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State Supreme Court Overturns Circuit Court’s Ruling Granting Accident Plaintiff a New Trial

The Supreme Court of West Virginia recently released an opinion that overturned a circuit court’s decision granting an plaintiff a new trial on the issue of knee injuries he was alleged to have received in an accident with the defendant. The plaintiff will still be entitled to the verdict he received to compensate him for other injuries incurred in the accident, although his claim to compensation for his knee injuries was found by the state high court to be unsupported by the evidence at trial, causing the appellate court to reverse the circuit court’s decision to grant a new trial.

The Plaintiff Is Injured in a Rear-End Crash But May Have Had a Pre-Existing Knee Condition

The plaintiff in the case of Harnish v. Corra was a man who was injured after the defendant rear-ended his vehicle while he was waiting to make a left turn into a parking lot. The defendant admitted that he was at fault for the accident. After the crash, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, requesting over $25,000 in damages for medical expenses related to the accident. Over $15,000 of the plaintiff’s requested damages were attributed to a knee injury he had allegedly suffered in the accident.

At a jury trial, the defendant admitted that the accident was the cause of the plaintiff’s back and neck injuries, although he presented testimony that the knee injury was the result of a pre-existing condition and that the medical expenses related to the injury should not be awarded to the plaintiff. After the parties had presented their cases, the jury awarded the plaintiff damages for his neck and back injuries, but they declined to award any damages related to the alleged knee injury.

Plaintiff Is Granted a New Trial, and the Defendant Appeals to the State Supreme Court

After the jury declined to award the plaintiff damages related to his knee injury, the plaintiff requested a new trial, which was granted by the circuit court upon a finding that the verdict was against the clear weight of the evidence presented at trial. According to the West Virginia Supreme Court’s opinion, the circuit court’s order granting a new trial was based on an inaccurate depiction of the case. The defendant appealed the circuit court’s ruling and argued that the jury was properly instructed to consider whether the knee injury was caused by the accident, and they reached the conclusion that it was not. On appeal, the state high court agreed with the defendant and found that the evidence that was presented at trial could have supported either party’s arguments, and the jury’s decision not to award damages related to the knee injury was appropriate.

Damages May Be Awarded for Aggravation of a Pre-Existing Injury in Florida Accident Lawsuits

With regard to a Florida accident lawsuit, a judge or jury is permitted to award damages to a plaintiff if the defendant’s negligence is found to have aggravated a pre-existing medical condition suffered by the plaintiff. A valid Florida negligence claim must prove it is more likely than not that the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition to worsen. If a defendant presents evidence that the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition was unaffected by the alleged negligent act, a judge or jury may also decline to award the plaintiff damages related to the pre-existing condition. If a jury reaches a conclusion that is supported by the evidence presented by either party, their judgment will generally not be questioned by the trial court or a higher court on appeal.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Auto Accident?

If you or a family member has been injured or killed in a Florida car accident, the aggressive personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Cecere Santana can represent you and make a strong case to seek the compensation that you deserve. Whether an accident caused new injuries or aggravated a pre-existing condition, our Florida accident attorneys can make arguments for an award to compensate you for all of the expenses and losses that were caused by the negligent act of another party. At Cecere Santana, we represent clients in all types of Florida injury and wrongful death cases, including car accidents. Contact us through our online form or call 800-753-5529 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Unexplained South Florida Accidents May Be the Result of Distracted Driving, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 3, 2016.

Topamax Birth Injury Case Results in $3 Million Verdict, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 9, 2016.

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