$4.1 M Verdict Upheld for Bergen County Teen Motorist

$4.1 M Verdict Upheld for Bergen County Teen Motorist

Judge Powers just upheld a $4.1m verdict for a 14-year-old who sustained permanent damage to her spine. The court stated that the clear evidence supported the verdict and “should not shock the judicial conscious of the court”.  He denied the insurance company’s motion to reduce the award or grant a new trial.

“We wish to express our gratitude to Judge Powers and the jury,” stated, Andrew Fraser, partner at Sparta law firm, Laddey, Clark & Ryan. “We continue to be disappointed by auto insurance companies who trivialize these cases. The insurance company had a chance to settle fairly with the Kim family but instead forced them to trial and Judge Powers upheld the jury’s original decision.”

On December 19, 2016, a Bergen County jury returned a $4.1M verdict for a teen who had been permanently injured in a crash on February 23, 2013.  The teen, who was fourteen years old at the time, was a rear seat passenger in her family’s vehicle operated by her father.  Her father failed to stop at a stop sign and caused a crash with another vehicle resulting in permanent spinal injuries to his daughter. In this case, Ms. Kim was forced to sue her father, Isaac Kim.

In New Jersey, when a person is seriously and permanently injured in a car crash, the person who caused the crash is responsible for the resulting injuries and their insurance company is responsible for compensating the injured person.

“The Kim family understood that this was not a personal matter, but rather one of the insurance company not fairly working with them to resolve the case,” stated Kim family attorney, Russell Warren of Englewood Cliffs, who partnered with the team at Laddey, Clark & Ryan when it was clear the insurance company would force the case to trial. He continues, “While it is an uncomfortable and somewhat unique situation, the Kim family knew that in order to help their daughter this was the road we had to take.”

Prior to the trial, Ms. Kim’s mother requested $250k on behalf of her daughter to settle the case with their insurance company, Allstate. Allstate countered with $7,500 so Ms. Kim was forced to bring this case to court against her father and his insurance policy in order to try to obtain the compensation she is entitled to under the law. The evidence presented at trial showed that the 14-year-old had sustained permanent damage at several levels in her spine, had undergone years of treatment and was still be treated. The medical experts testified that the teen will require spinal surgery in the future for the damage to her spine.

“We are thankful to the court for their attentiveness in this case,” said Laddey, Clark & Ryan associate Meghan Steingall, who assisted Fraser at trial. “Before this crash, Ms. Kim was an energetic fourteen-year-old girl with no physical limitations.  Her every day life and activities are affected by pain since sustaining these injuries from the crash. We believe the court understood that point and their verdict reflected that.”