Typically, automobile accidents occur while moving automobiles collide, but what if suddenly you found yourself rear-ended by another car while sitting parked in your vehicle? This is what happened to Jesse L. Mickens, Jr., who was permanently injured on January 8, 2010 in a rear end accident caused by driver Timothy Misdom (who was driving a vehicle owned by the City of Elizabeth). At trial, the jury awarded Mickens $2,400,000 for his damages, which included pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, impairment, and disability. Following the jury verdict, the defendants sought a new trial or remittitur (reduce or throw out the jury verdict), which the trial judge denied. After a five-year ordeal, on January 7, 2015, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the decision of the trial court and said that while the jury verdict was high, it was not shocking to the judicial conscience.
How did the Appellate Court come to this decision? The Appellate Court reviewed the evidence, which included the nature of the accident, the plaintiff’s injuries, and impact of those injuries on his life. As previously stated, Mr. Mickens was sitting in his parked car when he felt an impact from the back of his car as he leaned over to get something from off the floor from the front passenger side. The defendant driver was driving a pick up truck that had backed into Mr. Mickens’ car, which moved the car 10 to 15 feet from its parked position. Both vehicles were not severely damaged. Initially, Mr. Mickens did not seek medical attention but eventually went to the emergency room due to lower back pain and was shortly released thereafter. He subsequently sought treatment from a chiropractor, which provided no relief. Eventually after an MRI study, which revealed a herniated disc, and several physician consultations, Mr. Mickens’ underwent disc-removal surgery. Due to his surgical treatment, plaintiff, a warehouse worker, missed 4 weeks of work, but had to return back to work so he could support his wife and child. Even after the surgery, he experienced continued back pain and discomfort and could not engage in recreational activities or do things around the house.
At the time of trial, 3 years after the injury, plaintiff along with his witnesses testified that he continued suffering with pain, discomfort, and limitations. Defendants’ experts did not convince the jury or trial court judge with their opinion that the herniated disc did not result from the collusion. The Appellate Court honored the jury’s assessment and deferred to the trial judge’s “feel” of the case.
As Mr. Mickens’ case suggests, injuries stemming from rear end accidents can be debilitating. Injuries may range from back pain, broken bones, head injuries, internal organ damage, whiplash, spinal cord injuries, or severe bodily harm. Victims may suffer property and economic damage when they are unable to work due to the reoccurring need for medical treatment caused by an automobile accident.
As seasoned multi-state automobile accident attorneys practicing in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware we understand how devastating an unexpected rear accident can be for you or your loved one. Call Lundy Law Personal Injury Attorneys at 1(800) LUNDYLAW® to discuss your options so our highly skilled legal advocates can determine the cause of the rear end accident, who was a fault, and what type of compensation you should be entitled to based on injuries you or your loved one has suffered.