In any personal injury lawsuit, understanding which evidence you and the other party can submit is a critical aspect of protecting your right to recovery. Some cases are complex and involve challenging evidentiary issues that could make or break your ability to recover damages. As seasoned Chicago personal injury lawyers, we are well versed in the rules of evidence and can use our knowledge to help you ensure that you are treated fairly. A recent appellate case demonstrates how difficult these evidentiary issues can become.
In 2012, the defendant doctor performed a procedure on the plaintiff consisting of a celiac plexus block. Following surgery, the plaintiff reported numbness in her legs. She was taken to the hospital, where it was concluded that she suffered a vasospasm and related paraplegia. The plaintiff and her husband filed a lawsuit against the doctor, asserting claims for medical negligence and loss of consortium. A few years after the claim was filed, the plaintiff died as a result of a stroke. The surviving husband amended the complaint to include a claim for the wrongful death of his wife, based on the alleged negligence of the defendant doctor. The plaintiff included many different counts of negligence regarding the celiac plexus procedure, including a failure to treat his wife’s condition with less aggressive and intensive methods. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant lacked privileges to perform the procedure at the hospital.
Before trial, the parties filed a number of motions in limine. These are motions that seek to resolve certain evidentiary issues before trial, such as which type of evidence can be admitted or whether there are any issues that the parties wish to exclude from the trial before the proceedings. One of the motions in limine that the defendant filed sought to exclude evidence regarding the issue of whether the defendant had privileges to perform the procedure at the hospital. The plaintiff also filed a motion in limine wanting to bar any evidence regarding the decedent’s history as a smoker. The trial court granted the plaintiff’s motion barring evidence about the decedent’s smoking history while reserving a ruling on the defendant’s motion regarding the defendant’s privileges at the hospital.