Head-On Collision

Injuries alleged: Comminuted fracture of the patella with right patella tendon rupture

Amount of award: $425,000, arbitration award

A 36-year-old advertising executive was struck head-on by a dump truck that crossed the double line at approximately 40 mph. He suffered a comminuted fracture of the patella of his right knee, his upper body was not seriously injured since his air bag had deployed.

Because liability was clear, the only outstanding issue was the extent of the damages.

He was first treated emergency and then transferred for surgery under the care of a patella reconstruction specialist. He underwent surgical reduction and internal fixation of his right knee and remained an inpatient at for six days. His knee has remained symptomatic following his first surgery, requiring that he undergo three further surgeries, two arthroscopic procedures and several courses of physical therapy.

He was evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon who found that he continued to suffer a partial permanent disability and that he would probably require future surgery. The examining physician testified at the arbitration.

His damages include the daily bouts of sharp pain he suffers in his knee, which is exacerbated by his frequent travel for work. In his written finding, the arbitrator found that the impact of the accident on the quality of his life has been "devastating."

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