Earlier this month, an appellate court in Montana issued a written opinion in a personal injury case dealing with a plaintiff’s pre-trial motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether her future medical care was causally related to the car accident. The case is instructive to Maryland car accident victims because it shows the type of analysis courts will conduct when reviewing claims for future medical expenses. Ultimately in this case, the court concluded that there was conflicting evidence regarding the cause of the plaintiff’s ongoing medical needs, and thus summary judgment in the plaintiff’s favor was not appropriate.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was involved in a car accident with a driver who was insured by the defendant insurance company. On the day of the accident, the plaintiff went to the doctor and was diagnosed with whiplash and related injuries.
The plaintiff’s attorney requested that the insurance company make advance payment of medical expenses, which totaled approximately $53,000 over the course of the next six months. At that time, the insurance company requested the plaintiff to undergo a medical evaluation to determine if the continued medical care she was requesting was a result of the accident. The plaintiff refused the evaluation, and the insurance company denied all future payment for medical expenses.
The plaintiff then filed this action, seeking a declaratory judgment that the insurance company was responsible for her future medical expenses. The plaintiff submitted a sworn affidavit of her own, as well as affidavits of her physicians. In response, the insurance company had its own doctors review the plaintiff’s post-accident medical records, which contained a summary of the plaintiff’s prior medical history.
After reviewing the evidence, the trial court concluded that the insurance company’s doctors did not have an adequate foundation to form an opinion and disregarded their testimony. Then, the court granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. The insurance company appealed.
On appeal, the case was reversed in favor of the insurance company. The court explained that when there is conflicting evidence on a material issue, summary judgment is not appropriate. Here, there was no question the evidence was conflicting regarding the cause of the plaintiff’s ongoing medical issues. The question was whether the lower court properly disregarded the insurance company’s doctors’ testimony.
The court concluded that the doctors’ testimony should have been considered because the testimony was based on personal knowledge after a review of the plaintiff’s medical history. The court also noted that the doctors’ affidavits met the requirements of the court rules. Thus, the court held that the trial court improperly disregarded the insurance company’s doctors’ testimony and that, had the testimony been admitted and considered, a disputed material issue was present, and summary judgment was not appropriate. As a result, the plaintiff will need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for her future medical expenses.
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. The skilled Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of Maryland car accident claims, including cases dealing with difficult insurance companies. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule your free consultation and to discuss your case with a dedicated personal injury attorney.
More Blog Posts:
Maryland Car Accidents Involving Out-of-State Drivers, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published December 4, 2017.
Court Determines Photographs of Defect in Road Did Not Show Government’s Knowledge of the Hazard, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published November 23, 2017.