North Carolina Appellate Court Reverses Summary Judgment for Defendant Based on Lack of Proper Notice to the Plaintiff

When you file a complaint seeking damages after a car accident, there are certain rules you have to follow and things you need to prove before you will be awarded compensation. This means that evidence will play a critical role in your case. The more evidence you can put forth to prove that the other driver caused the accident and owes you damages, the stronger your case will be. The Raleigh car accident lawyers at Maurer Law may be able to help you secure the financial recovery that you deserve. Contact us now for a free consultation to discuss your case.

In a recent case, the North Carolina Court of Appeals considered whether a plaintiff could testify about her injuries and medical bills in a lawsuit alleging that the defendant drove negligently and caused an accident. The defendant objected to the case proceeding on the grounds that the plaintiff did not specify any expert witnesses to testify on her behalf. The defendant argued that the plaintiff should be excluded from testifying about these subjects.

In response, the plaintiff argued that she should be allowed to testify based on her layperson experience regarding the accident, the medical treatment she received, and her expenses. She also stated that she was able to offer evidence to support her testimony, like medical bills detailing her costs.

During a hearing to determine whether the plaintiff should be permitted to testify, the defendant moved for summary judgment verbally. The defendant argued that without expert testimony, the plaintiff could not prove that the defendant’s alleged negligence was the direct and foreseeable cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff objected on the basis that she was not afforded sufficient notice of the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The trial court overlooked this and granted the defendant’s motion during the hearing.

The plaintiff appealed. On review, the appellate court referred to the rule for summary judgment and the importance of ensuring that a party has adequate notice of the motion and time to prepare a response. The rule specifically states that the party who is not moving for summary judgment should be given 10-days’ notice of the hearing to determine whether the moving party is entitled to summary judgment. There was no evidence to suggest that the plaintiff waived the 10-day notice requirement, which would absolve the other party of needing to comply with the rule. Because that 10-day notice requirement was not followed, the appellate court reversed the lower court’s entry of summary judgment.

If you were hurt in a car crash, the Raleigh car accident lawyers at Maurer Law could assist you with pursuing financial compensation. There are countless procedural rules that you must follow if you file a lawsuit seeking compensation. Having an experienced trial lawyer on your side can help you ensure that you follow each of these rules and that the other party is also playing fairly. Maurer Law offers a free consultation to discuss your situation and whether we are able to assist you. Call now at 1-888-258-1087 or contact us online to begin.

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