Plaintiff Unsuccessful in Car Accident Case Due to Failure to Establish Causation

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a car accident case that was brought by a woman who claimed that she was injured after the defendant ran her off the road. In the case, Long v. Arnold, the court affirmed the court’s decision below, ultimately upholding the jury’s verdict in favor of the defendant.

The Facts of the Case

Long was driving her car when Arnold turned onto the road, cutting Long off. Long was traveling at approximately 10 miles per hour at the time, and she was forced to steer the car off the road and into a small ditch. Long’s vehicle slowed as it came into contact with some road-side brush and eventually came to a complete stop without ever contacting a solid stationary object.

Initially, Long did not notice any injury. However, two days later, she began to feel sore. She then filed a personal injury lawsuit, seeking compensation for her injury, medical expenses, economic loss, loss of enjoyment of life, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.

Arnold conceded that he was negligent and that his negligence caused the accident. However, Arnold argued that his negligence and the resulting accident were not the cause of Long’s injuries. The jury agreed with Arnold and found in his favor.

Long appealed several issues to the appellate court, but she was unsuccessful in each of her claims of error. One of the claims Long made was that it was an error for the trial court to give the following instruction regarding whether Arnold’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing Long’s injuries:

Negligence is a substantial factor in causing harm if:

1.) The harm would not have occurred without the negligence; and

2.) The negligence was important enough in causing the harm that a reasonable person would hold the negligent person responsible. The negligence cannot be a remote or trivial factor.

Specifically, Long took issue with the final sentence in the jury instruction requiring that Arnold’s negligence be more than a “trivial factor.” However, the court held that this language, while not included in the state’s model jury instructions, was not given in error and summed up the law on the issue adequately. Thus, the appellate court dismissed Long’s appeal, allowing the jury’s verdict to stand.

The Importance of Proving Causation and Damages

While it is true that many personal injury cases focus on the question of whether the defendant’s conduct constituted legal negligence, the issues of causation and damages are also critical to a case’s success. Without proof that a defendant’s negligence was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, a case will fail. Thus, it is very important that all accident victims are prepared with sufficient evidence to support their claim that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of their injuries.

Have You Been Involved in a Maryland Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to help you recoup the costs associated with your accident. The skilled injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience successfully handling hundreds of cases in all areas of personal injury law. With their dedication and experience, you can feel comfortable you and your case are both in good hands. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Plaintiff’s Slip-and-Fall Case against Apartment Complex Not Barred by Immunity Statute, Maryland Accident Law Blog, December 15, 2016.

Court Holds Department of Motor Vehicles Is Not Liable in Car Accident Case, Maryland Accident Law Blog, December 8, 2016.

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