Personal Injury and Municipal Government Entities

31-2-5784 Mejia v. Eubanks, N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam) (5 pp.

I tripped and fell over a public sewer lid.

I was struck by a municipal police car or dump truck or trash truck, or any other vehicle on by a town Borough  or any other municipal government entity in the state of New Jersey.

Am I able to sue for my injuries? Why did my case against the police department or Township streets department get dismissed even though they drove into me and injured me?

Submitted by New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark

The common thread in all of these questions is the ability of a person to sue a political entity such as a borough, town, Police Department, state police, streets department, high school or school district all in the state of New Jersey. In order to be successful to bring a claim against a public entity in the state of New Jersey you must be able to prove on, on top of any negligence, a permanent injury by way of objective medical evidence. Objective injury has been defined under the New Jersey tort claims act As a permanent inconsequential injury to a bodily parts such as a joint or organ  or bone or body system that is permanent in nature and cannot be placed in its original condition.

The court dismissed this case, and the Appellate Division up from the dismissal, because they played it has felt approved by way of objective medical evidence that he/she suffered that permanent injury for which she is not able to recover. Strains and sprains and mild fracture‘s that are not confirm by objective medical evidence and not communicated as permanent injury by a licensed medical doctor, or not enough for a plaintiff To satisfy his or her burden under the heightened standards of the New Jersey tort claims act.

Hopefully your attorney discusses all of these issues with you prior to taking on your case so you knew what was going to happen. If you have any questions you can always call Hark and Hark to discuss these issues.

Appellant instituted the underlying action for injuries sustained to her neck and back when the car she was travelling in as a passenger was struck in the rear by a sanitation truck owned by respondent-City and driven by respondent-employee. Respondents moved for summary judgment arguing that respondent’s injuries failed to vault the threshold required by the Tort Claims Act (TCA), N.J.S.A. 59:1-1 to -13-10. The court granted summary judgment after finding that appellant failed to establish that she sustained a “permanent loss of a bodily function that [was] substantial.” On appeal, appellant contended that the trial court erred because there were material questions of fact and her proofs “satisfied the [TCA’s] threshold.” In order to succeed on a claim against a public entity for pain and suffering, a plaintiff must prove both: “(1) an objective permanent injury, and (2) a permanent loss of a bodily function that is substantial.” Toto v. Ensuar, 196 N.J. 134, 145 (2008). Proof of injury to a neck or back accompanied by continual pain and lack of range in motion alone was not enough to establish the permanent loss of a bodily function required by the TCA. Gilhooley v. Cty. Of Union, 164 N.J. 533, 541 (2000). Here, there was no dispute that appellant was injured in the accident. However, the court held that the medical evidence appellant filed did not show evidence that appellant suffered a permanent loss of a bodily function that was substantial, just that she was treated by a chiropractor and a pain management doctor. Accordingly, the court affirmed summary judgment in favor of respondent.

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Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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