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$1.45 Million Settlement for Injured Driver in Rear-End Truck Collision

$1.45 Million Settlement for Injured Driver in Rear-End Truck Collision

In a Union Count suit, a $1.45 million settlement was reached for an Elizabeth resident who was critically injured in 2018 when the car carrier transport vehicle he was driving was rear-ended by a box truck. On May 8th, an agreement was reached in the case Valiente v. Garden State Lumber Products Transport.

Hector Valiente, 46, was traveling westbound on Interstate 495 in North Hills, New York. A box truck driven by Luis Perez of Garden State Lumber rear-ended the car carrier. The collision caused Valiente to suffer neck and knee injuries. According to his lawyer, William A. Bock, he was able to drive the vehicle carrier back to New Jersey, where he eventually sought medical treatment for his injuries.

According to Bock, medical examinations revealed that Valiente’s preexisting cervical intervertebral disc herniations at C4-5 and C5-6 had worsened, as had his knee arthritis. He had a partial meniscectomy on his right knee in December 2018. According to Bock, he eventually required a total knee replacement due to his chronic knee pain. He also underwent a C5-6 fusion and discectomy in February 2020.

Valiente claimed that his ailments prevented him from participating in his usual Sunday soccer games and caused him pain while working.

Valiente sued Perez, the truck’s owner, Penske Truck Leasing, and Perez’s employer, Garden State Lumber.

According to Bock, a biomechanical engineering expert for the defense, the force of impact was insufficient to cause Valiente’s injuries. Valiente sought to exclude the defense expert as a net opinion due to a lack of available crash data.

An orthopedic specialist for the defense attributed his complaints and treatments to pre-existing issues, citing an MRI from before the accident that revealed both cervical and knee injuries. Valiente had a recommendation for a left knee replacement before the collision, had already had right knee surgery, and was currently being treated for right knee degenerative arthritis. 

The case was settled on May 8 at mediation with Jack L. Lintner, a retired presiding judge of the Appellate Division. A settlement of $1.45 million was awarded.

Bock expressed satisfaction with the settlement. “This settlement not only provides compensation for his injuries but also acknowledges his resilience and dedication to moving forward,” said Bock. “It’s a testament to his character, and I am glad to have played a role in securing a just outcome for him.”

John Campbell represented Perez, Penske, and Garden State Lumber. Campbell did not respond to an interview request.


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