$2.02M Verdict in Hudson Co. UM Case

Tavarez v. Esailiat: A Hudson County jury awarded $2.02 million on Dec. 9 on an uninsured-motorist claim by an Elmwood Park woman who suffered neck and knee injuries, and a dislocated jawbone, when her car was struck by another vehicle. But the carrier settled for the policy limit of $100,000 after the jury rendered its verdict.

Emely Tavarez, now 22, was driving west on Broadway in Paterson on April 12, 2013, when her car was broad-sided by a vehicle driving north on Summer Street that was driven by Kareen Esailiat, according to the suit.

Tavarez suffered dislocation of the right and left jawbones, requiring bilateral surgery. She also sustained a herniation in the neck and a sprained ligament in the knee. She suffers residual complications of the jaw and has pain and limitations in her neck, said plaintiff lawyer Alex Capozzi of Brach Eichler in Roseland.

She is studying to become an occupational therapist and had to re-take two semesters because of the accident, said Capozzi.

Esailiat had no insurance, Capozzi said. Tavarez filed an uninsured-motorist claim against her own insurance company, Allstate.

At a six-day trial before Superior Court Judge Joseph Turula, the jury awarded Tavarez $2 million for pain and suffering, and $27,500 in economic damages for missed schooling and for damage to her vehicle. But the UM limit on Tavarez’ policy was $100,000, leading to a settlement in that amount after the trial, Capozzi said.

Allstate was represented by Frederick Regenye of Kenneth Lipstein’s office in Westfield. Regenye did not return a call about the case.

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