Compensatory Damages Awarded to Plaintiff for Car Accident Upheld on Appeal in Maryland Auto Accident Case

The legal knowledge of a skilled Maryland personal injury attorney is often crucial to present the case persuasively to a jury and object to inadmissible evidence.  In a recent Maryland car accident case, the plaintiff obtained a favorable jury verdict on the issues of her damages.  On appeal, the defendant argued that the plaintiff should not have been permitted to introduce evidence of bias regarding the relationship between the defendant’s expert witness and the defendant’s auto insurance company.  The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland considered the issue in an opinion released on October 9, 2018.

The plaintiff in the case was a passenger in the backseat of a vehicle driven by the defendant, which rear-ended another vehicle on the highway.  The plaintiff received medical treatment the day after the accident for injuries to her knee, neck, and back.  The plaintiff filed a personal injury suit against the defendant, alleging that he negligently struck the vehicle in front of him, thereby causing her injuries.

The defendant conceded that he was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, and the case proceeded to trial on the issue of the plaintiff’s damages.  The parties both produced expert witnesses who testified as to the plaintiff’s injuries.  During cross-examination, the plaintiff questioned the defendant’s expert witness about an investment of over one million dollars that he received for his corporation from the defendant’s insurance company.  The defendant’s objection to the line of questioning was overruled by the trial court.  Ultimately, the jury awarded the plaintiff compensatory damages in the amount of $353,000.   The defendant brought the subsequent appeal.

On appeal, one of the defendant’s arguments was that the trial court erred when it allowed the plaintiff to introduce evidence of bias on the part of the defendant’s expert witness.  Under Maryland procedural rules, evidence that a person was or was not insured is not admissible to show that the person acted negligently or otherwise wrongfully.  However, such evidence may be offered for another purpose, such as bias or prejudice of a witness.

The plaintiff contended that evidence of the expert witness’s financial involvement with the defendant’s insurance company was not introduced for the purpose of proving negligence, but rather to show bias.  The appeals court agreed, explaining that evidence that the witness had received a substantial amount of money from the entity that would be paying the damages in the case was highly relevant as to his arguably biased opinion regarding the nature and severity of the plaintiff’s injuries.  The appeals court thus found no error, and ultimately affirmed the jury award for the plaintiff.

The Maryland auto accident attorneys at Foran & Foran, P.A. have the trial experience and legal knowledge needed to litigate personal injury claims.  We represent injured plaintiffs in cases arising out of truck or motorcycle accidents, trip and fall injuries, medical malpractice, and other types of negligence.  Request your free consultation today by completing the website form or calling our office at (301) 441-2022.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Court Reviews Plaintiff’s Proof of Damages in Car Accident Case, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published July 28, 2017

Plaintiff Awarded Past Medical Expenses from Car Accident in Maryland Negligence Case, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published April 13, 2018