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Juries make awards in two accident suits

Published April 07. 2011 05:00PM

Injured parties in two separate automobile accidents were awarded damages by juries following trials in Schuylkill County court this week, but not the amounts sought.

Nicole Roberts, Coatesville, received $6,000 and her husband, Christopher Roberts, $1,474. In the second suit, Edward Bernitsky, New Philadelphia, received $375,000 less 25 percent.

The Roberts brought suit against Sandra Troxell, of 187 Winter Mountain Road, Andreas, West Penn Township, following an accident which occurred on Oct. 14, 2006, at 9:36 a.m. The Roberts car was traveling south on SR309 and when it slowed down to turn onto Loy Road was struck in the rear by Troxell's vehicle.

The trial was different from regular car accident suits. The only witness to testify was Nicole Roberts, who was a passenger in her husband's car. Neither her husband nor the defendant testified.

Troxell admitted striking the Roberts car. The medical testimony presented to the jury was written depositions. Nicole was seeking damages for back injuries. She testified of seeing several physicians and that she still has back problems.

It was also brought out in her testimony that she has had a back problems since the age of nine. The jury had to decide as to what damages were caused to the back in the accident.

The jury was asked to reach a verdict on one major question, "Do you find that Nicole Roberts suffered an injury that caused a serious impairment of a body function?" Their verdict was "no" and awarded her damages of $6,000 for loss of wages. Her husband was awarded $1,474 for car damages.

Second case

Benitsky claimed injuries suffered in an accident which happened on March 12, 2009, on SR61 in Port Carbon, claiming a truck owned by Koppenhaver and Sons Trucking Company Inc., of Reading, turned in front of him as he was traveling in the southbound lane and he suffered injuries.

The jury found the truck company 75 percent negligent and Bernitsky 25 percent. They awarded Bernitsky $375,000 in damages but the 25 percent is deducted from the award. The Roberts trial was before Judge Charles M. Miller and Bernitsky trial before Judge John E. Domalakes.

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