Terrell v. Joshua

Supreme Court of Alabama

Jefferson County | No. SC-2022-0937 | Aug. 1, 2023

Appeals Court Reviews Exclusion of Past Accident Evidence in Recent Injury Lawsuit

Joshua filed a lawsuit against Terrell and his insurance provider, State Farm, following a truck accident in November 2015. Joshua sought damages, attributing his neck and back injuries to this accident. However, Terrell's counsel highlighted Joshua's history of similar injuries from past accidents. The core of the dispute was whether evidence from Joshua's previous accidents and treatments should be admitted. Joshua's counsel argued that he had fully recovered from past injuries by 2015, making them irrelevant to the current case.

Terrell's defense, on the other hand, underscored the similarity between MRI scans from 2014 and 2016, suggesting the recent injuries weren't entirely new. The Trial Court ruled in favor of excluding most evidence related to Joshua's past accidents. Post-trial, the jury awarded Joshua $675,000. Dissatisfied with the exclusion of past evidence, Terrell appealed the verdict. The appeals court found that excluding the past accident evidence was an error, as it was crucial for assessing Joshua's injuries' cause and credibility, thus deciding to reverse and remand the case for a new trial.

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