Question about court proceedings

OK, this is lame, but I have this burning question about something I saw on TV a while back. It’s the neck injury from central casting, where a guy is in court suing someone for a trumped up neck injury which is probably BS, wearing a neckbrace. During the middle of the proceedings, some clever guy drops a briefcase, making a loud noise, causing the supposed broke-neck to swivel his head around at the source of the noise.

So, presumably, everyone sees this person exercise his neck in a range of motion presumably made impossible by his injury. But neither the judge nor any of the attorneys are medical experts, so can they really say he has somehow invalidated his testimony? In real life, what would happen in this situation?

In real life, there would be testimony from doctors who have examined the plaintiff as medical experts. These doctors would have commented upon the extent of the injury, both objectively measured by them and subjectively reported by the plaintiff. The plaintiff would have testified as to the extent of his injury, including, among other things, range of painless motion.

So, having introduced evidence that his neck is broken and that he is incapable of moving it, or incapable of moving it without significant pain, then demonstrating otherwise, the evidence he had introduced would lose a significant amount of probative value. :smiley:

My question is, procedurally, how does that work? Does the judge point his finger and say “I call bullshit” or is there some fancy Latin term for that?

I think the judge probably can use his own observations in addition to the medical testimony. Also, more and more insurance companies are using video evidence to dispute medical testimony. I saw a show on insurance fraud, and the guy with the messed up neck was nailing up siding and hauling sod and such, repeatedly proving that he wasn’t incapacitated.

It seems to me that unless it where physically impossible for the person to turn his neck, most anyone is going to look over at a loud noise. It doesn’t seem like it would prove anything. It might hurt like hell to turn and look, espcially if where just a quick reaction to a startaling noise, but that doesn’t mean he can’t do it.

It would, like all things legal, depend on the jurisdiction, the venue, and the attorney’s strategy. In some cases, the opposing attorney would bring this up during their case and/or closing arguments – making a favorable jury verdict much more likely. The attorney can approach the plaintiff’s attorney with the reality of the situation and propel settlement talks further. Don’t forget that the plaintiff’s attorney is working to minimize the damage, so it is not necessarily a slam dunk. In addition, our good friend Sua Sponte gets some work in the court system. S/he prompts judges who are overwhelmed by the escapade to dismiss a case on their own.

Of course that’s just a very brief overview…

And just because the guy can turn his neck now doesn’t mean he wasn’t incapacitated at some earlier date.

For the record, I believe the OP is referring to a 1972 episode of the Brady Bunch called “The Fender Benders.” The man faking the neck injury is played by the great Jackie Coogan.

It’s a much earlier story, often attributed to F.E. Smith. Probably apocryphal.

Smith: Since the accident, how high are you able to raise your arm?

** Plaintiff: ** (raises arm to shoulder height with expression of great agony)

**Smith: ** And how high could you raise it before the accident?

**Plaintiff: ** (raises hand far above head)