Matt Vitucci recently obtained a defense verdict in Mercer County, New Jersey on behalf of our client-limousine company-whose vehicle rear ended plaintiff’s car at a speed in excess of 30 miles per hour. As a result of the accident, plaintiff claimed he was caused to suffer an exacerbation of pre-existing lumbar and cervical disc disease, as well as constant severe pain and limitation of movement of the cervical and lumbar spine. Plaintiff also claimed work restrictions in that he could no longer perform his full duties as a laborer and that instead he has been forced to work on light-duty status.
Specifically, plaintiff, Noel Pineda, a 46-year-old Hispanic male, was in the right lane of three southbound travel lanes on Route One in the vicinity of Princeton NJ in heavy stop and go traffic at the time of the accident. Pineda claimed that the impact was very substantial and pushed his car into the rear of the vehicle he was following, bending the frame of his car in the process.
At trial plaintiff claimed that the accident caused him to suffer from an exacerbation of pre-existing lumbar and cervical disc disease as well as constant severe pain and limitation of movement of the cervical and lumbar spine. Plaintiff claimed work restrictions in that he could no longer perform his full duties as a laborer and that instead he has been forced to work on light-duty status. He further claimed at trial that he can no longer perform many of his pre-accident pursuits, including basic activities of daily living and that those are limited by pain and restriction in motion.
The defendant driver testified that he observed the plaintiff moving about freely at the accident situs – bending over to take pictures of the vehicle damage and bending over to get items out of his car in an apparently uninjured fashion. Plaintiff declined medical attention at the scene. It was pointed out by Matt during cross examination that plaintiff was less than forthcoming with regard to information regarding prior injuries to his neck and back. It was further pointed out that plaintiff had been involved in prior accidents—one in 1995 where he fractured his neck and was forced to wear a halo for 6 months. He then then was involved in another accident in 2007. He brought lawsuits for both prior accidents and therein made claims for lower back and neck injuries. Plaintiff’s physician during cross examination admitted that he had been given incomplete information regarding both prior accidents. The defendant’s examining physician opined that any pathology he observed in the MRI’s of plaintiff’s spine all pre-dated the subject accident and that plaintiff’s injuries amounted to sprains and strains only. After deliberations following a 4-day trial the jury returned a verdict for the defendant finding that the plaintiff had failed to prove the defendant was negligent. Congratulations to Matt!