The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position post-verdict. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this car accident/bus accident case and its proceedings.)
Plaintiff still claims, in current moving papers, that her bus was “rammed” by defendant’s vehicle. In sharp contrast, the jury was shown photographs, copies of which are attached, which clearly reflect that defendant’s vehicle merely scraped along the left front cover of the bus. Further evidence established that no hidden or structural damage occurred to the bus. Damage to defendant’s van was minor, estimated at approximately $100. Common sense and inferences drawn from such evidence allowed the jury to conclude that no injury would result from the impact.
Defendant called Dr. Edward Stein, a physicist, to reinforce the unlikelihood of injury. Dr. Stein convincingly and completely refuted plaintiff’s claim of injury. He testified as to the force of the collision, and explained to the jury that plaintiff would have experienced a vibration in her seat inside the 40-foot bus due to contact from defendant’s vehicle. Similarly, Officer Brown testified that plaintiff may have been jostled by the contact between vehicles, but that he did not believe that plaintiff could have been injured.
Medical evidence established that plaintiff originally complained of minor contusion type injuries immediately following the accident. By the time of trial, plaintiff’s claims had expanded to include significant problems in her neck, low back, left hip, left buttocks, left thigh, left shin, left foot, left shoulder, headaches, and post traumatic stress disorder. Medical records prepared by plaintiff’s own providers note that plaintiff was an unreliable reporter, and prone to misrepresentation, exaggeration, and inconsistent reporting of symptoms. Plaintiff’s gross overreaching was made clear in evidence to the jury and undoubtedly contributed to erosion of plaintiff’s credibility.
Plaintiff was seen by orthopedist Dr. Jones who could find no objective symptoms to support any of plaintiff’s complaints. Following his review of medical records, he noted plaintiff’s frequent exaggeration of symptoms and inconsistent symptom patterns. On examination, he reported plaintiff’s bizarre overacting and overly dramatic response to testing in support of his conclusion that plaintiff is essentially manufacturing her claims for financial gain. These opinions are included in Dr. Jones’s reports, entered into evidence at trial and attached hereto, and were repeated by Dr. Jones when called to testify at trial. Although plaintiff claims that Dr. Jones found conclusively that she suffered injury, Dr. Jones clearly explained at trial that he believes, at most, plaintiff may have sustained minor contusions and/or sprains and strains as a result of the subject accident, and that such opinion is based solely on plaintiff’s unreliable reporting, with no supporting objective findings. (See Part 9 of 9.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.