$750,000 for Auto Accident Injuries

Zipfel v. Fontana: A Brick Township man agreed on Aug. 23 to accept a $750.000 settlement for back injuries be suffered in a 1996 car accident.

The accident occurred on Sept. 18, 1996, as Raymond Zipfel, now 43, was trying to cross Route 70 and Chestnut Road in Brick.

Zipfel was driving south on Chestnut while the defendant, Isabella Fontana, now 67 , of Brick, was driving north on the same road. A witness said Fontana was trying to turn left onto Route 70 when her car struck Zipfel's.

Zipfel went to the hospital twice during the next two days and was treated for back pain for two years by his family doctor, according to Zipfel's attorney, Douglas Hanna, a partner at Wall's Hanna & Anderson.

On Feb . 18, 1998, Zipfel was involved in another accident at the same intersection but was not seriously injured.

Zipfel's back pain continued and he underwent an MR1 in August 1999, his first since the 1996 accident. The MRI showed some disc damage.

In the next few months. Zipfel underwent two surgeries on his back, the second of which required the insertion of plates and screws and the fusion of two discs , Hanna says.

A dispalcher for a maritime shipping line, Zipfel was unable to return to work after the !forst accident and remains unemployed, says Hanna.

Fontana's attorney. Robert Boland. says he believes Zipfel's injuries were not caused by the accident with Fontana, but declines to say whether he believed they were preexisting or caused by the second accident.

Boland, in-house counsel for Prudential Property & Casualty Co.. Fontana 's insurance carrier, confirms that the company agreed to settle the case for a $750,000 lump-sum payment.

The settlement was entered intobefore Ocean County Superior Court Judge James Courtney. - By Michael Booth