Judge Thomas Vena
Court Historic Courthouse
James C. Dezao III, Law Offices of James C. Dezao, P.A., Parsippany, NJ
Martha Lynes, of Chasan Leyner & Lamparello in Secaucus
An Essex County jury awarded $3.1 million on March 26 for car-crash-caused neck and lower back injuries, though a high-low agreement will limit the recovery. The accident occurred in Livingston on May 20, 2009. Kate Quarcoo of Newark, then 33, was driving west on South Orange Avenue when she was broadsided on the driver’s side by a car that went through a red light at Passaic Avenue, says her lawyer, James DeZao of Parsippany.
The accident caused herniations at C5-6, C6-7, L4-5 and L5-S1, and lumbar facet syndrome. Quarcoo was treated with chiropractic care and had one epidural injection in her back. She stopped the shots because she became pregnant in 2011 but she plans to resume them, DeZao says. She continues to have pain that interferes with sitting, standing, lifting, normal household chores, holding her child and sleeping, which she now sometimes does on a sofa, and is no longer able to exercise as before, he adds.
The other car’s driver, Hsien Li of Livingston, died about a year after the accident of unrelated causes. His executrix, Yvonne Li, took over the case.
DeZao says there were no witnesses and the defense denied liability until the day trial began before Superior Court Judge Thomas Vena, but it continued to contest damages.
The verdict was for noneconomic damages. No lost wages were sought.
DeZao says Li had only $100,000 in coverage with Allstate and the parties entered into a zero-$100,000 high-low settlement because the estate had no other assets.
Defense counsel Martha Lynes, of Chasan Leyner & Lamparello in Secaucus, confirms the verdict.