In order to win a lawsuit against a reckless or negligent driver, one has to prove that not only was the driver negligent, but that her negligence caused the crash, and further that the crash caused the injuries alleged.
Each element has to be met in order for a crash injury victim to receive damages – something our Hollywood car accident attorneys are experienced in securing.
The recent case of Pralle v. Milwicz provides an example of how a case can unfold when this burden is not met.
According to records from the Alaska Supreme Court, the case unfolded in the summer of 2009, when one driver rear-ended another, who was stopped at a red light at an intersection. There was little doubt of who was at-fault.
The primary issue, rather, was whether it was this crash or previous crashes that caused the injuries described by the victim.
One of the biggest problems from the case at the outset was that neither party sought to file a report with police, and worse, the victim did not seek immediate medical attention. Several days after the crash, he did seek treatment for injury to his upper back and neck. However, over the course of the next several months, he began to complain that he suffered injuries to other portions of his back, as well as his groin, hip, elbow, shoulder and thumb, as well as issues with severe headaches and numbness of the face.
It is not uncommon for accident victims to develop additional symptoms in the days and weeks after a crash. However in order to be successful in filing a claim to be compensated for those injuries, he or she needs to make sure everything is well-documented by a doctor.
In this case it would have been especially important because the victim has been in two prior car accidents – one in 2004 and another in 2005 – in which he sustained injuries also. He was still receiving treatment for those as recently as a month prior to the latest crash.
When the victim sued the at-fault driver for compensation, she didn’t deny negligence, but did argue she hadn’t caused his injuries.
In order to support her claim, she offered up the testimony of a physician who had conducted an independent medical exam on the victim. He testified it was his opinion that injuries caused by the most recent accident were minimal, and it was more likely the conditions from which the victim suffered were incurred in one or both of the previous wrecks.
The plaintiff’s doctor testified to the contrary.
However, the jury sided with the defendant, finding that while she was negligent, her negligence wasn’t the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. As the prevailing party, she was even entitled to coverage of attorneys’ fees.
The plaintiff appealed, arguing the weight of the evidence didn’t support the jury’s claim. The high court rejected his theory and affirmed the verdict.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
Pralle v. Milwicz, May 9, 2014, Alaska Supreme Court
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