In Maryland personal injury cases, the plaintiff must prove the amount of damages caused by the defendant’s negligence. In a July 6, 2017 case, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland reviewed the jury’s verdict in a negligence claim arising out of a car accident. At the trial, the defendant stipulated that he was responsible for causing the accident by running a red light. The question for the jury was whether, and in what amount, the plaintiff was entitled to damages. When the jury returned a verdict of zero dollars, the plaintiff brought an appeal, arguing that the court should have granted her request for a new trial.
In the case, the plaintiff was driving her car when it was struck by a vehicle operated by the defendant, who drove through a red light. The plaintiff suffered injuries to her neck, which were treated with physical therapy and injections of anti-inflammatory medication in the months following the accident. At trial, the testimony of the plaintiff’s doctors differed on the amount of physical therapy that was necessary after the accident, but they agreed that some treatment was reasonable and causally connected to the accident. There was also testimony that the plaintiff had spinal problems for which she had sought treatment several months before the accident.
On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in refusing to grant a new trial because the verdict for the defendant was not supported by the evidence. The plaintiff pointed to the facts that the defendant admitted responsibility for the accident and that her doctors agreed that medical treatment was necessary and causally connected to the crash.
Addressing the plaintiffs’ arguments, the appeals court explained that jurors are free to evaluate witness testimony and the evidence presented at trial for themselves, including how much weight to give the testimony of expert witnesses. The court noted that although the medical experts agreed that the plaintiff was injured after the car accident, they disagreed on which amount of treatment was reasonable. There was also evidence that the plaintiff’s spinal problems were a recurring, long-term problem she suffered prior to the crash and that she failed to attend many of her physical therapy appointments after the accident.
In light of this evidence, the court held that the jury could reasonably believe that the accident was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries and health expenses. As a result, the court found no abuse by the trial court in failing to grant a new trial based on the claim that the verdict was contrary to the evidence.
The Maryland car accident attorneys at Foran & Foran can provide legal guidance to people who have been injured in automobile collisions as well as other accidents. We handle a variety of negligence claims on behalf of plaintiffs, including medical malpractice and wrongful death actions. To discuss your matter with one of our experienced injury lawyers, call (301) 441-2022 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Maryland Court Orders Insurance Company to Cover Loss for Wrongful Death Claims Arising Out of Car Accident, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published August 17, 2016
Maryland Court Finds Error in Admission of Past Traffic Offenses in Auto Accident Case, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published October 10, 2016