. .

Invest in your success.
JVRA helps lawyers win cases by providing critical information you can use to establish precedent, determine demand and win arguments.



Atlantic County, NJ

The plaintiff contended that the day following an approximate one foot snow storm, the defendant’ South Jersey Transportation Authority’s snow removal truck drivers improperly parked their vehicles on the narrow shoulder inside the Brigantine Tunnel while discussing lunch plans. The plaintiff maintained that when the host driver, who had a $________ policy, lost control on wet pavement in the tunnel, he struck the rear of one of the snow plows and the salt spreader invaded the passenger compartment, causing a severe head trauma. The plaintiff contended that the defendant was not permitted to stop in this location, especially since it wasn’t for the purpose of actual maintenance, and that if it had not been present, the plaintiff passenger would not have sustained her severe injuries which included massive head trauma, as well as multiple fractures of her back, pelvis, clavicle and ribs. The plaintiff withdrew the claim against the driver and the first question on the jury sheet inquired if the defendant Authority was negligent.

The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert maintained that if the trucks had not been stopped on the narrow shoulder, the catastrophic incident in which the salt spreader entered the passenger compartment after the host vehicle traveled under the salt spreader would not have occurred, and that it was likely that any accident would have been relatively minor. The plaintiff’s biomechanical engineer related that unlike the body of the truck itself, which contained protection to prevent cars from traveling underneath the body, the salt spreader did not, resulting in it invading the passenger compartment. The biomechanical expert concluded that it the defendant’s vehicles had not been stopped in this location, it was likely that the passenger would not have sustained severe injuries.

The plaintiff maintained that under Statute, the vehicles were not permitted to stop in this location unless such stopping was actually part of a maintenance operation and the plaintiff established that they had only stopped to discuss lunch plans. The plaintiff contended that the trucks could have stopped in an area near the tunnel which was designated for such parking and introduced aerial photographs depicting such areas. The defendant countered that there was no proof that such areas had been plowed as of yet, or whether the defendants could have used them.

The plaintiff also contended that that the defendant’s drivers should have used the radios provided to call a supervisor in deciding as to lunch plans, rather than stopping in this location. The defendant countered that in addition to keeping a hand on the steering wheel, a worker must keep the other hand free to operate the snow plow to be ready to elevate it when encountering road objects, such a drains. The defendant contended that calling the supervisor would clearly present more hazards than stopping on the left shoulder of the tunnel. The plaintiff contended that this defense position should be rejected, especially in view of the narrow nature of the shoulder. The defendant further contended that even if the host vehicle had not collided with the truck, the plaintiff could have nonetheless suffered very extensive injury if the vehicle struck the tunnel wall or travel back into the tunnel roadway.

The plaintiff maintained that the trauma caused a TBI and that plaintiff’s abilities have suffered extensively. It was undisputed that her IQ was reduced from the normal range to a score of 72. The plaintiff established that the plaintiff, who has lost the left field of vision in both eyes, cannot drive. The plaintiff also contended that the plaintiff’s ability to concentrate and her short term memory have been severely affected. The plaintiff maintained that once two years have passed since sustaining the injury, a patient cannot expect to experience significant improvement.

The plaintiff contended that the plaintiff will incur extensive expenses in the future and that her expenses will include the cost of an attendant for between 12 and 24 hours per day. The plaintiff introduced evidence of a life care plan of approximately $4 million plus earnings loss of $2 million. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff can function better than claimed. The plaintiff can walk and talk normally. The defendant played a surveillance video that showed her walking on the sidewalk near her home while talking on a cell phone and then appearing to remember that she forgot something, returning to obtain items.

The plaintiff was 18 at the time of the accident and 22 at trial. The defendant contended that the plaintiff was not taking medications or engaged in therapy that was designed to provide significant improvement. The defendant’s medical experts maintained that she could derive such improvement and that even small increments would be likely to have a very substantial functional effect. The defendant also maintained that although the plaintiff will require assistance with some aspects of life, such as balancing her checkbook, she should only need several hours per week of care. The defendant’s life care plan reflected approximately $________ in costs.The jury found that the defendant South Jersey Transportation Authority was not negligent and a defense verdict was entered.

To read the full article, please login to your account or purchase

5 ways to win with JVRA

JVRA gives you jurisdiction-specific, year-round insight into the strategies, arguments and tactics that win. Successful attorneys come to the table prepared and use JVRA to:

  1. Determine if a case is winnable and recovery amounts.
  2. Determine reasonable demand for a case early on.
  3. Support a settlement demand by establishing precedent.
  4. Research trial strategies, tactics and arguments.
  5. Defeat or support post-trial motions through past case histories.

Try JVRA for a day or a month, or sign up for our deluxe Litigation Support Plan and put the intelligence of JVRA to work for all of your clients. See our subscription plans.