Western Section Rules that Exacerbation May Not Necessarily Mean Causal Relation of Medical Charges

NORMAN HILL v. DANNY TAPIA, JR., ET AL.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

James B. Johnson and Lauren Paxton Roberts, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Norman Hill.
C. Benton Patton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Danny Tapia, Jr., and Tabet Enterprises.

David S. Zinn and Raney B. Cronin, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, Estate of Norma Aguila.

Judge: STAFFORD

This is a personal injury case resulting from an automobile accident. After the accident, Plaintiff/Appellant learned that he suffered from a degenerative disc disease, which required surgery. Appellant sued the two drivers involved in the accident for damages, which included his medical expenses for the disc surgery . At trial, Appellant’s surgeon’s deposition testimony was read to the jury, in which the surgeon testified that while the accident “aggravated” Appellant’s existing condition, the treatment he received was not “causally related” to the accident. Appellant offered another expert’s testimony, however, that did relate the treatment to the accident. At the close of proof, Appellant moved for a directed verdict on the issue of causation for his medical expenses, arguing that because the surgeon’s testimony was contradictory, it was subject to the cancellation rule. The trial court denied the motion and sent the issue to the jury. The jury returned a verdict for Appellant, but in an amount that did not include the medical expenses he incurred to treat the degenerative disc disease. Appellant was also awarded discretionary costs. After a careful review of the record, we affirm. 

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