New York car accidents are very common. When you are involved in a car accident case in New York it is critical to know what you are required to prove. Our experienced New York injury attorneys understand what it takes to get you the award you deserve.
In a recent Mississippi decision, the court discusses the proof required in car accident cases. Thompson v. Nguyen, No. 2009-CT-01147-SCT (Miss. S.Ct. Apr. 19, 2012). This case arose in 2002 when Thompson (plaintiff) was rear-ended by Nguyen (defendant). Plaintiff was stopped at a red light when Nguyen stopped behind her. Upon reaching for her purse, defendant’s foot slipped off of the brake pedal and her car slightly banged into the plaintiff’s.
There was no damage to either party’s car causing the parties not to call the police and just exchange contact information. After leaving the site of the accident, the plaintiff called the defendant to meet her at the police department so they could file a police report. Defendant agreed and the police report was prepared to be sent to both parties’ insurance companies.
Plaintiff had previously suffered from severe migraines which caused her to seek treatment from Dr. Martin (Martin). After the accident, the plaintiff began to have severe neck pain. Plaintiff told Martin about her neck pain and the recent accident, causing Martin to order a series of tests. The MRI that was conducted on the plaintiff showed that the plaintiff had a preexisting degenerative-disc disease as shown by the disc bulges in her neck. Martin gave the plaintiff pain medication and referred plaintiff to a physical therapist.
After two years of physical therapy the plaintiff continued to complain about neck pain. The physical therapist referred plaintiff to a neurosurgeon named Dr. Kesterson (Kesterson). Kesterson evaluated the plaintiff and determined that the plaintiff needed surgery on her neck to correct the abnormal discs. Two years after the car accident with the defendant, plaintiff underwent neck surgery.
Plaintiff then sued the defendant for negligence. Plaintiff argued that the defendants’ negligence caused her neck injury, and plaintiff sought compensation for the cost of medical treatment associated with her accident related injuries.
Defendant acknowledged that she was liable for the accident however; she argued that the plaintiff’s injuries could not have been the result of such a minor accident.
The plaintiff had the burden of proof in this case. She was required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant’s negligence was the direct and proximate cause of her neck injuries. Plaintiff offered the testimony of her doctors and a medical expert on her condition. The three doctors testifying on behalf of the plaintiff acknowledged that they were not aware of the circumstances surrounding the car accident between the parties. They were only testifying as to plaintiff’s medical condition and treatment.
After being provided with hypotheticals, the three experts indicated that they could not testify with reasonable medical certainty that the plaintiff’s severe neck injuries were caused by the accident. Additionally, the plaintiff acknowledged that she had been in a prior accident with a drunk driver.
The plaintiff’s evidence was presented in front of a jury and the judge gave the jury instructions of the burden of proof the plaintiff had and the elements of negligence. After analyzing the facts of the case, the jury found that the plaintiff failed to prove that her neck surgery was a result of the plaintiff hitting her vehicle. Therefore, the jury only awarded the plaintiff with the costs associated with the physical therapy.
If you have been injured contact New York injury attorneys at Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC to schedule a free appointment. Call 718-261-0546.