top of page


Reversal Where Evidence Did Not Support The Aggravation Of Pre Existing Injury Jury Charge.

February 20, 2009

Share to:

Sheffer v. Sullivan was a NJ verbal tort threshold case tried on the issue of damages only. The primary issue was whether plaintiff's alleged back injury was a disc bulge or herniation and whether the injury was permanent. Testimony from various doctors confirmed that the plaintiff had a preexisting arthritic condition in her spine which was asymptomatic, however, no expert testified that the preexisting condition was aggravated by the accident. Over the objection of the defense attorney the Court gave the jury the aggravation charge and the jury awarded $175,000.
The Appellate Division reversed and remanded for a new trial finding that by submitting the aggravation charge to the jury, the trial court allowed the jury to award damages for an aggravation of a preexisting condition, despite the absence of sufficient evidence to support the claim. Since the verbal tort threshold required proof of a permanent back injury, the Court's mistake in allowing the jury to consider aggravation evidence was " capable of producing an unjust result, and constituted reversible error."
<a href=""></a>

Headshot of Staff Member


bottom of page