Largest Reported NJ Personal Injury Settlement during the Court’s 2022-2023 term

Man Severely Injured After Underground Pipe Explosion- $900,000 Settlement

In New Milford, New Jersey, a 31-year-old man was severely injured after an underground pipe explosion on the road flipped his car over. The man had been proceeding through a metal-plated portion of the intersection of River Road and Henley Avenue when there was a sudden underground explosion, causing the client’s car to violently flip over on the roadway. The explosion had been caused by a pipe separation in the newly installed underground pipeline system. Davis, Saperstein and Salomon, P.C. Partner Garry R. Salomon filed suit in The Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County, and proved the negligence of the parties involved in the pipe installation in failing to safely maintain and supervise their system, securing the client a $900,000 settlement.

The client was taken by ambulance to Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, New Jersey. He suffered severe injuries to his head, neck, back, jaw, and left arm. He was diagnosed with closed head injury with post concussive syndrome for his head, and a bilateral TMJ displacement in his jaw. He was also diagnosed with multiple disc herniations, posterior disc bulging, and radiculopathy in his cervical spine as well as an anterior wedge fracture and radiculopathy in his lumbar spine. An X-ray also showed a comminuted displaced fracture in the man’s left arm, for which he received open reduction with external fixation surgery. For his spinal injuries, he received a cervical epidurogram and a cervical epidural steroid injection. To treat his jaw injury, he underwent the insertion of mandibular and maxillary temporomandibular joint orthotics. The man also attended frequent physical therapy and psychotherapy to treat his injuries and condition.

Davis, Saperstein and Salomon, P.C. retained medical experts to author narrative reports proving the permanent nature of the client’s injury. Partner Garry R. Salomon also hired vocational and economic experts to assess future employability of the client and determine the loss of his future earning capacity. The vocational expert found that due to his new physical limitations, the man is unable to perform his past work as a residential Painter. The economics expert furthermore estimated that with these limitations, the client suffers a loss in future earning capacity of several hundred thousand dollars.

To assess liable parties responsible for the client’s injury, Davis, Saperstein and Salomon, P.C. Partner Garry Salomon retained an engineering expert to evaluate the gas line explosion. The expert referenced the NJDOT Standards for Roadways and OSHA Regulations and Industry Standards, which establish that public safety must be maintained during work efforts. The expert opined that had the contractor and managing groups had guided the public away from the hazardous active work site with cones, barricades, etc., the man would have been protected from the work-related explosion.

The experts’ reports proved our client’s entitlement to financial compensation for his medical bills, loss in income, and pain and suffering. The reports also helped Davis, Saperstein and Salomon, P.C. Partner Garry R. Salomon win the client his deserved settlement for his injuries and suffering.

Settlements are often limited by the total available insurance coverage. Insurance company adjusters and their lawyers often defend cases by claiming that a client was negligent and could have avoided being injured by arguing comparative negligence on the part of an injured client; or that their pain and suffering was caused by pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries. Despite those defenses, the Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, PC lawyers won their client’s injury claim. Each client’s case is unique. Results may differ because of different facts, circumstances and available insurance coverage.


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Medical Glossary:

Comminuted Fracture: A communicated fracture is a type of broken bone where the bone is broken into at least two pieces. These injuries usually occur after suffering severe traumas, like auto accidents, and require surgery to help repair the bone.

Diagnostic Epidurogram: Diagnostic epidurogram is a procedure performed to assess the structure of the epidural space in the spine. The procedure is done prior to the administration of epidural steroids in order to ensure precise delivery to the source of pain.

Disc Bulge: Bulging discs are a condition in which the inner portion of a spinal disc remains contained in the outer portion of a spinal disc. The outer shell often becomes weaker, and the disc begins to bulge to one side of the spinal canal or flatten. Many experience bulging discs after an injury.

Disc Herniation: A disc herniation occurs when a portion of the disc, which acts as a shock absorber for the spinal bones, is pushed into the spinal canal. While some disc herniations may result in no pain or discomfort, others can result in excruciating pain and numbness.

Epidural Steroid Injections: Epidural steroid injections are a minimally invasive procedure that can relieve neck, arm, aback and leg pain; delivers steroids via a needle. The steroid calms down the irritated nerve that is causing the pain and swelling. Relief from the injections typically last for three months or more.

External Fixation: An external fixation is a process for fracture fixation by which pins or wires are inserted into bone percutaneously and held together via an external scaffold.

Open Reduction: An operation where orthopedic surgeons reposition and realign the pieces of a broken bone

Post Concussion Syndrome: When symptoms such as dizziness, headache, and issues of concentration subside and persist after a mild head injury.

Radiculopathy: Doctors use the term radiculopathy to specifically describe pain, and other symptoms like numbness, tingling, and weakness in your arms or legs that may be caused by a problem with your nerve roots. The nerve roots are branches of the spinal cord that carry signals to the rest of the body at each level along the spine. This term comes from a combination of the Latin word “radix,” which means the roots of a tree, and the Latin word “pathos,” which means a disease. This disease may be caused by direct pressure from a herniated disc or degenerative changes in the lumbar spine that cause irritation and inflammation of the nerve roots. Radiculopathy may create a pattern of pain and numbness that is felt in your arms or your legs in the area of skin supplied the by sensory fibers of the nerve root, and weakness in the muscles that are also supplied by the same nerve root. The number of roots that are involved can vary, from one to several, and it can also affect both sides of the body at the same time.

TMJ: stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. TMJ causes pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles controlling jaw movement.