Plaintiff’s Verdict Overturned on Appeal After Trial Court Prevented Defendant from Raising “Low-Impact” Defense

Earlier last month, the Nevada Supreme Court issued a written opinion that reversed a $4.5 million jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff, based on the lower court’s disallowance of the defendant’s low-impact defense. In the case, Rish v. Simao, the appellate court determined that the lower court erred when it entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff after the defendant repeatedly violated the court’s pre-trial order preventing the defendant from bringing up how minor the traffic accident was that allegedly caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

glass-89068_960_720The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff’s car was struck from behind by the defendant’s vehicle when the two were in stop-and-go traffic. After the accident, an ambulance came, but all parties refused medical treatment. The plaintiff later filed a personal injury case against the defendant, alleging that he did in fact sustain serious injuries as a result of the rear-end accident, and that the accident was the defendant’s fault.

In a pre-trial motion, the plaintiff asked the court to prevent the defendant from bringing up that the traffic accident was only a minor one, with minimal property damage. The plaintiff also asked the court to prevent the jury from seeing photographs of the damage, which by all accounts was slight. The trial judge, relying on his interpretation of relevant case law, granted the plaintiff’s motion.

At trial, the defendant had a difficult time putting up a defense without violating the court’s order. In fact, the plaintiff’s attorney successfully objected eight times when the defense attorney would bring up the fact that the accident was only a minor one. In the last instance, the defense attorney asked the defendant about the accident, and the court sustained the plaintiff’s objection. The court then entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff, due to the defendant’s failure to comply with the court’s order. The jury then returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for $4.5 million.

On Appeal, a New Trial Is Granted

The appellate court hearing the case reversed the lower court’s decision and ordered a new trial. The court explained that the trial judge misinterpreted the case law and should have allowed the defendant’s medical expert – who had reviewed the plaintiff’s records – to testify about his opinion as to whether the slight collision at issue could have resulted in such injuries. The appellate court ordered a new trial.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Of course, it is always a lawyer’s job to argue in his client’s best interest. However, encouraging a court to make a questionable judgment subjects a plaintiff to the possibility of an appeal, which can at least delay any award received and potentially result in a new trial. It is important to be strategic in selecting which arguments to pursue. The skilled attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC know how to fight for their clients within the confines of the law, and we have a successful track record at trial and on appeal. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Court Keeps Out Plaintiff’s Expert Testimony in Birth Injury Case against Car Manufacturer, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published March 2, 2016.

Court Finds Landowner Had No Duty to Prevent Lessee’s Horses from Escaping Leased Property, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published March 23, 2016.

Contact Information