NJ Injury Lawyer – Chopped Finger

An NJ injury lawyer sees many different types of cases. Unfortunately, some of these involve amputation injuries. Usually, the amputation is the result of a car accident. Or sometimes a machine malfunction. But a recent case involved an amputation caused by human teeth!

Police Officer Dooley was on duty. A man named Rafael was in a nightclub. Rafael was not behaving. So Officer Dooley tried to remove Rafael from the club. Rafael fought the officer. During the fight, Rafael bit off part of Officer Dooley’s left index finger.

The Case Of The Cop Whose Finger Was Chopped

Officer Dooley hired an NJ injury lawyer. The lawyer filed a lawsuit.

If a personal injury lawsuit does not settle, it is scheduled for a mandatory arbitration. This is what happened in Officer Dooley’s case.

NJ injury lawyer

Twenty-two days before the arbitration, the court received a letter from Rafael. He wrote that he was in jail (surprise, surprise). But he still wanted to participate in the arbitration. Two days after the court received the letter, Rafael’s brother telephoned the court clerk. He spoke with one of the trial team leaders. The leader explained the arbitration process.

The same day, the leader wrote to Officer Dooley and Rafael. The leader explained what Rafael needed to do. He could be transported from jail to the arbitration. Or he could participate by way of video.

Rafael did not appear at all at the arbitration. Officer Dooley’s NJ injury lawyer obtained a favorable arbitration award. As required, the officer’s NJ injury lawyer filed a court motion to confirm the award. Rafael filed a demand to void the award. He wanted a jury to decide the case.

Now, Rafael was entitled to void the arbitration award. Trouble was, the demand has to be filed within 30 days of the arbitration. Rafael filed his demand after that. The court rejected Rafael’s late request.

Eight more days passed. Rafael now filed an opposition to Dooley’s prior motion to confirm the arbitration award. (Talk about closing the barn doors after the horse has left!)

Rafael then filed a court motion to void the arbitration award confirmation. He claimed it was unfair that arbitration took place in his absence. Judge James Isman denied Rafael’s motion. Rafael appealed.


The appeals court upheld Judge Isman’s decision. The appeals court noted “the efforts the [judge] made to explain the arbitration process. And the option of participating in the arbitration by video conference.”

In other words, Rafael could have appeared if he really wanted to. He chose not to.

Here’s the moral of the story. Always consult an experienced NJ injury lawyer. Let him guide you through the complicated litigation process.

The opinion of the appellate court can be read here.


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