A jury in Camden County, New Jersey unanimously made the decision to grant Nicolas Anderson $31,295,007 in his personal injury suit against the County of Camden. Anderson had alleged the county was negligent for failure to repair a highway and guardrail it knew was dangerous.
The verdict is possibly the largest ever in a motor vehicle accident in the Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division, Camden County.
On December 23, 2004, Anderson, then 18-years-old, was driving in his vehicle when a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction entered his lane. He swerved to the right to avoid colliding head-on with the other vehicle and went onto the shoulder, which was about six inches lower than the highway.
Because of the drop, Anderson was unable to pull back onto the highway and lost control of his vehicle, which hit the guardrail. The impact caused the guardrail to penetrate the vehicle’s driver’s side door and sever his right leg. He also suffered major injuries to the left arm that rendered it nearly unusable.
Raritan Avenue, the street Anderson was traveling on, and the guardrail are both under the ownership, maintenance, and control of the County of Camden.
Anderson alleged negligence on the part of Camden County for failure to repair a road that was known to be dangerous. The county also knew for 20 years that the guardrail was dangerous, but by its own admission, failed to comply with safety standards because it does not repair dangerous conditions until an accident occurs.