Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a car accident case that illustrates an important point for Indiana car accident victims. The case involved the plaintiff’s appeal after a jury found that the defendant was liable for the car accident but did not award the plaintiff any compensation for future medical expenses. Ultimately, the court concluded that the testimony of the expert witness presented by the plaintiff was equivocal in stating that the plaintiff’s need for future medical treatment was due to the car accident.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was injured in a car accident that was undisputedly caused by another driver. The at-fault driver did not possess sufficient insurance to cover the plaintiff’s injuries, so the plaintiff filed an underinsured motorist claim under her own insurance policy.
The plaintiff’s insurance company denied the claim, taking the position that the injuries the plaintiff claimed she sustained in the accident were actually pre-existing at the time of the accident and thus were not covered under her policy. In support of her claim, the plaintiff had the orthopedic surgeon who treated and operated on her testify to the care he provided as well as his estimation of what the plaintiff’s future medical needs would be.
The surgeon testified that it was “possible” that the plaintiff would need future surgeries to correct the damage in the accident. However, the surgeon acknowledged that the plaintiff also suffered from degenerative disc disease for an unknown amount of time prior to the accident. The surgeon explained that, in his estimation, the chance of needing a future corrective surgery increased by 15-20%.
The defendant attempted to present conflicting expert testimony, but for reasons unimportant to this appeal, the court precluded the experts from testifying. The jury found that the accident was caused by the other driver and that the defendant insurance company should compensate the plaintiff for the injuries she sustained, but it only awarded the plaintiff compensation for her past medical expenses.
The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the jury was not presented with conflicting evidence by the defense, and thus it was bound to accept the plaintiff’s expert testimony and award her compensation for future medical expenses. The insurance company argued that the jury was within its right to reject the uncertain testimony of the plaintiff’s witness.
The court agreed with the insurance company, finding that the expert’s testimony was “far from conclusive” and that the jury was left with the option of either accepting or rejecting the plaintiff’s claim.
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 extensive experience representing Indiana accident victims in a wide range of cases, including underinsured and uninsured motorist claims. To learn more, and to speak with an attorney about your case, call 888-532-7766 to schedule your free consultation.
Plaintiff’s Case Dismissed Based on Her Untrue Sworn Statements, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, January 3, 2018
Court Finds Slip-and-Fall Plaintiff Presented Sufficient Evidence of Negligence Based on Expert Witness Testimony, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, December 28, 2017