Court Denies Plaintiff’s Request for New Trial after Jury Issues Zero-Dollar Verdict

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Virginia issued a written opinion in a car accident case that required the court to determine if the plaintiff should be entitled to a new trial after the jury found the defendant to be at fault for the car accident but awarded the plaintiff no damages. Ultimately, the court determined that the issue of damages depended in large part on the plaintiff’s own credibility and the medical evidence she presented. Since there was conflicting evidence presented about whether the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the accident, the court held that the jury’s verdict should stand.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a minor car accident when the defendant rear-ended her. Evidently, the plaintiff was stopped at a red light when the she heard “something boom.” She looked up, and her car was lurching into the intersection. The plaintiff was wearing a seatbelt, and no part of her body came into contact with the steering wheel or dash board. The plaintiff explained that she did not suffer and bruises, cuts, or swelling, but her body “tensed up” upon impact.

After the accident, the plaintiff requested to be taken to the hospital. She was seen by doctors and soon afterward released. The plaintiff testified that she saw her primary care doctor twice after the accident but provided no evidence of the visits. She did, however, provide evidence that she went to an orthopedic center, complaining of back and shoulder pain, 10 months after the accident. She subsequently had surgery on her shoulder.

At trial, the defendant admitted he was at fault for the accident but claimed that the accident was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. The defendant presented photographs of the plaintiff’s vehicle after the accident. The photos apparently showed no damage to the plaintiff’s vehicle. The defendant also presented a medical expert who testified that the plaintiff’s injuries were unrelated to the car accident.

After hearing the evidence, the jury returned a zero-dollar award. The plaintiff appealed to a higher court. However, the verdict was affirmed on appeal. The plaintiff argued that she had sufficiently proven that her injuries were real and that the jury should be required to award damages. The court disagreed, explaining that the plaintiff’s own evidence showed that the accident was minor, and her lack of medical documentation allowed for the jury to reasonably issue the zero-dollar verdict.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, proving that the other party was at fault for the accident is only half the battle; you must also sufficiently prove that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s negligent conduct. The skilled personal injury attorneys at the Maryland-based law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience representing injured clients in all types of accident cases, and they know what it takes to successfully present their clients’ cases. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.

More Blog Posts:

Court Discusses the Superior/Equal Knowledge Doctrine in Recent Personal Injury Case, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published February 2, 2017.

An Attorney’s Role in Ensuring a Personal Injury Verdict Is Not Unfairly Reduced, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published January 17, 2017.

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