Arkansas Court of Appeals Upholds Defense Jury Verdict Despite Defendant’s Admission

Earlier this month, the Arkansas Court of Appeals issued a written opinion affirming a trial court’s decision to deny all post-trial motions in a car accident case in which the jury found in favor of the defendant, despite the fact that the defendant admitted that he caused the accident. Ultimately, the court held that due to the conflicting evidence presented, the jury was free to find that any injuries the plaintiff sustained were not caused by the defendant’s negligence.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a rear-end accident in July 2009. The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the defendant, who was the motorist who rear-ended the plaintiff. The defendant admitted that he was at fault for causing the accident but claimed that he was not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

Both the plaintiff and the defendant testified. The plaintiff explained that he was on his way to the gym when he was rear-ended by the plaintiff. He explained that after the collision, he had to “brace” himself to keep his head from hitting the steering wheel. He also reported that his vehicle sustained minor damage in the collision. On the day following the accident, the plaintiff went to the hospital, and a doctor ordered an x-ray. The plaintiff was prescribed painkillers and engaged in a three-month course of physical therapy. The plaintiff was seeking $10,000 in lost wages as well as compensation for his medical expenses.

The defendant testified that he was driving behind the plaintiff when the plaintiff suddenly stopped. The defendant estimated he was traveling less than 15 miles per hour and was able to nearly avoid the collision. However, the defendant acknowledged that he “nicked” the corner of the plaintiff’s vehicle. The defendant explained that the plaintiff did not complain of any injury after the accident and that there was hardly any noticeable damage to the plaintiff’s vehicle.

After the trial concluded, the jury found in the defendant’s favor. The plaintiff filed post-trial motions asking the judge to override the jury’s decision not to award the plaintiff anything for his medical expenses. The plaintiff argued that it was uncontested that he incurred the costs, and the jury should have at least awarded him the medical expenses.

The Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of the plaintiff’s post-trial motions, explaining that the plaintiff and the defendant offered differing accounts of the seriousness of the accident, and the jury was free to believe that the plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the defendant’s actions. As a result, the plaintiff will not be compensated for his injuries.

Have You Been Injured in an Arkansas Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an Arkansas car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. In many personal injury cases, the difference between success and failure can come down to preparation and effective advocacy. The injury attorneys at the Pfeifer Law Firm have extensive experience handling all types of personal injury cases, and we know what it takes to recover for our clients. Call 501-374-4440 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a dedicated injury attorney today.

See More Posts:

Accident Victims in Arkansas May Be Prevented from Naming Government Defendants in Personal Injury Lawsuits, Arkansas Injury Lawyer Blog, March 4, 2017.

Arkansas Supreme Court Discusses Sole-Remedy Provision of Workers’ Compensation Law, Dismissing Plaintiff’s Appeal, Arkansas Injury Lawyer Blog, January 5, 2017.

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