On March 13, 2023, in a memorandum decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s decision for the plaintiff in a negligence complaint despite the defendant-appellant’s argument that the plaintiff failed to provide sufficient evidence that the car accident at issue was the proximate cause of his injuries.
In this case, Thu v. Willis, Guy Willis Sr. (“Willis”) and his sons were rear ended by Sein Thu and subsequently filed a complaint for negligence against Thu. The jury found in favor of Willis, and Thu appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals, alleging that Willis “failed to present sufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict in his favor.” Particularly, Thu alleged that Willis’s evidence was insufficient because Willis “did not present expert medical testimony to connect the crash to his injuries.”
The court referred to Martin v. Ramos to clarify that expert medical testimony is not necessarily required if a layperson could “readily understand the causation.” In Martin, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided that “when an injury is objective in nature,” the plaintiff may testify to his injury and that testimony may be sufficient for a jury verdict even without expert medical testimony. In his appeal, Thu argued that Willis’s injuries were not objective, but rather too complicated for a lay person to understand. One of Thu’s major points of argument involved the fact that Willis testified to having pain from the accident on his left in addition to a history of sciatica. Thu argued that Willis was not qualified to testify whether his diagnoses were caused by his injuries from the accident or by the prior back pain he already had experienced before the accident.