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The truck ripped his work boot – and his big toe – right off his foot.
The landscaper, 58, always rode his bicycle to work. Even on the Fourth of July weekend, when other people were off celebrating.
The shore traffic around Stafford Township had caused bumper-to-bumper backups where Route 72 West met the Stafford Square shopping center. He carefully crossed the first half of the state highway while it was safe, then waited on foot on the grassy median for another safe moment to wheel his bike the rest of the way.
The light turned yellow, and the driver waiting in the far left lane waved him on. As he crossed in front of stopped traffic, the light changed to red.
He cleared the first lane, no problem. Then the second. The last lane should’ve been a breeze, with the traffic light clearly red.
But halfway across the lane, a noise – the squeal of brakes – caught his attention. He had just enough time to realize the oncoming truck was about to run right through the red light – right into him. But he didn’t have time to get out of the way.
He turned and sprinted back the other way. He was almost clear when the Sea Isle Ice truck ran over his foot and plowed into the wheel of his bicycle. The impact knocked him to the ground.
While he struggled to stand, falling repeatedly, horrified witnesses rushed to his aid. They dialed 9-1-1. One witness, a nurse, asked his name. She held his head and warned him to stay awake as they waited for the ambulance.
He needed a tourniquet – now. One witness retrieved a towel from his trunk, while another offered his belt. Incredibly, in the midst of these Good Samaritans stopping to help, the young driver who ran over the wounded man announced that he was going to “take off.” The same witnesses are hovering over the victim, all but helpless, now made sure the careless driver didn’t getaway.
After seconds that seemed to last for hours, help came. The victim was flown to the Regional Trauma Center in Atlantic City. The news wasn’t good. His left foot had fractures, dislocated joints – and, of course, the missing big toe. Not only were the pieces of his severed toe too damaged to reattach, but doctors had to amputate even more of his foot.
For a man with a very physical job, a bicycle as his primary form of transportation, and no auto or health insurance to pay for medical care, the situation might’ve seemed hopeless. The injury left him permanently disfigured and would keep him from ever returning to his landscaping job.
Then he found us – and found out all the ways the right attorney can make a difference.
Not having insurance could’ve been a major obstacle for this victim. It could have kept him from ever getting better. But we didn’t let it. We went to work right away securing medical coverage from NJPLIGA, a state fund for accident victims who find themselves injured and uninsured through no fault of their own.
Now our client could see a doctor – but he still couldn’t get to one. He couldn’t ride his bike with his wounded, bandaged foot, and there were no drivers in his life that he could turn to for help.
Then there was the language barrier. As a native Spanish speaker, communicating with doctors and staff members who primarily spoke English was difficult. And when it’s your health on the line, you don’t want to settle for communication that’s “close enough.”
So our team made sure nothing stood in the way of this client getting help. We arranged transportation to and from doctors’ appointments for him. We even got him a translator.
When an accident has turned your life upside down, you need someone willing to go the extra mile for you. But even this was just a fraction of what we did to help him get his life back on track. After all, our most important job as his attorneys was to handle the claim for him and get him the money he deserved. And we did – all $450,000 of it.