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Plaintiff: Witnessing other driver’s death led to PTSD

Verdict: $600,000

Estela M. De La Cruz

Bergen County Court of New Jersey

Plaintiff Attorney(s)
James C. Dezao III, Law Offices of James C. Dezao, P.A., Parsippany, NJ

Defendant Attorney(s)
Brian R. Lehrer; Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP; Florham Park, NJ, for Craig Bacon, Bacon and Graham Inc., Estate of Janet Bacon

Facts & Allegations
On Apr. 5, 2009, plaintiff Karen Antonicello, 51, an insurance broker, was driving on Berdan Avenue in Wayne when she was invloved in a motor-vehicle accident.

Antonicello claimed that the accident occurred when a vehicle being driven by Janet Bacon ran through a stop sign and collided into her car. Antonicello claimed that she suffered herniated and bulging discs in her neck as a result of the colision. (Bacon died as a result of the injuries suffered during the crash.)

Antonicello sued the Bacon’s estate, along with Bacon’s husband, and the owner of the vehicle Bacon was driving at the time, Bacon and Graham Inc.

All of the defendants except the estate had been dismissed by the time of trial.

Counsel for the estate conceded liability at trial, which focused on damage-related issues.

back-bulging disc; back-herniated disc; neck-injury; neck-bulging disc; cervical; neck–herniated disc (herniated disc at C5-6); cervical (herniated disc at C5-6); other-chiropractic; other-loss of consortium; mental/psychological-emotional distress; mental/psychological-post-traumatic stress disorder.

After the accident, Antonicello was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, where she had X-rays and was released.

Antonicello followed up with her othopedist, who diagnosed her with a disc herniation at C5-6 and a disc bulge at C3-4. Antonicello underwent chiropractic treatment. She was given a recommendation for epidural injections, which she declined.

Antonicello claimed she has limitations in doing daily activities such as household chores, lifting, bending and typing.

She also claimed she suffers post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of Bacon’s being killed in the underlying accident.

Antonicello’s suit sought damages for past and future pain and suffering and for past and future medical costs. Antonicello’s husband, Robert, joined the action on a consortion-loss claim.

The defense claimed that Antonicello’s neck injuries were degenerative and not related to the accident with Bacon. The defense also argued that Antonicello did not suffer a permanent injury as a result of the accident.

The jury awarded Antonicello $450,000 in damages; her husband was awarded $150,000 on his derivative claim.

$450,000 Personal Injury: pain & suffering $150,000 Personal Injury: Loss of consortium.

Trial Details

  • Trial Length: 5 days
  • Trial Deliberations: 5 hours
  • Insurer(s): NJM


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