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(Serious) Injury is in the Eye of the Beholder

May 18, 2016

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“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is an ancient and resonant proverb. We know intuitively that beauty is not judged objectively but according to the beholder’s estimation. But what does the eye of the beholder have to do with torts? Everything it seems.
<em><a href="http://blog.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Paulema-v.-Alam.pdf">Paulema v. Alam</a> </em>(Index# 157041/2014), involved a garden variety auto accident in which defendant sought dismissal of the complaint because plaintiff did not sustain a “serious injury” as required by Insurance Law §5102(d).
The contest before Judge Ramirez involved two sets of eyes. The plaintiffs’ doctors saw permanent injury resulting from the crash. The defendant’s doctors saw degeneration resulting from age and no causative nexus between the crash and the complaints.
What to do? Motion for summary judgment denied because the differing views of the medical beholders raised a question of fact.
This decision, though important to the litigants, is of no great significance. But it is a useful reminder that expert evidence, like judgments on beauty, are often wholly subjective. And the frustration is that opposing experts looking at the same diagnostic films or the same data, can “behold” completely different views on severity and causation.
This post reveals nothing new to our readers, save for the author’s frequent musings about the judgments of highly paid expert beholders.
Thanks to Dana Purcaro for her contribution to this post.  For more information, please email Dennis M. Wade at <a href="mailto:dwade@wcmlaw.com">dwade@wcmlaw.com</a>.
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