Most personal injury lawsuits settle out of court, but some do proceed to trial. Most often, this happens because the parties disagree as to who was at fault, the amount of damages to which the plaintiff is entitled, or both.
When one party is displeased with the jury’s decision, he or she has the right to appeal the trial court’s entry of judgment on the verdict to a higher court. However, much deference is afforded to the jury’s verdict, and the burden is on the appealing party to convince the appellate court that a legally reversible error was made in the lower court.
Facts of the Case
In a recently decided (not-to-be-published) case, the plaintiff was a man who appealed an order of the Kenton Circuit Court that favored the defendant driver. The plaintiff’s lawsuit had sought compensatory damages for physical harm suffered by the plaintiff when the defendant had made a left turn into a parking lot as the plaintiff attempted to pass her on his motorized scooter, causing the plaintiff to lose control, fall to the ground, and sustain significant injuries.
As grounds for reversal, the plaintiff alleged that both the defendant’s attorney and the jury had engaged in misconduct and that certain hearsay and other evidence should not have been admitted during the trial.
The Appellate Court’s Decision
The Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed the Kenton Circuit Court’s ruling, first noting that the jury had determined that the defendant’s actions were “not a substantial factor” in causing the accident in which the plaintiff was hurt. As to the plaintiff’s argument about misconduct during the trial, the court found that the matters about which the plaintiff complained were either not prejudicial to the plaintiff or were not properly preserved for appeal.
For example, the court found that defense counsel’s remark that the defendant was a “struggling college student” was an explanation as to why she was trying to find a free parking place at the time of the accident, rather than an improper reference to her inability to pay a verdict (which would, in reality, have been paid by her insurance company).
The court also rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the appellate court should allow the parties to introduce evidence of liability insurance coverage. The court ruling said that the issue was not preserved for review and pointing to the “well-settled” rule that a defendant’s insurance coverage is not inadmissible in Kentucky.
Need to Talk to a Kentucky Car Accident Lawyer?
Most motor vehicle accidents happen because a motorist is negligent, perhaps texting, speeding, or just not paying attention to the road. If you or a loved one is hurting because of someone else’s carelessness, the experienced Kentucky car accident lawyers at English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley can review your case and help you decide whether you have a claim against a person whom you believe to have been at fault in the crash. Call us at (270) 781-6500 to schedule an appointment concerning your Kentucky or Tennessee accident case.
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