For the most part, Maryland car accident cases present straightforward issues that jurors are capable of understanding and digesting. However, some car accident cases may present more complex issues. In this situation, an expert witness will be necessary to help the jurors understand the negligent acts of the defendant and how they led to the plaintiff’s injuries. Thus, the importance of expert witnesses cannot be overstated.
Recently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing whether the plaintiff’s expert should have been allowed to submit an amended report after reviewing additional information. Ultimately, the court concluded that the expert’s subsequent report was not admissible and precluded its admission.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiffs were the surviving loved ones of a man who was killed in a single-car accident. Evidently, the man’s vehicle inexplicably swerved off the road, crashing into a concrete pillar. Investigators noticed that the grass underneath the man’s vehicle was charred. Days after the accident, the vehicle’s manufacturer issued a recall related to the transmission oil cooler (TOC) based on concerns that a defective TOC may result in an undercarriage fire.
Apparently, the plaintiffs consulted with an expert witness who initially concluded that the cause of the fire could not be determined. After learning of the expert’s conclusion, the plaintiff’s requested additional information from the defendant manufacturer. Specifically, the plaintiffs requested documents relating to other fires that were caused by other defects.
Evidently, after reviewing the newly released materials, the expert composed an amended report in which he concluded that the cause of the fire was related to the TOC. The defendant manufacturer argued that the expert’s report was not admissible because the information relied upon by the expert in the amended report was available to him prior to the request for additional information. Essentially, the manufacturer claimed that the expert’s report was unreliable because he “rehashed” the same analysis as in the first report but came to a different conclusion.
The court ended up agreeing with the defendant manufacturer, finding that the expert’s subsequent report “failed to adequately connect the dots between the newly discovered information and his conclusion.” The court explained that after reviewing historical data regarding other models could only have helped the expert eliminate potential causes of the fire, and did not shed light on whether the vehicle at issue contained a defect and whether any alleged defect was the cause of the accident. Thus, the court struck the expert’s report and granted summary judgment in favor of the defense.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience handling all types claim arising out of Maryland car accidents, including product liability cases. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Concludes Truck Driver Was Independent Contractor of the Defendant Company, Rather Than an Employee, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published November 25, 2018.
The Importance of Error Preservation in Maryland Personal Injury and Car Accident Cases, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published December 11, 2018.