On October 31, 2005, the plaintiff was traveling east on Route 24 at or near milepost 3.2 in Florham Park, New Jersey. At the same time, the defendant, operating his vehicle westbound on Route 24 at an extremely high rate of speed, lost control of his vehicle, entered the grass median separating the eastbound and westbound lanes, and began to fish tail. His vehicle continued across the grass median and into the eastbound lanes and violently struck the front end of the plaintiff's vehicle with the rear passenger side of his vehicle. Police investigation at the scene revealed that the defendant's inattention and excessive speed were the contributing causes of the accident.
The plaintiff was taken by ambulance to the emergency room at Morristown Memorial Hospital for treatment of her injuries. CT scan of the neck revealed a C7 fracture requiring a special hard collar to stabilize the C6-C7 vertebrae. X-rays of the cervical spine revealed a cervical fracture of the left transverse process from C5 to C7. CT scan of the chest revealed right-sided rib fractures, number 2 and 3, diagnosed as being somewhat depressed on CT scan. A fracture of the first left rib was diagnosed by CT scan. Radiological evaluation of the left hand diagnosed an injury to the proximal fifth interphalangeal joint. Radiological evaluation of the chest diagnosed pulmonary vascular congestion and a lung contusion. She received medication therapy requiring a morphine pump, dilaudid, percocet, and numerous other narcotic pain medications, and remained hospitalized until November 3, 2005.
Plaintiff underwent an MRI of the cervical spine that revealed broad based annular bulges at C3/4 and C5/6 with ridging causing bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing, and a broad-based central ridge which pressed against the ventral aspect of the cord at C4/5. An EMG of the upper extremities indicated the presence of a bilateral C6 radiculopathy.
Subsequently, the plaintiff underwent a surgical procedure for excision of foreign body of the left small finger and removal of mucous cyst with debridement of distal IP joint and advancement flap coverage of the left ring finger. Due to continued discomfort and restriction of motion in her pinky, she was referred another orthopedic hand surgeon, who performed a second surgery to repair the left pinky flexor digitorum profundus tendon and the superficialis tendon. The doctor's post-operative diagnosis was left little finger limited active range of motion secondary to flexor tendon adhesions. The plaintiff also underwent a series of six trigger point injections in the left trapezius and left infraspinatus muscles. She also received psychiatric treatment, and was diagnosed as sustaining post-traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks, and depression.
Attorney Jeffrey E. Grabelle was able to obtain a settlement against the tortfeasor for the full policy limits of $100,000, with an additional $105,000 from the plaintiff's underinsured motorist carrier.