Auto Insurance Claims – Medical Proof is Important

Medical proof. The doctor on whom you rely for medical proof is a key man. It will be up to your doctor to pass on the seriousness of your injuries. He will say whether or not they are permanent and also whether they are the direct result of the accident.

The importance of medical reports and testimony appear in the following. Court case:

Mrs. X contended she sustained a fracture of the left clavicle and contusion of the left shoulder and upper chest—and that a cancer developed, requiring the removal of her breast.

The testimony of the doctor who attended her for four weeks following the accident indicated that there was no breast injury. He did not remember examining her breasts and made no note of doing so.

She alleged that within two months a little pimple became evident on the left breast in the armpit. It did not bother her much for about three and a half years when it became as hard and as big as a nut. Only one expert medical witness appeared in her behalf—he was neither a breast nor a cancer specialist and was first consulted the night before he testified. To challenge his testimony a specialist was called by the other side (defendant).

The jury brought in a verdict in favor of Mrs. X for $45,000. Her husband was awarded $1,000 for her medical expenses and $5,000 for loss of her services.

The decision of the Court was:

“We are satisfied that the breast cancer from which the plaintiff unfortunately suffered was not caused by the accident. Ruling the cancer out of consideration, a generous allowable recovery would be $10,000 to the plaintiff and $1,000 to the husband for loss of services, in addition to the $1,000 awarded him for his own injury.

“A word should be said about any new trial, in the event that the plaintiffs should elect not to stipulate to a reduction of the judgment and decide to press their claim that the cancer was caused by the accident.

“Plaintiffs should be expected in that event to have the doctors who observed and treated plaintiff’s wife after her accident give such testimony as they might be able and qualified to give as to whether the injuries they observed could have caused the cancer in the location in which it developed. The surgeon who performed the breast operation should be called for such relevant testimony as he might give and one or more recognized authorities on breast cancer should be called.” Direct insurance.

On appeal the Court held the medical evidence did not justify the verdicts.

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