Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, March T., 1966, No. 4395, in case of Marguerite Walsh v. Gerson Brody, and Helen Conroy.
Howard E. Davidson, with him Astor & Weiss, for appellant.
Howard M. Girsh, with him Steinberg and Girsh, for appellee.
Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Cercone, J.
[ 220 Pa. Super. Page 294]
Plaintiff appeals from the lower court's refusal to grant her a new trial after a verdict in her favor in the amount of $1,250.00 in a trespass action instituted by her to recover for personal injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
It is the plaintiff's contention that the trial court improperly limited the testimony of plaintiff's physician with regard to the effect of plaintiff's left eye injury on her (1) pre-existing cataract; (2) mental suffering; and (3) chances of future total blindness since plaintiff had lost the sight in her right eye in childhood.
Plaintiff's evidence proved that on May 13, 1965 she was a passenger in the rear seat of an automobile owned and operated by her sister, Mrs. Helen Conroy. While the automobile was stopped in a line of traffic, it was struck in the rear by an automobile owned and operated by the defendant Gerson Brody, the impact throwing the plaintiff into the front seat, injuring her neck and breaking her glasses.
Plaintiff's physician, Dr. Martin Garfinkle, testified that she sustained an acute traumatic cervical strain, nervous anxiety and a post-concussion syndrome, which conditions cleared up within a month. Dr. Garfinkle's bill was $55.00 and the hospital bill for emergency service was $25.25.
To sustain her claim of the eye injury and the future effect thereof, plaintiff at trial called her ophthalmologist, Dr. Howard Clough, who testified that the plaintiff had sustained, either directly or by aggravation to the existing condition of her left eye, a schisis (or splitting) of the retina. This doctor testified that
[ 220 Pa. Super. Page 295]
plaintiff had a cataract in the same left eye. He testified that the "injury to the retina does not have an effect on the cataract," but that the plaintiff "at some time in the future will need a cataract operation". In attempting to secure the doctor's opinion as to the effect of the injury to the retina on the future surgery relative to the cataract, plaintiff propounded the following question to Dr. Clough: "Q. Doctor, because of your treatment and history of Mrs. Huntly do you have an opinion with reasonable degree of medical certainty as to whether the schisis of the retina will play a role either -- of any type -- in regard to any other abnormality that you might have noted in her eye?"
Plaintiff's counsel also asked Dr. Clough whether he had arrived at a prognosis "in regard to any complications which will probably arise as a result of that injury with reference to that eye". Both of these questions were objected to by the defendant and the objections were sustained. Plaintiff was thus prevented from securing the doctor's opinion as to the effect of the injury to the retina of the left eye on the cataract surgery to be performed on that eye. This was clear error as the plaintiff should have been ...