In personal injury cases, the focus is typically on the accident itself and its effects on the injured person. The actions of the person at fault, or defendant, are discussed, beginning with the question of whether he or she owed a duty to the injured party. The next question is whether the at-fault party’s actions led to the accident that caused the injuries sustained. The injured person investigates the at-fault party’s behavior, looking at his or her actions immediately preceding the accident. This investigation could extend to prior behavior like DUIs or negligent care of property to reveal a pattern of negligence. Sometimes, though, the at-fault party and his or her counsel will look at the medical history of the injured person to argue that the injuries alleged were not ones that stemmed from the accident.
In a recent unpublished Massachusetts appeals court case, Hannon vs. Calleva (14-P-1061), the at-fault party argued that the injuries claimed in that case were the result of the injured person’s decades of work as a telephone installation repair man. During the accident, the injured man was driving a large commercial van and was stopped at a red light. The at-fault driver pulled up behind him and and heard a beeping sound. When she turned around to look for the source of the sound, her car came into contact with the rear bumper of the van in front of her. The injured driver sought medical attention a few days after the accident, complaining of neck pain. Eventually, the neck pain became chronic for the injured driver. At trial, the driver discussed prior medical conditions that could have contributed to the pain, including treatment for a shoulder injury incurred at work. He also discussed his struggle to return to work and the inability to perform his duties when he was there, despite the physical therapy and trigger point injections.
During a personal injury trial, when complex medical issues like this come up, physicians are often relied upon to help members of the jury or fact-finder understand the conditions of the injured person. She or he will use her or his medical knowledge and experience to relay the severity of the condition, what could possibly have caused it, and whether or not the condition will heal or remain a permanent part of the injured person’s life. Both the injured person and the at-fault party will likely have their own experts to make these points during trial. It is crucial as an injured party to have a qualified person who can illustrate how the injury-causing accident led to the physical difficulties borne by the injured person. A jury can find the at-fault party negligent, but it can also find, as they do in Hannon, that the negligence of the at-fault party did not cause the injury complained of by the plaintiff.
The Massachusetts personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of James K. Meehan have the experience you need to fully litigate your case. We understand how a thoroughly prepared case and the use of qualified experts can influence the amount you and your family recover for your injury. For a free, confidential consultation today, call our office at 508.822.6600.
More Blog Posts:
Massachusetts Supreme Court Keeps Premises Liability Case Law Favorable for Injured Individuals, Massachusetts Injury Lawyers Blog, May 26, 2015
The Path to Damages after a Massachusetts Car Accident Can be a Complex, Winding One, Massachusetts Injury Lawyers Blog, May 22, 2015