On July 18, 2001, the plaintiff was forced into a concrete divider while traveling eastbound on Route 46 in Totowa, New Jersey, when an unidentified driver attempted to pass him in the left-hand shoulder of the road. The plaintiff sustained herniated discs at the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels of the spine, superimposed on pre-existing degenerative disc disease. He also sustained a cervical disc herniation, and a re-tear of the right rotator cuff, which had been the subject of three surgeries prior to the accident.
The plaintiff underwent intermittent conservative care for his injuries over a period of two years, culminating in a series of epidural cortisone injections into the lumbar spine. Finally, on July 23, 2003, he underwent an intradiscal electrotheramal therapy (IDET) procedure. Ultimately, after some measure of improvement, the plaintiff's condition returned back to baseline.
The case went through Uninsured Motorist Arbitration and an award of $92,5000 was entered on the $100,000 available policy limits. The insurance carrier's arbitrator disagreed on the amount of damages. On April 15, 2001, the insurance company advised that it was rejecting the arbitration award. Instead, they voluntarily paid $50,000 to the plaintiff following the arbitration hearing. Just prior to trial, the carrier offered an additional $25,000 to settle the case, bringing their offer up to $75,000 of the $100,000 available policy limits. The plaintiffs declined this offer.
John Ratkowitz tried the case before a jury in Newark, New Jersey, for three days.