Gracia v. Davis, 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 1718 (Tex. App.-Dallas Feb. 13, 2014, pet. denied)
In May of 2008 Jesus Gracia rear-ended Curtis Davis. Prior to trial, Mr. Davis submitted 18.001 affidavits stating that he incurred $17,400.00 in past medical expenses that were reasonable and necessary. Mr. Gracia did not controvert these affidavits.
After the presentation of all of the evidence, Mr. Davis's counsel moved for a directed verdict on past medical expenses. He argued the expenses were proven to be proximately caused by the collision (by the testimony of an expert) and there was no controverting evidence.
The trial court instructed the verdict in favor of Mr. Davis on past medical expenses. The trial court also filled in the line on the jury charge for past medical expenses in the amount of $17,400.00.
The jury later returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Davis on additional damages, such as pain, mental anguish, and physical impairment. Mr. Gracia appealed the directed verdict on past medical expenses.
The Decision by the Dallas Court of Appeals:
The Dallas Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's directed verdict. The court stated that there was other evidence of causation of the past medical expenses outside of the car accident. That evidence included Mr. Davis's failure to receive treatment for his alleged injuries for over a year and his taking on of a physically demanding job during that same time period. The court also stated that the testimony of an expert as to causation of past medical expenses is not conclusive on a jury.
What to Take Away:
The submission of an uncontroverted 18.001 affidavit for past medical expenses followed by the testimony of an expert that the past medical expenses were caused by an accident may not, in certain circumstances, entitle a party to a directed verdict on past medical expenses.