Client: NIP Management Services, LLC,
Claims Administrator for the Garden State Municipal Joint Insurance Fund
Court: Mercer County Superior Court
Trial Attorney: Christopher J. Carlson, Esq.
Plaintiff brought a claim alleging a variety of very serious injuries to several parts of her body which she attributed to a minor motor vehicle accident where a police officer in the course of his employment lightly struck the rear of the vehicle in which Plaintiff was a passenger. Similar bodily injury claims asserted on behalf of her two children were dismissed via a Motion for Summary Judgment relying upon the Tort Claims Act, but Plaintiff’s claim was permitted to proceed to trial. Liability was accordingly stipulated, with the issue of damages to be decided by the jury.
After thorough cross-examination of Plaintiff which called into question her version of the accident and what allegedly happened to her body within the vehicle, and thus her credibility, the jury was shown vehicle “damage” photographs and heard the testimony of the vehicle owner, who acknowledged that the vehicle was never repaired after the accident. Thereafter, the defense relied upon the report and testimony of an accident reconstructionist and a biomechanist, arguing that- contrary to her testimony- the minimal impact would not have subjected Plaintiff’s body to forces severe enough to cause her significant and permanent injury, which Plaintiff was required to prove in order to prevail under the Tort Claims Act, applicable to this matter given the status of Defendants as a municipal entity.
Thorough cross-examination of Plaintiff’s medical expert, combined with credible testimony from the defense medical expert, presented the jury with evidence that many of Plaintiff’s alleged injuries were at least to some extent pre-existing, and completed the presentation of a defense that comprehensively refuted each aspect of Plaintiff’s claim.
The jury accordingly returned a verdict for our clients, finding that Plaintiff’s alleged injuries attributable to the accident did not satisfy the Tort Claims Act.