South Jersey Gas Company and the driver of one of its vehicles agreed to a $1.55 million settlement with a former postal worker who was injured after his stopped vehicle was rear-ended by a gas company van.
The plaintiff, Fred R. Caspar, was a 34-year-old father of five and a U.S. postal worker when his stationary car was rear-ended by William Bergman, the operator of a South Jersey Gas Company van, in Monroe Township, N.J. The impact triggered a four-vehicle collision, with Caspar’s car propelled into the stationary car in front of his, which in turn struck a third stationary vehicle.
Caspar and his wife, Janeen, were represented by Robert N. Braker of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky.
As a result of the collision, Caspar suffered disc, spine and nerve damage and continues to suffer back and neck pain that radiates into all of his extremities. After two surgeries failed to relieve his pain, doctors informed Caspar there were no further surgical options available. He now takes significant, potent pain medications on a daily basis and is unable to work.
“He has been left with permanent, intractable back and neck pain which has changed his way of life,” said Braker. His wife, Janeen, also suffered a significant loss of consortium and has had to double the amount of time she works as a nurse in order to make up for her husband’s inability to earn income.
The defendants, according to Braker, initially attempted, unsuccessfully, to claim that Caspar’s back injuries pre-dated the accident and were due to a degenerative back condition. “The defendants also tried to shift the blame onto an ambulance that was providing emergency medical care on the side of the road,” said Braker. “However, we were successful in defeating motions to join the ambulance company and keep 100 percent of the fault and liability on South Jersey Gas Company and its employee, Mr. Bergman.”
Once that motion was defeated, the defendants agreed to the $1.55 million settlement.