There are various factors which can affect the compensation you receive after an injury. Here we take a look at the case of Gyorffy v. Drury, where a trial Judge’s ruling and interpretation of the law was revised and reversed.
In November of 2003, B. Gyorffy was seriously hurt in a car accident. He suffered whiplash which allegedly manifested itself into various other permanent and continuous injuries including back and shoulder pain, headaches and minimized movement in the spine.
Gyorffy successfully sued the other driver who was responsible for the car accident. In the settlement, he was awarded non-pecuniary damages but while the settlement was still being mauled over by the jury, the defence brought a motion to challenge the threshold amount of these damages. They felt that the expert witnesses called forth by the plaintiff only stated the plaintiff’s current injuries and could not corroborate his “change in function” (his state prior to the accident).
After examining the evidence and the law pertaining to issue, the trial judge decided that the plaintiff did not meet the necessary requirements pertaining to the mandated evidentiary regulations. While he had provided evidence of his current state (post-accident), he had not entered any other evidence, aside from his assertions to state his condition pre-accident. Having another source of testimony aside from his own recount of his pre-existing physical nature would either validate or refute his claims, which would then directly impact the monetary compensation that would be awarded.
The initial trial judge felt that although the plaintiff was credible and had provided expert witnesses to validate his current physical state, he failed to offer any witnesses (like the members of his family) that could testify on his behalf and attest to the change of his physicality (as they would have been the ones to note the difference).
The judge also accepted that the affected family members all had valid reasons why they could not attend court to provide testimony and their inability to do so would not be inferred as a contradictory factor to Gyorffy’s claim. Having examined all this, he awarded the defence their “threshold motion”.
Upon appeal, the members of the divisional court felt differently.
When Gyorffy appealed this decision in divisional court, it was seen that the specified regulations required corroboration from the physician, not the plaintiff. In any case, a licensed physician has pre-existing knowledge of the patient’s condition before an accident (family doctor) and in cases where they don’t, can infer from the injuries whether or not the symptoms are plausible or pre-existing (with medical tests and examinations). In most cases, a physician has to rely on information from the patient concerning the diagnosing and treatment of the injury and would not require corroboration or input from any other source.
In the Appeals Court, the corroboration factor (deciding who and what needs to be corroborated) and the legal regulations that govern the issue were revisited and it was ruled that the plaintiff was allowed to provide corroborative testimony to the evidence presented by his physician.
As we can see from this case, an initial ruling may not always go unchallenged in court. It is your right to hire a professional and experienced personal injury lawyer who will represent you in a manner that will help get you your rightful compensation.
Leave the legal wrangling to us. Call us today, at Rastin & Associates to take advantage of a free initial consultation.