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New Jersey’s sanitation workers do not expect life-altering events to take place during their early morning work shifts. A Tom’s River man, however, experienced one such event at 5:30 a.m. while working on his twenty-seventh birthday. 

As reported by Jersey Shore Online, a commercial SUV struck the sanitation worker when the vehicle’s driver reached for his coffee cup. The result of that sip-of-coffee-length distraction  was catastrophic for the Tom’s River man, who found himself pinned between the SUV and a garbage truck. 

Doctors could not save the worker’s leg 

Doctors made several attempts to repair the man’s left leg, but after repeated operations, they found it was necessary to perform a below-the-knee amputation. As stated in the sanitation worker’s lawsuit, the result of the SUV driver’s negligence was a ‘loss of enjoyment of life” along with the man suffering “serious physical pain.” 

First settlement comes up short 

As reported by NJ.com, the Tom’s River man’s lawsuit claims that he now also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, in addition to facing significant difficulties in earning a living. The insurance carrier for the company the SUV driver worked for offered a $1M settlement, which the injured worker accepted. According to the court filings, however, the amount of the settlement did not fully compensate the sanitation worker for all of his losses and the pain and suffering endured. His legal team fought for further compensation and won an additional award of $3.35M. 

Permanent and long-term losses may require aggressive pursuit of legal justice 

Severe personal injuries do more than cause lost time from work and incur medical expenses. The victim may never regain the type of life and earning potential he or she previously enjoyed. When a negligent driver causes a catastrophic injury that leaves an individual with a permanent loss, such as a missing limb, and long-term stress disorders, obtaining full justice may require an aggressive legal pursuit.