I am going on the assumption that the only two things to consider are (1)
who was at fault in the accident and (2) what should damages be.
(1) It is obvious that the deceased was seriously injured as a result of
the car crash.
> [Her interninst] saw her immediately before the accident and her neck
> problems. She was hit on the way home from his office. He also saw her
> ER and saw her neck was badly injured.
The scenario says:
> gets hit in the rear
in which case almost 100% of the time fault is assessed to the driver of
the car in the rear. This is not always the case, but I have a feeling
that the daughter-in-law who was driving the vehicle that struck the car
the deceased was riding in was following them home from the trip to the
internist. If so, the daughter-in-law should have been driving far
enough back to avoid hitting the first car, even if it made an emergency
So, we come to the conclusion that the daughter-in-law was at fault in
the accident that injured the deceased. However, we should not that
damage to the car appears slight, so that the injury caused to the
deceased was due more to pre-existing medical conditions than to the
force of the accident.
(2) As to assessment of damages we are told:
a. The accident leaves her in a soft collar with pain and numbness, but
that is because doctors cannot perform surgery because of a condition
caused by her smoking,
b. Medical records do not reflect the pain and suffering,
c. Emphysema and osteoporosis were so far advanced as to be considered
terminal, although no one would hazard a guess as to how much longer she
had to live,
d. She became depressed when she became ill and, true to form, she quit
taking nourishment when she arrived at the nursing home, thereby
debilitating herself terribly while already in the end stages of
emphysema and, last but not least,
e. There is no medical evidence that the accident was the cause of her
If I were a juror, then, I would have a very hard time awarding the
deceased's family (I'm assuming they are the ones that are suing) much of
anything by way of damages. It would have to be proven to me that the
accident actually produced damages to the deceased and her family AND
that those damages were significantly greater than the medical costs
that they may have had to pay out anyway as the deceased's health kept
deteriorating. (Note, there is already some outside home medical
assistance being paid for.)
The functionality of the family and the personality of the deceased are
irrelevant in my opinion as to who was at fault in the accident and how
much damage was caused, except, perhaps to suggest that the pain
complained of by the deceased might have been exaggerated in order to put
a "guilt trip" on the daughter-in-law.
time is up or too little too late?
The car accident might have contributed to shorten her life by a few months,
but her condition pre-accident was problematic. Her respiratory disease,
caused by constant smoking, prevented complete recovery from the accident
anyway. Plus, she seems a manipulative individual towards her daughter-in-law. I'm
for the defense 100%.
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