Car Accident Victim Waived his Right to Appeal during Sidebar at Trial
As Edward Cook was driving in the early morning hours for work, he approached an intersection that driver Mark Beeman was sitting at while he waited for the stop light to turn green. Beeman then entered the intersection when the traffic signal gave him a green light, and Cook’s car hit the side of Beeman’s vehicle. The men gave conflicting testimony during a jury trial, with Cook alleging that he had the green light. Beeman testified he waited for the traffic light to turn green before entering the intersection.
Beeman was asked why he didn’t sue Cook and he replied that he had been compensated for his vehicle and wasn’t injured. Cook asked Beeman who compensated him for the vehicle. Ultimately, the jury rendered a verdict assigning Cook 51% at fault and Beeman 49% at fault. Cook appealed and argued the trial court erred in admitting Beeman’s testimony that he did not sue Cook because he was compensated for the damage done to his vehicle. The Indiana Court of Appeals found that Cook waived any challenge to Beeman’s testimony because Cook didn’t object when asked why Beeman did not sue Cook. Cook also did not move to strike Beeman’s answer to the question.
“Cook’s failure to supplement the record in a timely manner is particularly consequential in this case because we are unable to determine whether Cook moved for a mistrial or what his basis was for such a motion,” the appellate court continued. “Further, we do not know the substance of Beeman’s objection or what the trial court said in issuing its ruling. Therefore, Cook has waived any issues on appeal based on the arguments he made during the inaudible sidebar conference.”