Your client is involved in a motor vehicle accident in the State of New Jersey. He claims to have suffered a loss of consciousness due to a medical condition that he never experienced before or was otherwise diagnosed with any condition that may have led to his losing consciousness. Surely New Jersey case law has addressed this issue before, right? Not so fast.
As of October 2022, New Jersey case law has yet to address the sudden medical emergency issue. There is, however, established case law addressing the “sudden emergency” doctrine. In
Harpell v. Public Service Coordinated Transport, 20 N.J. 309 (1956), the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Court’s ruling affirming the trial court’s judgment entering a verdict in favor of plaintiff, Albert E. Harpell. Mr. Harpell was a passenger on an electric trolley who was struck by a piece of concrete that had been thrown by a 15-year-old boy from a spot outside the fenced-in area that bordered the trolley route. Plaintiff was seated by a trolley window that was equipped with a metal screen that extended half-way up the window. The screen was designed to prevent injuries to passengers’ arms.