Frisch v. James River Ins. Co.

After being involved in a car crash, the plaintiff sued his insurer and sought compensation under his policy’s underinsured motorist coverage. The primary trial issue was the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition — a low back injury from a prior fall. A jury returned a plaintiff’s verdict. But the lower court granted a new trial because it re-read the jury instruction relating to pre-existing conditions without also re-reading the charge for the definition of factual cause. The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed and held that the defendant waived its claim. Though the defendant objected when the instruction was re-read, the objection was to the court’s decision to send a copy of the instruction to the jury room. And that objection was sustained, resulting in the lower court re-reading the instruction to the jury in the box. The defendant never objected to the jury charge’s substance.

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