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Flanagan v. Foster

Decided: December 23, 1981.

THOMAS CONNELLY FLANAGAN, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
RICHARD FOSTER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. AND THOMAS CONNELLY FLANAGAN, PLAINTIFF, V. ROBERT DANLEY AND LAURA YONKO, DEFENDANTS



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County.

Fritz, Ard and Trautwein. The opinion of the court was delivered by Fritz, P.J.A.D.

Fritz

[182 NJSuper Page 284] This appeal is from a jury verdict in an automobile negligence action. Defendant, the operator of an automobile in which plaintiff was riding when he was injured in the course of a one-car accident, urges as grounds for appeal that the trial judge erred in admitting evidence of medical expenses incurred by plaintiff; in not severing the trial of this action from the

theretofore consolidated trial of another automobile negligence action, at least with respect to matters requiring proof of medical expenses, and in denying defendant's motion for remittitur or, in the alternative, a new trial. We find no merit in these contentions and affirm.

The matter is complicated somewhat by the fact that the consolidated actions involved two different automobile accidents occurring a week apart, in each of which plaintiff was a passenger in an automobile being driven by another and in each of which the automobile in which plaintiff was riding was the only vehicle involved. Defendant Foster, appellant here, was the driver in the latter accident. It is of some moment that Foster was insured but Danley, the driver of the automobile involved in the first accident, was not. The Danley vehicle was registered in Pennsylvania and was not within the personal injury protection coverage (PIP) umbrella of N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4 and 10. Additionally, it is notable that plaintiff was not a resident in a household where there was PIP coverage and did not have PIP coverage of his own. The Unsatisfied Claim and Judgment Fund provided the defense for Danley and defendant Yonko.*fn1

The action against Foster and the action against Danley were consolidated for trial.*fn2 Following this trial the jury found both Danley and Foster negligent with regard to their respective accidents, found that that negligence was a proximate cause of the accident and that plaintiff was not negligent. By way of written interrogatories they determined money damage attributable to each of the accidents and with respect to each, attributable to components of pain and suffering, medical expenses,

loss of past income and loss of future income. Their determinations in these respects were as follows:

Danley Foster

Pain and suffering. $5,000 $7,500

Medical expenses. 6,266*fn3 8,356

Loss of past income. 7,320 ...


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