Mason v. Robinson
As a result of a plaintiff's report to healthcare providers that she experienced significant improvement within two months of a motor-vehicle accident, a jury reasonably can find that much of the plaintiff's medical treatment was unnecessary or not related to the motor-vehicle accident. On June 20, 2010, the defendant's motor vehicle allegedly rear-ended the plaintiff's motor vehicle. The plaintiff sued the defendant and claimed economic damages in the amount of $29,103. The defendant claimed that the plaintiff's primary medical injury was headaches from post-concussion syndrome. On Aug. 24, 2010, the plaintiff allegedly indicated to healthcare providers that her headaches had decreased significantly. The defendant produced evidence that, prior to the June 2010, motor-vehicle accident, the plaintiff suffered from migraine headaches and that, after the motor-vehicle accident, the plaintiff went skiing, hiking and biking and engaged in aerobics and lifted weights, without missing a day of work. In March 2013, a jury awarded the plaintiff $12,143 in economic damages and $10,000 in non-economic damages, for pain and suffering. The plaintiff requested an additur and argued that medical evidence related the plaintiff's physical therapy to the 2010 motor-vehicle collision. The plaintiff also claimed that there was no evidence that magnetic resonance imaging in 2011 was unnecessary. "The verdict should be disturbed only by considerations of the most persuasive character, as where the verdict shocks the sense of justice or the mind is convicted that it is in fact entirely disproportionate to the injury," pursuant to Hunte v. Amica Mutual Ins. Co., a 2002 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. It is the province of the jury, as the finder of fact, to decide whether expert witnesses are credible. The jury could have found that gaps in medical treatment were significant, that the plaintiff reported that she improved in August 2010 and that medical treatment after Oct. 26, 2010 was unnecessary or was not related to the June 2010, motor-vehicle accident. "The jury reasonably could have found," wrote the court, "that the plaintiff's expenses in 2010 were related to the accident, and all other expenses thereafter were attributable to her persistent migraine condition."