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Accident Victim gets $477,750

A jury yesterday awarded $477,750 to a South River man who was disabled after being struck by a car in New Brunswick in April 1991.

The jury which heard the case before Superior Court Judge Joseph C. Messina in New Brunswick ruled that injuries suffered by Jack Scott, 42, were worth $855,000, but found that Scott was 50 percent responsible for the accident.

The incident occurred shortly before 6 p.m. on April 26, 1991, when Scott was walking across Route 27 near Oliver Street in New Brunswick after getting off a bus while returning home from his job at Twin County Grocers in Edison, according to his lawyer, Steven Cahn.

Cahn gave the following account:

Scott was struck by a car driven by Patricia Pompei of Edison, was thrown onto the windshield, and broke his shoulder. He was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where doctors put a cast on his arm and released him.

Scott later required surgery in which a rod was put into his humerous bone, which is the bone between the elbow and shoulder.

Cahn said Pompei should have seen Scott walking across the street. The defendant testified that Scott ran into her car and that she did not see him before the accident, according to Cahn.

The jury apparently determined that both were partially responsible for the accident.

Scott, who earned $32,000 per year as a selector, which requires lifting boxes of produce and loading pallets, was permanently disabled by the injury, Cahn said, in that he lost strength and range of motion in the arm.

The jury based the amount of the award on his lost wages in the past and future, the attorney said.

Scott, who supports his wife and six children, has moved to South River since the incident.

Cahn said Pompei has $300,000 worth of insurance, and in order to collect the balance of the award, he said he will move to compel her insurance carrier to pay because the carrier made no effort to settle the case. Under state law, a carrier can be liable for an award in excess of insurance coverage if the carrier did not make a reasonable effort to settle, Cahn explained.

"I don't want to go after the driver, who probably doesn't have $200,000," Cahn said.

The defense lawyer, Joseph Choquette, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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