Doctor’s Opinion At Issue In Sacramento Car Accident Case, Part 5 of 7

The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this car accident lawsuit and its proceedings.)

DR. LEE SHOULD BE PRECLUDED FROM EXPRESSING OPINIONS ABOUT THE REASONABLENESS OF PLAINTIFF’S MEDICAL BILLS, BECAUSE THOSE OPINIONS ARE SUBSTANTIALLY MORE PREJUDICIAL THAN PROBATIVE.

The court in its discretion may exclude evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the probability that its admission will:

(a) necessitate undue consumption of time, or

(b) create substantial danger of undue prejudice, of confusing the issues, or of misleading the jury, California Evidence Code ยง 352.

A trial judge must balance the probative value of the proffered evidence against its prejudicial effect in the context of the case before the court, considering materiality, the strength of the relationship to the issue on which it is offered, and whether it is necessary to prove the proponent’s case or merely cumulative to other available and sufficient proof, Burke v. Almaden Vineyards, Inc. (1978) 86 Cal App 3d 768, 150 Cal Rptr 419. Evidence should be excluded as unduly prejudicial, when it is of such nature as to inflame the emotions of the jury, and motivate them to use the information to reward or punish one side, rather than logically evaluate the point upon which it is relevant, Vorse v. Sarasy (1997) 53 Cal App 4th 998, 62 Cal Rptr 2d 164.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

For example, a trial court properly limited the testimony of an accident reconstruction expert, in a personal injury case, seeking damages for injuries sustained in an automobile accident, because the expert proposed to base his opinion that the accident did not cause the plaintiff serious injury, on case studies involving unspecified low speed, rear-end collisions that did not use vehicles of the type driven in the accident, and involved a range of persons of vastly different ages, sizes and physical backgrounds than that of plaintiff, Greer v. Buzgheia (2006) 141 Cal App 4th 1150, 46 Cal Rptr 3d 780.

Similarly, in an action against a county and individual sheriff deputies after the plaintiff was bitten by a police dog, the trial court properly excluded a report that contained summaries outlining medical treatment provided to persons bitten a different dog, because any relevance the summaries may have had was outweighed by the probability that the jury would be confused and misled by this information. Thompson v. County of Los Angeles (2006) 142 Cal App 4th 154, 47 Cal Rptr 3d 702.

Moreover, evidence that personal injury plaintiffs obtained insurance coverage or received collateral source payments should not be admitted, absent a persuasive showing it is of substantial probative value, and or bears a proper relationship to the issues in the case, Hrnjak v. Graymar, Inc. (1971) 4 Cal 3d 725, 94 Cal Rptr 623, 484 P2d 599; Helfend v. Southern California Rapid Transit Dist. (1970) 2 Cal 3d 1,84 Cal Rptr 173, 465 P2d 61; Acosta v. Southern California Rapid Transit Dist. (1970) 2 Cal 3d 19, 84 Cal Rptr 184, 465 P2d 72. (See Part 6 of 7.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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