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Fritts v. McKinne

Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma
934 P.2d 371 (1996)


Facts

Fritts was seriously injured when a truck either he or a friend was driving struck a tree. Fritts and his friend had been drinking prior to the accident. Five days later Dr. McKinne (defendant) performed a tracheostomy during a surgery to repair Fritts’s extensive facial fractures. Fritts began bleeding and died three days later. Fritts’s estate (plaintiff) sued McKinne, claiming that he negligently failed to isolate the proper artery during surgery. McKinne argued comparative negligence, because Fritts’s initial injuries were caused by either driving drunk or riding while drunk with a drunk driver. McKinne argued that evidence of Fritts’s drug and alcohol use was also relevant to the issue of damages, because it diminished his life expectancy. The trial court denied the estate’s motion to exclude evidence of alcohol and drug use. The trial court instructed the jury on comparative negligence, including an instruction regarding a driver’s duty to use ordinary care to prevent injury to himself or others. The jury found for McKinne. Fritt’s estate appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stubblefield, J.)

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