the changes in her thought process and the way it affected her interaction with her 2 young children.

The defense had offered 1.5 million to settle the case on the day of trial, but during 4 trial days they gradually increased the offer to the agreed upon settlement amount of $2,500,000.