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Atlantic County, NJ

The plaintiff driver, 23 years-old at the time, contended that the defendant police officer, who was making a left turn with a green arrow from a major roadway, negligently turned into the side of the vehicle of the plaintiff who had entered the intersection from the opposite direction after the traffic light had changed. The plaintiff supported that, as a result, his car was propelled into a light post and flipped onto its roof. The plaintiff maintained that he suffered a closed head injury, mild TBI, and cognitive deficits, including psychological depression, and impulse control difficulties. The plaintiff also supported that because of severe and continuing physical pain caused by the injuries, he became addicted to painkilling medication The plaintiff maintained that the injuries will permanently prevent him from working. The defendant contended that the plaintiff entered the intersection at a high rate of speed, and was overwhelmingly comparatively negligent. The defendant also argued that the plaintiff did not have sufficient evidence to establish that plaintiff met the Tort Claims Act’s verbal threshold. The officer was not responding to an emergency. The defendant’s accident reconstruction expert testified that the plaintiff was traveling in excess of 40 mph in the 25 mph zone at the time of impact. The evidence also reflected that the plaintiff’s light changed from red to green as he approached the intersection, and a motorist who was at the red light, indicated in discovery that the plaintiff entered the intersection at significantly greater speed than estimated by the defendant’s accident reconstruction expert. The plaintiff countered that since the plaintiff only traveled 30 feet after entering the intersection until the collision, there would clearly be inadequate time for him to make such observations. The plaintiff also elicited testimony from the defendant’s accident reconstruction expert, that it was highly doubtful that the witness could make the claimed observations in such a short time period.

This witness was a party to the litigation, and the plaintiff would have argued that in view of the impediments on the witness overcoming the Tort Claims Act’s verbal threshold, it was important for him to attribute significant fault to the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert would have indicated that the plaintiff was traveling at 25-30 mph as he entered the intersection. The plaintiff, and his passenger, testified as to this speed, and contended that the plaintiff suffered a severe closed head injury that manifested in a mild TBI, cognitive deficits involving memory and concentration, difficulties with impulse control, and a psychological depression. The plaintiff also maintained that three different advanced imaging studies lent support for the plaintiff’s position that he sustained brain abnormalities. The plaintiff contended that a SPECT Scan showed reduced blood perfusion to portions of the brain, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) that measures water flow, and NeuroQuant that measures atrophy of structures within the brain, which all supported the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff also contended that because of the both the TBI and the physical pain associated with the non-fracture injuries suffered in the collision, he became addicted to painkilling medication, and was treated at a rehabilitation facility, and completed a staying at a second facility that was a part of a community reintegration program.

The plaintiff, who was a warehouse worker at the time of the accident, contended that because of the TBI, he will permanently be unable to work. The plaintiff would have made income claims of approximately $________.The case settled after mediation for $________.

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