Successful Defense in Commercial Bus Accident Case

Kenneth S. Merber successfully defends a commercial bus and its driver after a 4 week trial in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County, Law Division. The case of Juan Pablo Morales Hurtado v. New Service, Inc. and Abel Reinoso involved a 28 year old Hispanic man whose Honda Civic was rear ended by the defendants’ bus in Fort Lee, NJ. Following the accident, the claimant was immediately transported by ambulance to a hospital. He sought continuous treatment for 2 1/2 years and was diagnosed with multiple herniated discs, spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. Plaintiff’s course of treatment included, chiropractic, orthopedic, neurologic care and pain management. After 5 epidural steroid injections failed to resolve his pain, he underwent multi-level laminectomy, discectomy, decompression and interbody fusion surgical procedures. Thereafter, Mr. Hurtado underwent a long course of physical therapy and rehabilitation. Plaintiff claimed he was permanently injured. Plaintiff’s past medical expenses totaled more than $500,000. His life care expert projected future medical expenses totaling more than $4 million. Mr. Merber convinced the 8 person jury that Plaintiff only suffered minor injuries as a result of the collision and that his spinal conditions were neither caused nor exacerbated by the trauma from the accident. Mr. Merber argued that Morales Hurtado had the surgery to address his long standing conditions and the possibility of future instability despite the fact that there was no evidence Plaintiff ever complained of back pain or sought any treatment for same prior to the accident at issue. Although defendants had offered $750,000 prior to trial, on January 6, 2016, the jury returned a verdict of only $50,000 for pain & suffering and $71,600 for medical expenses. These amounts were reduced by 20% for plaintiffs comparative negligence.