Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 18, 2020

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The county of Camden, New Jersey was found liable for a car accident in which a driver crashed through a guardrail that the county knew was faulty. The teen driver ended up having his left leg amputated and a jury awarded him a record $31 million in damages.

Local governments can be liable for personal injuries

Local governments are generally responsible for maintaining roads and making sure that drivers are safe. That includes trimming trees, removing debris, maintaining guardrails and more. Their failure to do so can make them liable for someone’s injuries – which is exactly what happened in this case.

According to news reports, 18-year old Nicholas Anderson swerved onto the shoulder of a Camden County road to avoid hitting another vehicle. A drop in the road caused his car to crash into a guardrail that the town knew needed to be fixed for quite some time, but failed to do so. Instead of the guardrail protecting him, it ended up slicing through his car and resulted in his left leg being amputated. He also sustained serious injuries to left arm, which doctors were able to save from amputation, but which will require many surgeries. He sued the county and a jury awarded him $31 million – one of the largest state awards on file.

Damaging admissions

Anderson clearly had experienced counsel in this matter who was able not only to show how the town was negligent, but also discovered that county employees knew that the guardrail in question, as well as others, were dangerous and in need of repair – for almost 10 years beforehand! His lawyer as also able to prove that the county was negligent for not fixing the drop in the road and obtained additional testimony from a county employee who admitted that guardrail repairs were not typically addressed until after an accident occurred. Those admissions were likely what caused the jury to award that level of damages.

Are you adequately represented?

Rest assured that any defendant in a serious case such as this will have a staff of attorneys working to protect its interests. Make sure that you’re adequately represented by contacting an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney to discuss your situation. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.