Sunday, May 22, 2016

Are Photographs of Property Damage Admissible Evidence in a Car Accident Trial?

The Nevada Supreme Court delivers new case law every month. Some of that new case law may affect your personal injury case. Today’s blog covers a recent Nevada Supreme Court case discussing whether photos documenting the damage to cars after an accident are admissible evidence in a personal injury trial.

In Rish v. Simao, the Nevada high court determined that if a defendant fails to hire a biomechanical expert to talk about the severity of the accident, evidence of whether the accident was “low-impact” can still come into evidence. See 132 Nev.Ad.Op. 17 (2016), clarifying  Hallmark v. Eldridge, 124 Nev. 492, 500-502 (2008). The Nevada Supreme Court held that whether a car accident actually caused an injured parties’ injuries, are factual issues that are for a jury to decide.  

Notably, the high court did NOT decide whether the trial court is required to include photographs and car repair invoices in trial. But, the Nevada Supreme Court stated that other jurisdictions generally admit such evidence because, even in the absence of supporting expert testimony, there is a common-sense correlation between the nature of the impact and the severity of someone’s injuries. The court went on to say that an injured person may overcome the effect of the photos, by offering contradicting testimony, cross-examining the witnesses, and utilizing other evidence to prove their case. 

Next time, we will talk about a recent Nevada Supreme Court case discussing how a worker’s compensation component of your accident, may affect your personal injury case.