Court erred in ruling against rear-ended motorist

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A motorist who claimed he suffered injuries after his vehicle was rear-ended on a Fort Wayne street was denied relief in a small claims court, but his fortunes took a U-turn Thursday when the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s rulings.

David Martin sued Jose Ramos in Allen Superior Small Claims Court after Ramos struck the back of Martin’s vehicle, which was stopped on West Creighton Avenue in December 2016. Martin was treated for neck, back and shoulder pain.

But the trial court concluded after a bench trial that Martin’s medical records did not establish with reasonable medical probability that his injuries were caused by the collision, and that such causation could not be established without an expert medical opinion.

After the court denied a motion to correct error, Martin filed the instant appeal, David Martin v. Jose Ramos, 18A-SC-1648. 

“Martin did not fail to meet his burden of proof on causation,” Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote for the panel. “Martin testified and presented documentation regarding injury contemporaneous with the collision for which Ramos was at fault. The lack of complexity is such that a factfinder can determine issues of causation and damages without expert testimony. We remand for such determinations by the fact-finder.”

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