The New Jersey Law Journal recently ranked the top personal injury recoveries in New Jersey in 2013. The rankings represented verdicts and settlements of the highest awards in automobile injury, medical malpractice, premises liability, products liability, public liability, and workplace injury cases. Occupational Assessment Services and our primary Vocational Expert and Life Care Planner, Edmond Provder, were involved in six of the top personal injury recoveries reported by the Journal. Below is a brief summary of each case.
Clanton v. Nissan No. America
The second highest figure in a product liability case last year was $3.6 million, awarded to a driver injured when the roof of his Nissan Altima failed to withstand the impact of a flying tire that came loose from a truck. The 73 pound tire and tire assembly came off a truck and hit the driver’s roof, which detached from its vertical side rails and pressed upon his head. The driver’s neck bones were broken and he is permanently disabled. The jury found the driver suffered damages of $4,200,446, comprised of $324,470 in past lost wages, $572,976 in future lost wages, $1 million for future medical costs, and $2,303,000 in non-economic damages. Nissan was held accountable for 85% of that award, and the truck driver, found to be 15% at fault, settled for $500,000, bringing the total recovery to $4 million.
Naranjo v. Sanofi-Aventis
The second highest automobile negligence award in 2013 was recovered over claimed injuries in a New Jersey Turnpike crash. Vanessa Naranjo, a 33-year old call center employee, suffered neck and back injuries and required cervical and lumbar fusion surgery. The OAS Vocational Expert testified she would not be able to work again, attributing to the collected $4.35 million award.
Escobar v. Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
In this case, two hospitals and their staff members were charged with negligent treatment of an infant victim of child abuse. A $7.4 million settlement was reached on behalf of Jadiel Velesquez, who when he was 4 months old, endured a severe beating by his father that left him with brain damage. The suit claimed the beating was the result of negligence by the hospitals, which had treated the child on two prior occasions of suspected abuse but still released him to his parents.
Escobar v. DYFS
This case was also on behalf of Jadiel Velesquez. In this suit, Jadiel’s grandmother, who had alerted the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) to the father’s abusive tendencies, claimed that case workers and agency officials negligently failed to remove Jadiel from his parents’ care. A jury awarded $166 million to Jadiel after the OAS Vocational Expert/Life Care Planner testified to the child’s employability, earning capacity and Life Care Plan needs.
Aeriel v. School District of Newark
The state-operated school district for the city of Newark agreed to pay $5 million to settle a suit over the shooting of four people at the Mount Vernon School playground on August 4, 2007. On that Sunday morning, the victims, all college-aged, had been listening to music when they were assaulted, robbed, and shot by six assailants. Three of the four victims died. The civil suit alleged that the school district was negligent in failing to lock the playground, despite its reputation as a gang hangout.
Pascucci v. JG Drywall
The second highest workplace accident recovery of 2013 was a $6.6 million settlement for a construction worker, Steven Pascucci, who lost his leg due to injuries sustained on the job. Pascucci was on an extension ladder at a demolition project in 2009 when he fell eight feet to the ground. He underwent seven surgeries related to the fractures and blood loss sustained, but the swelling and pain in his right leg worsened over time. Three years after the accident he elected to have that leg amputated. Pascucci claimed the defendants failed to provide a safe workplace, as industry standards dictate that a ladder should not be used as a work platform in demolition projects. Mr. Provder served as a Vocational Expert and Life Care Planner performing pre-surgery and post-amputation evaluations.
We at OAS are proud of our successful track record in assisting clients throughout New Jersey to reach effective awards. By helping to calculate how much a plaintiff’s injuries affect their ability to earn income in the future, we ensure the right information is available to objectively calculate the vocational damages. Call us at 800-292-1919 to discuss how we can assist you in objectively documenting your case damages.