Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case affirming the denial of the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial based on the alleged failure of the jury to consider what the plaintiff claimed to be uncontroverted evidence. The court, however, interpreted the evidence differently, finding that the evidence presented at trial was in conflict. That being the case, the court held that the jury was free to come to the conclusion that it did. Therefore, the trial court was proper in denying the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial.
The case is relevant to Indiana car accident plaintiffs because it illustrates the analysis courts apply when determining whether a new trial is necessary. Additionally, a similar standard is applied by courts when determining whether a plaintiff’s case is sufficient to be submitted to a jury for trial in the first place.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff and the defendant were involved in a car accident. Both parties believed that the accident was caused by the other’s negligence. However, only the plaintiff filed a lawsuit. The plaintiff testified at trial, claiming that the defendant changed lanes without signaling, resulting in the collision.
The defendant responded to the plaintiff’s allegations by offering her own version of the story. According to the defendant, she was traveling 30 miles per hour, going straight through a green light, when the plaintiff pulled out in front of her, leaving her no time to avoid the collision. The defendant acknowledged that the speed limit in that area was 25 miles per hour.
The jury heard the evidence and then entered a verdict in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial with the court, claiming that the jury failed to apply the law to the facts. Specifically, the plaintiff’s argument was that the defendant admitted to speeding through the intersection, which the plaintiff equated to negligence. Thus, by failing to take into account the defendant’s admitted negligence, the plaintiff argued, the jury acted beyond its discretion.
The court, however, disagreed. The court explained that the plaintiff and the defendant each offered different versions of the same accident, and neither appeared to be an untrustworthy witness. Thus, the jury – having heard two equally persuasive versions of the same story – was free to adopt either party’s version. That being the case, the court held that the trial court was proper to deny the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an Indiana car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse have decades of experience handling a wide range of personal injury cases, and they work diligently on behalf of their clients to secure full and fair awards for the injuries they’ve sustained. To learn more, and to speak with an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney about your case, call 888-532-7766 to schedule a free consultation today.
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