from the Allen Superior Court The Honorable Craig J. Bobay,
Judge The Honorable Thomas P. Boyer, Magistrate Trial Court
Cause No. 02D01-1801-SC-1548
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT David A. Singleton Chad E. Romey
BLACKBURN & GREEN Fort Wayne, Indiana
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE Kelly A. Roth AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE
LEGAL DEPARTMENT Indianapolis, Indiana
David Martin ("Martin") filed a Notice of Claim in
the Allen Superior Court Small Claims Division, alleging that
he had sustained physical injuries in a vehicular collision
with Jose Ramos ("Ramos"). The trial court found
Ramos to be 100% at fault for the collision but denied Martin
damages, concluding that Martin had not established
causation. Martin filed a motion to correct error, which was
denied, and he now appeals. We reverse and remand.
Martin presents two restated issues for review:
I. Whether expert medical testimony is unnecessary in small
claims proceedings designed to administer justice
II. Whether the trial court misapplied the law in determining
that Martin had not established causation.
and Procedural History
Martin filed a Notice of Claim on January 30, 2018. A bench
trial was conducted on April 30, 2018 but it was not
recorded. Pursuant to Indiana Appellate Rule 31, the trial
court certified a Statement of Evidence. We derive our
recitation of facts from that Statement of Evidence, which
provides in relevant part:
The Plaintiff testified that he was stopped while traveling
on West Creighton Avenue in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when his
vehicle was struck from the rear by a vehicle being driven by
the Defendant, Jose Ramos.
Plaintiff further testified that he received treatment as a
result of the collision at Lutheran Hospital, where he
complained of pain in the following areas:
a. at the base of the left side of the skull;
b. along the left side of his neck;
c. in the center of his neck;
d. in the mid axillary region under his left arm; and
e. in his left shoulder.
He rated his pain as a seven (7) out of ten (10), with ten
being the greatest amount of pain.
Plaintiff further testified that a CT scan of his cervical
spine showed some preexisting conditions. He testified that
he had experienced pain in his neck prior to the wreck, but
the wreck caused increased pain for a period of time.
Prior to discharge from Lutheran Hospital, the Plaintiff had
to be cleared by a neurosurgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Kachmann,
because the CT scan of his head showed "left front post
traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage."
Plaintiff was released from the hospital after agreeing that
he was required to have someone with him at all times. Dr.
Kachmann told the Plaintiff to be on guard for any possible
neurological changes, including seizures, weakness, numbness,
or tingling in the legs. Plaintiff ...