On October 18, 2016, an eight-year-old boy and his ten-year-old sister were riding a bus on their way to North Dover Elementary School in Toms River, New Jersey. As the bus driver attempted to complete a left turn, an oncoming car collided with the bus. The young boy, who already had cochlear implants, suffered a head injury that required surgery to replace his implants. He suffered bilateral hearing loss and headaches from his injuries.
Closed head injuries are severe and occur when trauma forcefully presses the brain against the skull. Though nothing penetrates the brain as seen with open head injuries, closed head brain injuries are very serious and require extensive medical care. The young man filed a claim for his injuries and his sister also filed a claim under Portee v. Jaffe—a New Jersey case which set precedent for emotional distress claims for witnesses of an injury or death.
The Toms River Schools Board of Education, driver of the bus, and the driver of the car were each named as defendants in the suit. After the parties completed discovery, they entered mediation with Thomas O’Brien, a retired Ocean County Superior Court Judge. Before a trial begun, all parties agreed on a settlement totaling $2.7 million on February 4. Ocean City Superior Court Judge Arnold Goldman approved the settlement on February 22.
The young boy received $2.45 million for his injuries, and his sister received $250,000 for her Portee claim. The final $100,00 came from the defendant’s policy which he agreed to pay early in the case. Most of the net recovery will be used to purchase annuities for the plaintiffs as both are still minors.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident, call The Law Offices of Lloyd Bennett, Esq., P.C. today at (800) 909-8129.
Please Note: This case was not handled by The Law Offices of Lloyd E. Bennett, Esq., P.C., and is included here for informational purposes.