Jury Orders NJ Company to Pay $700,000 to Injured State Trooper
After a four-day trial, a Philadelphia jury recently awarded $700,000 to a Pennsylvania State trooper who was injured when her vehicle was rear-ended by a van operated by a New Jersey company.
Joanne Dragotta was injured when her vehicle was struck by a work van while she was stopped at a red light on a highway off-ramp.
The work van, a 1996 Ford Econoline 250, was owned by Service Master of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The company specializes in cleanup and disaster restorative services.
Dorsey Graham, a New Jersey resident, was the driver of the work van. He claimed that the van’s brakes had failed, but a police investigation showed that there was no mechanical failure.
The plaintiff’s complaint alleged that the company and driver were negligent.
The defendants did not dispute liability but argued that Dragotta had no visible injuries.
Dragotta claimed injuries to her neck, back, and head that required medical attention. She said that she experienced immediate back and neck pain and was examined in an emergency room, and later by her family doctor and a workers’ compensation physician. She also complained of headaches, nausea, and night sweats.
X-rays of her spine showed disc bulges and a lateral disc protrusion. An MRI showed ventral cord impingement and bilateral foraminal narrowing.
Dragotta claimed that her injuries affected her ability to work in her profession. She no longer works as a patrol officer and now works as a plainclothes trooper stationed inside a Harrah’s Casino in Delaware County.
The jury award will allow the plaintiff to pay her future medical bills and for ongoing treatments.