Typically, a plaintiff in a personal injury case will request a jury trial. As such, issues such as liability and damages will be determined by the plaintiff’s purported peers based on the evidence submitted by each party. Jurors do not always appropriately evaluate testimony, however, and can issue a verdict that does not align with a proper reading of the evidence, resulting in an unjust outcome. Fortunately, the law allows parties to seek a reversal of a verdict on the grounds that it is contrary to the weight of the evidence, as discussed in a recent New York opinion arising out of a car accident case. If you were hurt by the careless acts of a person driving a vehicle, it is in your best interest to speak to a knowledgeable Buffalo car accident attorney regarding your rights.
The Facts of the Case
It is reported that the plaintiff was riding as a passenger in a vehicle owned by the first defendant, which was involved in a collision with a car driven by the second defendant. The plaintiff sustained injuries in the crash and filed a lawsuit seeking damages from both defendants under a theory of negligence. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury ultimately found the first defendant completely liable for the accident, assigning none of the liability to the second defendant. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the jury’s verdict was against the weight of the evidence. After reviewing the case, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.
Seeking Reversal of a Verdict
Under New York Law, a court assessing whether a jury’s verdict conflicts with the weight of the evidence presented at trial must evaluate whether the evidence is so heavily in favor of one party that the jury could not have reached its verdict based on any reasonable interpretation of the evidence. The appellate court explained that credibility determinations are the purview of the jury, as they were able to observe the evidence and witnesses. Thus, the jury’s verdict is entitled to deference, and the prevailing party is permitted to presume that the jury’s view of the evidence was fair and reasonable. Continue reading