Court Discusses Grounds for Overturning a Massachusetts Jury’s Verdict

Under Massachusetts law, a plaintiff seeking to recover damages from a defendant in a car accident case must not only prove that the defendant caused the accident, but also that the plaintiff suffered actual harm due to the accident. As such, if a plaintiff cannot establish that he or she sustained injuries in a car accident, the jury may find in favor of the defendant, as shown in a recent Massachusetts case in which an appellate court affirmed the jury’s ruling. If you were harmed in a car accident caused by someone else’s reckless driving, it is in your best interest to speak to a capable Massachusetts car accident attorney regarding what evidence you must produce to recover compensation.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant struck the plaintiff’s vehicle as the defendant was turning left out of a gas station. The plaintiff admitted that she was either not moving or moving at a rate of fewer than five miles per hour when the accident occurred, and there was minimal damage to either vehicle. The plaintiff ultimately filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the defendant was negligent and that her negligence caused the plaintiff to suffer a concussion, tinnitus, exacerbation of back and neck pain, and vertigo. Following a trial, the jury found in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or for a new trial, which was denied. The plaintiff then appealed, and on appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Overturning a Jury’s Verdict Under Massachusetts Law

Under Massachusetts law, a plaintiff asking a court to overturn a jury verdict on the grounds that the jury’s ruling constitutes an error as a matter of law faces a high burden. Specifically, if the court finds that any evidence from any source demonstrates circumstances from which an inference could be drawn in favor of the non-moving party, the verdict will not be disturbed. The verdict is especially high when the plaintiff is the party challenging the jury’s verdict, as the plaintiff bears the burden of proof.

In the subject case, the court noted that the jury found that the defendant was negligent in the operation of her motor vehicle, but also that the defendant’s negligence did not substantially contribute to the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. The court stated that although the plaintiff presented evidence in support of her assertion that the accident caused her harm, including testimony from the defendant’s expert that the plaintiff suffered vertigo due to the accident, the jury was free to believe or disregard any testimony presented by the witnesses. As such, the plaintiff could not demonstrate that the jury’s verdict was improper.

Speak to a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney

If you were injured in a car accident caused by negligent driving, you may be owed compensation and should speak to a trusted personal injury attorney regarding your potential claims. The knowledgeable Massachusetts car accident attorneys of the Law Office of James K. Meehan are well-versed in what it takes to set forth a winning case, and we will work tirelessly to provide you with a strong chance of obtaining a favorable result. We can be reached at 508-822-6600 or via our online form to schedule a meeting.