Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Defense Verdict in Multi-Car Accident Case

In a recent case, a plaintiff filed a negligence action against a defendant, alleging that he sustained injuries during a multi-car accident in which the defendant was involved. In response to the complaint, the defendant admitted that he was driving negligently at the time of the crash. He challenged, however, the nature and extent of the injuries that the plaintiff reportedly suffered in the accident, as well as whether or not those injuries were the direct result of the defendant’s negligent driving.

After a trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in the defendant’s favor. The plaintiff promptly filed an appeal. In the appeal, the plaintiff asserted three main arguments. First, the plaintiff alleged that the trial court committed a reversible error when it concluded that the defendant did not violate a motion in limine. Motions in limine are motions filed before a trial that seek to define the scope of the matters that can be discussed in front of the jury or the type of evidence that the jury may be allowed to consider. Second, the plaintiff alleged that the jury’s unanimous verdict contradicted the manifest weight of the evidence offered at trial. Finally, the plaintiff argued that the trial court failed to provide the jury with sufficient instructions prohibiting them from engaging in their own independent investigations of the matter.

Turning to the first contention, the motion in limine in question asked the court to prevent the defendant from offering testimony and photographs that showed the damage that the vehicles sustained in the multi-car accident. The court granted the motion in part, allowing photos that showed the point of impact but not the extent of the damage. The court rejected the plaintiff’s argument, finding that the defendant did not offer any evidence that exceeded the scope of the trial court’s order. The court also disagreed with the plaintiff’s contention that he was prejudiced by the defendant’s mention of the photographs in front of the jury during the plaintiff’s testimony.

Turning to the plaintiff’s second basis for appeal, the appellate court concluded that there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the jury’s verdict. Although the plaintiff alleged on appeal that he had offered testimony from his treating physicians that proved his injuries were directly caused by the defendant’s negligent driving, the plaintiff failed to include the evidentiary testimony from his treating physicians on appeal. Therefore, the appellate court could not review it as part of the appeal decision.

Finally, the appellate court concluded that the plaintiff’s argument suggesting that the trial court failed to appropriately instruct the jury to abstain from conducting their own investigations was based on mere speculation. Reviewing the trial court transcript, the appellate court concluded that the trial court provided an appropriate instruction about this issue and that the jury selection process included a sufficient examination into each juror’s fitness.

If you have suffered injuries in a car accident or truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. At Therman Law Offices, we have provided compassionate and personalized legal counsel to victims throughout Illinois. As a result, we understand how stressful and confusing bringing a legal action can be for you and your family. We offer a free consultation to help you learn more about the legal process and will stand by you at each step of the way if legal action results. Call us now at 312-588-1900 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.

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