A heavily traveled roadway was the scene of a rush hour accident in which a passenger suffered severe knee injuries.
She sought damages from defendants, who denied liability and disputed the extent of damages. The case was ultimately settled for $252,500.
Plaintiff was a passenger in her daughter’s vehicle, which was northbound on Route 1 in the Woodbridge area. Route 1 was a four-lane roadway with a center turn lane for both directions of traffic. Plaintiff’s daughter was intending to turn left into a shopping center, which was 100 yards ahead. Plaintiff’s vehicle drove into the center lane and, as she continued toward the turn, she struck a large box truck driven by Defendant Oscar Mendoza. Defendant driver was in the course of his employment with Defendant L & M Produce at the time of the collision. He had just made a delivery on the right side of the road and had been waived through the two lanes of stopped northbound traffic so that he could turn left into the southbound lanes of traffic. As he crossed the center turn lane, he was struck by plaintiff’s vehicle.
Plaintiff alleged that defendant driver failed to yield the right-of-way and failed to properly observe traffic. Plaintiff claimed a significant knee injury which would require two knee replacements over the course of her lifetime. She further claimed to be disabled from working in a day care, as she could no longer lift children or bend her knee.
Defendants contended that plaintiff’s driver caused the accident by getting into the turn lane too soon and using it as a travel lane so that she could by-pass the stopped traffic. Defendants also argued that plaintiff would only need one knee replacement over the course of her lifetime due to the new technology employed in knee replacement surgery.