Failure Of State
Of New Jersey To Properly Maintain Traffic Signs
(Settlement of $1.5 million
New Jersey Law Journal
1.5M for Failure To Replace
Hernandez v. Department of
Transportation: A motorist injured in a head-on collision with another
car agreed last Monday to a $1.5 million settlement of his Suit against
the state Department of Transportation for a lack of signage.
Rafael Hemandez of Belleville
was driving east on Route 7 in Kearny in April 2000 to Jersey City when
his car was struck by another driven by Heathcliffe Pilgrim, an employee
of Nobil Petroleum Testing Co. Pilgrim was delivering jet fuel samples
to Newark International Airport.
Pilgrim had wrongly entered
Route 7 heading west and ended up in the eastbound lane. Four signs, stating
“Do Not Enter,” “Keep Right” and “Wrong Way,” had been knocked down years
before and the DOT had not replaced them. The signs would have alerted
Pilgrim that he was heading into oncoming traffic, says Hernandez’s attorney,
Martin F. Kronberg.
Hernandez’s injuries included
a broken leg and hip, and a lacerated liver and spleen. He still has pain
and walks with a slight limp, says Kronberg.
Pilgrim was not significantly
injured. His insurance company, Progressive, settled for the full extent
of his $25,000 policy more than a year ago. His lawyer was Julie
Kennedy, an associate at Kent & McBride in Woodbridge.
Nobil was insured by One
Beacon Insurance of Boston, represented by Leonard Leicht, a partner with
Morgan, Melhuish, Monaghan, Arvidson, Abrutyn & Lisowski in Livingston.
He declines to comment, citing firm policy.
The DOT was represented by
Deputy Attorney General Paul Stevenson. He did not return a call at press
The settlement was reached
before Judge Camille Kenny of Hudson County
By Jim Edwards