Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that raises an interesting issue that frequently comes up in Maryland car accident cases. The case required the court to determine if a jury’s verdict in favor of the defendant was proper, given that the defendant admitted to causing the accident and that the accident caused the plaintiff “some injury” but denied the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s claimed injuries.
Ultimately, the court concluded that the defendant’s “admission” was limited and that the issues of causation and damages were still at issue. Thus, the jury was acting within its discretion to find in favor of the defendant.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was injured in a car accident when the defendant failed to yield while making a left turn. The plaintiff claimed that she suffered a serious injury as a result of the accident and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant.
In support of her claim, the plaintiff testified and presented video depositions from several of her treating physicians. She also offered expert witness testimony establishing that she had a long history of neck and back pain. None of the experts was able to definitively testify that the accident caused the plaintiff’s injuries, although one expert did state that the plaintiff’s injuries were consistent with those that would be expected in this type of accident.
The defendant admitted that she was responsible for the accident and even admitted that the accident caused “some injury.” However, the defendant contested the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant.
The plaintiff appealed, arguing that there was no basis for the jury’s verdict because the defendant both admitted to causing the accident and admitted that the accident caused her “some injury.” The court, however, was not convinced by the plaintiff’s arguments. The court explained that the defendant’s admission that she caused the accident certainly established that the defendant violated a duty of care that she owed to the plaintiff. However, by admitting that the accident caused only “some injury,” the court held that the defendant contested both the causation and damages elements of the plaintiff’s claim.
The court then explained that, since the plaintiff’s evidence was refuted, the jury was acting within its discretion to reject the plaintiff’s claim despite the defendant’s “admission.” As a result, the plaintiff will be unable to recover for her injuries.
Interestingly, when asked by the judge, the plaintiff’s attorney explained that he intentionally did not introduce the plaintiff’s medical bills. Apparently, he did not want to anchor the jury’s finding to the amounts detailed in the medical bills. This strategy, however, may have contributed to the jury’s verdict.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland car accident attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience handling car accident claims, and they know how to succeed on their clients’ behalf. Our team of Maryland injury attorneys routinely consults with industry experts to put together a convincing case for fair compensation. To learn more, and to speak with an attorney about your case today, call 410-654-3600 or fill out our online form.
More Blog Posts:
Court Finds Transportation Department Not Liable for Misplaced Construction Barrel, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published February 2, 2018.
Maryland Court Discusses Admissibility of Medical Records in Recent Car Accident Case, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published February 16, 2018.