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Law Firm Gets $2.5m Verdict for Howell Crash Victim

HOWELL-Levinson Axelrod Attorney Kathleen DiGiovanni recently secured a $2.5 million jury verdict in an underinsured motorist (UIM) case against Allstate on behalf of a car crash victim who suffered serious injuries when his vehicle sustained two impacts on the New Jersey Turnpike.

According to court documents (Monmouth County Superior Court), the case stemmed from an initial collision that occurred while the victim was driving to his home in Howell, New Jersey from Manhattan, New York at about 10:45 pm. Unknown to the victim at that time, a vehicle driven by the defendant was stopped in traffic in the left lane of the Turnpike. Because the defendant had turned off all the vehicle’s lights, failed to turn on its hazard lights, and gave no warning to oncoming motorists, the victim was not able to see the vehicle until he was roughly 30 feet away. At that time, court documents indicate, the victim attempted to swerve to the right to avoid the stopped vehicle, but was unable to complete the maneuver and crashed into the defendant’s car.

As court records show, the collision thrusted the victim’s vehicle sideways into the center lane of the Turnpike, where it was then struck a second time by a vehicle driven by another motorist. The vehicle ultimately came to rest in the far right side of the road.

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The force of the two impacts caused the victim to suffer serious injuries, including multiple fractures of the hip, and he was transported to the Jersey Shore University Medical Center to undergo emergency surgery. The trauma surgeon who performed the surgery used four plates and 13 screws to reconstruct the victim’s hip. Medical experts who evaluated the case and the scope of the plaintiff’s injuries agreed that he will require a total hip replacement in the very near future. The victim, who is now in his late 40s, will need a revision surgery within the next 15 to 20 years.

Attorney Kathleen M. DiGiovanni filed a lawsuit on behalf of her client against the driver who stopped in traffic, alleging that the defendant’s actions and failures to turn on her vehicle’s lights led to the preventable accident and injuries suffered by the victim, and that she should be held liable for resulting damages. That case was settled prior to trial.

Because her client had underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, Attorney DiGiovanni also filed suit against the victim’s own insurance company. That case was tried before the Honorable Owen McCarthy, J.S.C. in Monmouth County Superior Court. Lawyers representing Allstate stood in place of the defendant whose vehicle was stopped in traffic, and attempted to argue that the plaintiff and the driver of the second vehicle which struck him were both negligent in contributing to the crash. However, Attorney DiGiovanni was able to effectively refute the arguments, arguing that her client was an innocent victim of the stopped car’s negligence, and the jury sided with her by returning a verdict holding the defendant 100% liable for the crash. Her client was awarded $2,500,000 in damages. Because the verdict exceeded the Offer of Judgment filed by Attorney DiGiovanni against the defendant Allstate for policy limits, her client will also be able to recover the costs of trial and attorney’s fees from the defendant Allstate, as well as the difference between the recovery from the stopped driver and the UIM policy limit.

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The outcome secured by Attorney Kathleen M. Giovanni is a significant victory for her client who, by successfully holding the defendant fully liable, now secures the compensation needed to cover extensive damages and the considerable expenses associated with future care of his injuries, including his need for a future revision surgery. It is this type of result, even in the face of insurance companies that do all they can to skirt liability and pay victims as little as possible, that make Attorney Giovanni and the Levinson Axelrod legal team proven advocates for injured victims harmed in the most serious wrecks.

Kathleen DiGiovanni is an Associate attorney who works primarily out of the Howell and Belford offices of Levinson Axelrod, P.A., a New Jersey-based personal injury law firm committed to providing experienced and knowledgeable representation in cases involving preventable injuries caused by the negligent and wrongful acts of others. Since first opening its doors in 1939, the firm’s award-winning lawyers have successfully recovered more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for clients, more than $350 million of which has been secured in the past five years alone. Learn more about the nationally recognized firm and its legal team by calling (732) 440-3089 or visiting www.njlawyers.com.

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