Earlier this month, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the Court of Appeals in a simple fender-bender case that spun out of control. The Supreme Court reinstated the decision handed down by the lower trial court in the case.
The case began back in 2002 when Dung Thi Hoang Nguyen stopped at a red light behind Karen Thompson. While at the light, Nguyen went to reach for her purse. When she did, her foot slipped off of the brake and she lightly bumped Thompson’s car. Both women exchanged information, but since there was no damage to the car or to either of them, they did not call the police. Thompson went home and her father advised her to get a police report for her insurance company. She called Nguyen and they both met at the police department to fill out the report.
Several days later, Thompson went to visit her doctor due to some pain in her neck. After doing X-rays, the doctor determined that Thompson had a pre-existing condition with the discs in her spine. Her doctor ordered that she undergo physical therapy. In 2005, after continued complaints about the pain in her neck, Thompson had surgery on her spine to treat her discs. After surgery, she sued Nguyen asking for nearly $240,000 in damages.
Nguyen admitted that she was at fault for the accident, but she challenged the amount of damage claimed by Thompson. At trial, the jury awarded Thompson the cost of her physical therapy bill, which was just over $9,000. Thompson appealed and the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s ruling on damages and remanded the case base to the trial court for a new trial on damages alone. Nguyen then appealed that decision to the Mississippi Supreme Court which eventually agreed with the trial court.
The high court held that Thompson failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Nguyen was the proximate cause of her extraneous injuries. Even though liability was established, causation was not and the jury was free to accept and believe all or part of the plaintiff’s evidence regarding the cause of her injuries.
No one would have thought that a fender-bender car wreck would end with these two women arguing their case before the Mississippi Supreme Court. This is why when you are injured and you believe that some is responsible for your injuries you should contact an experienced Mississippi car accident lawyer. They will give you advice regarding your legal rights and potential liabilities. If you need the services of a Mississippi personal injury lawyer, call Kilpatrick & Philley today for a free consultation at (601) 856-7800.
Source: “Miss. SC: Woman only partially responsible for damages,” by Jessica M. Karmasek, published at LegalNewsline.com.
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