Making Sure that Your Medical Expert is Allowed to Testify in Your Pennsylvania Injury Case

Witness standIn any personal injury action, there are certain elements of the case that can have a major impact on the outcome. One of these is providing the court with authoritative and persuasive expert witness testimony that supports the arguments you’ve made. One of the keys to doing this is making sure that the defense does not throw up roadblocks to getting your expert’s testimony into the record. This, among a wide variety of other things, is an example of the many litigation issues and strategies in which it pays to have experienced Pennsylvania injury counsel on your side.

A recent case from the Pittsburgh area serves an example of an injured person’s successful introduction of expert evidence into his case. The injured man, Matthew, was one of a large group of partiers celebrating one woman’s birthday when he was injured. He and 18 other partiers squeezed into a limousine meant for only 10 passengers. During the ride, Matthew felt an intense pain and, after exiting, discovered that he had a large burn on his leg. The injury later required skin grafts and still left a permanent scar.

Matthew sued the limousine provider. In his trial, the injured passenger had a doctor who testified as an expert witness. The defense tried to keep out the expert’s testimony, but the judge allowed it. In the end, the jury ruled for Matthew and awarded him a half-million dollars.

The limo company appealed. The main argument for the defense was one of the same ones made in the trial:  that Matthew’s expert witness shouldn’t be allowed to testify. Again, the courts ruled for the injured passenger. The way in which the doctor went about developing his expert opinions was entirely permissible within the rules. The core of the defense’s argument was founded on an incorrect interpretation of the standard for which type of expert testimony is admissible and which isn’t. The rule says that an expert witness’ methodology must be something that is generally accepted by the relevant scientific community. The limo company’s argument, according to the court, essentially argued that the doctor’s conclusions were novel, when the defense needed to prove that the doctor’s methodology was novel. Matthew’s expert’s methodology was something that was not abnormal but was the methodology “almost universally employed by medical experts in personal injury cases,” according to the trial court.

In other words, Matthew’s counsel convinced the trial judge that the doctor’s testimony was clearly admissible, and the Superior Court later affirmed that position. That meant that there was no error in the trial, and Matthew was entitled to collect his $500,000 judgment.

There are many areas in which knowing exactly how to go about approaching an aspect of an injury action can make the difference between success and an unfavorable outcome. Whether it is discovery, expert evidence, trial strategy, or something else, there are many places in which having the skill of an experienced attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. The Pennsylvania injury attorneys at Needle Law Firm have been offering our clients effective advocacy and personalized attention to meet their legal needs for many years.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling 855.687.4357.

More blog posts:

How an Injured Construction Worker’s Persuasive Expert Helped Give the Worker a Successful Outcome in His Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Case, Pennsylvania Accident Lawyer Blog, Dec. 10, 2017

Qualifications for Expert Witnesses in Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawsuits, Pennsylvania Accident Lawyer Blog, Feb. 9, 2017

Photo Credit: Brad Shorr, [CC0 License], via Wikimedia Commons