Gwyneth Paltrow and her children expected to testify Friday in ski-collision trial

Side angle of woman, Gwyneth Paltrow with long blonde hair and a white top, sitting in courtroom looking right
Gwyneth Paltrow sits Wednesday in the Park City, Utah, courtroom where she's facing a civil trial. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)
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Gwyneth Paltrow is expected to testify Friday in a civil trial where she's accused of negligently crashing into a retired doctor while skiing at Deer Valley Resort in 2016.

Paltrow's husband, TV writer-producer Brad Falchuk, and her two teenage children with ex-husband Chris Martin, Apple and Moses, are also expected to testify during the trial, which will stretch into next week. Paltrow's family had been skiing together while on vacation at Deer Valley Resort when the crash took place.

So far, the jury has heard only from witnesses who support Paltrow's accuser, retired optometrist Terry Sanderson, 76.

Medical experts, a ski buddy, a former romantic partner and Sanderson's daughter have taken the stand during the first three days of trial.

The goals were to paint a picture of a once physically active and outgoing man whose health and quality of life began to deteriorate after the accident, and convince the jury that Paltrow's allegedly out-of-control skiing was to blame.

"When we're conversing, I don't feel he hears me — when he has a conversation with my kids, I don't think he hears them," his daughter, Polly Sanderson Grasham, 49, testified on Thursday, recalling her father's struggles to engage socially at major events or during day-to-day conversations. "I just feel like, 'Where are you? Where is your head space right now, 'cause you're not here with me,'" she said.

Attorneys for the Goop founder have countered, arguing for the jury that Sanderson's health issues have little to do with the crash, but are results of normal aging and preexisting health conditions that are progressing.

Though both Paltrow and Sanderson agreed that they collided on the slopes in 2016, the central question of the trial remains: Who was downhill and who was uphill during the crash?

The jury will have to weigh the question, which revolves around ski etiquette that gives the right of way to the downhill skier. They must decide whether Paltrow acted negligently during the encounter.

Paltrow's version of events almost entirely contradicts Sanderson's. She has long maintained that she was the downhill skier and that Sanderson bumped into her.

On the day of the incident, Paltrow was on a family vacation, skiing alongside a ski instructor with her two children, her then-boyfriend Falchuk and his children. Her family is expected to support Paltrow's version of events.

Although Paltrow's family did not witness the accident, her attorneys have said that her son, Moses, was nearby for the immediate aftermath.

On Wednesday, testimony focused on medical evidence that witnesses said proved that Paltrow was the uphill skier, as well as on Sanderson's degrading health.

Dr. Wendell Gibby, a radiologist, said brain imaging suggested Sanderson’s head trauma was likely caused by a skier crashing into him, supporting Sanderson’s claims that he was hit by Paltrow. He said lasting effects on Sanderson’s overall health were consistent with the severity of the collision. “The rib fractures certainly corroborate that there was enough force to cause a head injury,” Gibby added.

Dr. Samuel Goldstein, a neuropsychologist, called Sanderson’s post-crash trajectory an “acute rapid downturn."

“Were it not for that particular accident, the life he was living in the six months to a year before that, he would continue to be living," Goldstein said.

Sanderson originally sought $3.1 million in damages, but his attorneys said in court Tuesday that they are seeking only around $300,000 in the amended claim that is being tried.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.