Earlier this month, an appellate court in Connecticut issued a written opinion in a car accident case requiring the court to discuss and analyze the difference between the question of whether evidence is admissible at trial and how much weight that evidence should be assigned. The case is important for Washington, D.C. personal injury plaintiffs because it illustrates the principle that a judge or jury must determine how much weight to assign the evidence presented by both sides.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was driving on the highway when she passed a Department of Transportation vehicle on the side of the road. As she passed the vehicle, she heard a loud noise, and her car flipped over, sliding on the roof for some distance before coming to a stop.
In her complaint naming the Department of Transportation as a defendant, she claimed that the driver pulled out into the road as she was passing and struck her vehicle. The trial took place in front of a judge, rather than in front of a jury. When the plaintiff testified, she explained that she was not looking at the Department of Transportation car and did not notice it until it struck her.
To help prove her claim, the plaintiff called an accident reconstructionist as an expert witness. The Department of Transportation repeatedly objected to the expert witness’ testimony as speculative, but the trial court allowed the testimony. After the trial, the judge determined that the plaintiff was the at-fault party and found in favor of the Department of Transportation. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial judge improperly excluded the testimony of her expert witness.
On appeal, the court affirmed the lower court’s verdict in favor of the Department. The court explained that the court clearly allowed the testimony by overruling the several defense objections. However, the court continued that merely because evidence is admissible does not mean that the court must consider it as true. Here, the lower court made a factual determination that the plaintiff was at fault for the accident, notwithstanding the testimony of her expert witness. This, the court determined, was proper under the circumstances and did not show that the court precluded the witness’ testimony, only that it did not assign it very much weight.
Have You Been Injured in a Washington, D.C. Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Washington, D.C. car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. In many car accident cases, an expert witness will be necessary to explain certain concepts to the judge or jury. The determination of which expert to call can be crucial to a case’s success. The dedicated Washington, D.C. personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience assisting victims with seeking the compensation they need and deserve from the parties responsible for their injuries. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
The Importance of a Thorough Investigation in Washington, D.C. Car Accident Cases, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, July 11, 2017
Court Rejects Slip-and-Fall Plaintiff’s Case for Lack of Evidence, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, June 30, 2017