Case Study: Personal Injury

In this personal injury case, the occupant of a car turned off the traveled highway onto the access road to housing for the purposes of visiting relatives.

After approximately 50 yards of traveling, the plaintiff’s vehicle was crushed when a large Canary Island date palm failed in its entirety. There were eyewitnesses to the matter. The vehicle was totaled and the plaintiff was injured.

The facts in this matter were pictures taken in the after situation of the alleged failure of the subject tree along with eyewitness accounts that supported plaintiff’s assertions.

Upon closely studying the pictures entered into discovery, the following facts were presented in defendant’s expert’s deposition:

  1. A palm tree of the size subject to this matter weighs well over one ton.
  2. If a palm tree of this weight and height hits a vehicle, the vehicle is stopped dead in its tracks, perhaps dragging the palm tree a couple of feet.
  3. However, pictures and evidence showed two debris fields, not one, which could only have occurred when a tree of this size hit a slow-moving vehicle. There was testimony that the vehicle was traveling at approximately 10 mph when the alleged incident occurred. One debris field was separated by a length of approximately 100 feet from the next debris field.
  4. Because defendant’s expert is not an accident reconstructionist, this statement was challenged and there was a probability the opinion would not be heard in court.
  5. But there was another anomaly associated with plaintiff’s pictures of the damaged vehicle: The subject tree was a Canary Island date palm; however, the tree debris in the subject vehicle was from another species of palm tree.
  6. Eyewitness testimony was discovered to have been produced by a relative of the plaintiff.

The matter was settled after my deposition.