This was the motorcycle owned by Robert Muller, who sustained injuries to his left shoulder and hip following a 2016 head-on crash. This was the motorcycle owned by Robert Muller, who sustained injuries to his left shoulder and hip following a 2016 head-on crash. Courtesy photo.

A 57-year-old Middlebury motorcyclist who sustained injuries to his left shoulder and hip after his vehicle was struck head-on has settled his case for $1.45 million.

Robert Muller fell off the vehicle, landing almost underneath the tire well of the truck, after Edward Tierney’s pickup truck collided with his motorcycle, according to Garrett Moore Jr., Muller’s attorney and a partner with Middlebury’s Moore, O’Brien & Foti. The accident occurred in July 2016 in Bridgewater, and a lawsuit followed in October 2016.

Moore said Tierney exited a gas station on Route 67 and then struck Muller’s Harley-Davidson as he attempted to re-enter the same gas station. Police cited Tierney with improperly entering a lane of travel. Muller, who landed on his hip and shoulder and struck his head, was not wearing a seat belt, his attorney said.

Muller was rushed from the scene to a nearby hospital, Moore said. He sustained head pain, a nose laceration, dislocated shoulder and toe, and pain in his hip, left leg, thigh, neck and right foot, Moore said. His most serious injuries required him to undergo three surgeries on his left shoulder and one on his fractured hip. Muller might also need a total shoulder replacement in 10 years, his attorney said.

Carolyn McAuliffe of the Hartford-based Law Offices of David J. Mathis represented the defense. McAuliffe did not respond to a request for comment Friday. But in court papers, the defense denied that Tierney was negligent for the accident and left it to the plaintiff to prove the specifics of the accident.

Meanwhile, the plaintiff put the blame on Tierney.

“My client is happy with the settlement and happy to put this all behind him and to move forward,” Moore said. “He has pain on a daily basis today and can no longer do the job he loves. He is an arborist and loves being a tree surgeon. His everyday life, though, is very hard; from sleeping to walking he has difficulty. He will have these issues for the rest of his life.”

In the plaintiff’s mediation position statement, Moore also wrote that his client “has difficulty hanging a towel on a rack or taking a shower. He cannot do yard work because he has a weight restriction of five pounds, and he needs help carrying groceries and laundry.”

The case was settled on Feb. 14, following four hours of mediation the day before in front of mediator Michael Riley, who works at Pullman & Comley.

Moore said the defense originally offered $500,000 to settle the case while he was holding out for the full policy of $1.5 million.

At one point, Moore said, an economist for the defense recommended Muller do a less strenuous job like being an insurance salesman. “I laughed,” Moore said.

Muller incurred $348,235 in medical costs with an outstanding balance of $6,806.

The settlement was paid via The Hartford, which had the underlying policy, and Zurich Insurance Group, which provided the umbrella policy within Tierney’s policy.

The money will be disbursed within the next month, Moore said.

 

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