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Personal Injury-Postaccident Conduct

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 17, 2024//

Personal Injury-Postaccident Conduct

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 17, 2024//

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WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: Evan R. Bakke v. Mt. Morris Mutual Insurance Company

Case No.: 2023AP000340

Officials: Stark, P.J., Hruz and Gill, JJ.

Focus: Personal Injury-Postaccident Conduct

In this case, Northland Builders, Inc., and Auto-Owners Insurance Company (collectively “Northland”) appealed a judgment in favor of Lisa Carol Bakke in a personal injury lawsuit. Bakke was injured after falling through a railing on a cabin’s stairs, which Northland had replaced and upgraded. Northland argued that the jury should have considered Bakke’s postaccident conduct, such as delaying medical treatment, when allocating negligence. Northland also contended that the court erred in refusing the jury’s request to view an expert’s photographs during deliberations.

The court found no error in the jury instructions or the refusal to show the photographs. It ruled that Bakke’s postaccident conduct pertained to damages rather than causation, and her failure to mitigate damages was already considered by the jury in determining the damages awarded. The court maintained that allowing the jury to apportion negligence based on postaccident conduct would lead to double counting. Moreover, the photographs were deemed potentially confusing and cumulative to the physical evidence already presented.

The appeals court confirmed that the special verdict questions and the handling of the photographic evidence were appropriate and did not mislead the jury or unfairly prejudice Northland’s case.

Affirmed.

Decided 06/11/24

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