Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a Maryland car accident case requiring the court to discuss and interpret Maryland Rule of Evidence 5-703, dealing with the admissibility of expert witness testimony. Specifically, the court had to determine whether the plaintiff’s medical records that were relied upon by a defense expert witness could be provided to the jury during deliberations. Ultimately, the court concluded that under the language of Rule 5-703, admissibility was permitted.
The plaintiff was involved in a car accident while on the way to a wedding. After the accident, the plaintiff attended the wedding, and she went to the hospital the following morning. The plaintiff saw a number of doctors and eventually was diagnosed with several serious medical conditions. However, in the plaintiff’s discussion with the doctors, the plaintiff was not consistent in reporting where she was experiencing pain.
The plaintiff later filed a personal injury case against the driver who caused the accident. At trial, both the plaintiff and the defendant presented expert witnesses on the issue of whether the collision was what caused the plaintiff’s injuries. After the defense expert witness testified that the accident was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, the defendant moved to introduce four of the plaintiff’s medical records to the jury. These medical records, the defendant believed, contradicted some of the plaintiff’s claims.
The court admitted the records, and the jury later found in favor of the plaintiff, although for less compensation than she had hoped. The plaintiff appealed the court’s decision to admit her medical records, claiming that the records were inadmissible hearsay.
The Court’s Decision
In resolving the issue, the court looked at Maryland Rule of Evidence 5-703, which governs expert witness testimony. Specifically, the rule provides that “data reasonably relied upon by an expert . . . may be disclosed to the jury even if those facts and data are not admissible in evidence” if certain criteria are met.
The court then went on to explain that in order to be admitted, such evidence must be:
- Reasonably relied upon by the expert in making an opinion; and
- Necessary to illuminate the expert’s opinion.
After discussing all of the factors, the court determined each counseled in favor of disclosure to the jury. Thus, the court held that the trial judge was proper to provide the plaintiff’s medical records to the jury for review. As a result, the judgment in favor of the plaintiff will be upheld.
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. However, as the case discussed above illustrates, the other drivers involved may attempt to evade liability by any number of creative means. That being the case, it is very important that you discuss your case with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney who can advise you on how to proceed. The dedicated Maryland injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of Maryland accident claims, including complex car accident cases. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule your free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Finds Transportation Department Not Liable for Misplaced Construction Barrel, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published February 2, 2018.
Appellate Court Reinstates Plaintiff’s Case After Finding Lower Court’s Evidentiary Ruling Was Improper, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published January 16, 2018.