(Settlement of $1.5 million dollars)

New Jersey Law Journal

1.5M for Failure To Replace Signs

Hernandez v. Department of Transportation: A motorist injured in a head-on collision with another car agreed 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 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 time.

The settlement was reached before Judge Camille Kenny of Hudson County

By Jim Edwards