Crash fails to delay honeymoon
Plaintiff, a 61-year-old male, was operating his 1995 King F8 box truck southbound on Route 123 at approximately 45 mph. Defendant, who had a blood alcohol content of 0.19 percent, was operating his 1999 Ford Taurus directly behind the plaintiff’s vehicle at a high rate of speed (at least 55 mph). Defendant failed to maintain control of his vehicle and collided into the rear of the plaintiff’s vehicle. The high-speed rear collision caused plaintiff’s vehicle to strike the guardrail, become airborne, overturn and roll down a 20-foot embankment. The roof was torn off the claimant’s truck and his blood was splattered on the windshield and seats. Plaintiff’s vehicle was totaled.
Plaintiff was transported by ambulance to the hospital with complaints of pain in his right side, right elbow, head, chest, ribs, and upper and lower back. He also had several scalp lacerations that required sutures.
Plaintiff returned to the hospital once to have his sutures removed before leaving for five weeks for his previously planned honeymoon out of the country. Upon his return, plaintiff sought treatment with a chiropractor for low back pain, which consisted of 28 sessions over a four-month period. He made a full recovery, with some minimal scarring and indentations remaining on his scalp.
The statutory presumption of punitive damages based upon the BAC level of the defendant was the most significant factor in the settlement of the case. Defendant’s DUI charge was dismissed in the criminal court because he was arrested and administered a breath test more than three hours after the accident occurred. Plaintiff decided to settle rather than wait a year to roll the dice for more money at trial.