When you go to court in a personal injury lawsuit, you want to make sure you’re giving yourself every chance to obtain a successful outcome. Getting to that point may involve employing many different resources, including the use of an expert witness to provide opinion evidence that further strengthens your case. Whether your case needs an expert and, if so, which kind of expert is needed may be profoundly important questions. By retaining an experienced New Orleans premises liability attorney, you can get the knowledgeable answers you need to these and other questions as you navigate the legal process.
One recent premises liability case from the federal Eastern District of Louisiana (Case Number 2:16-cv-00383) provided a useful example of what you do (and don’t need) from an expert witness. The injured plaintiff, Tobie, was headed to a post office in Metairie when her accident happened. She slipped and fell on the sidewalk, suffering substantial injuries as a result. In fact, the fall was so bad it caused her to suffer a herniated disc, a concussion, and a tear in her shoulder that required surgery to address, according to a Louisiana Record report. These injuries led her to file a federal lawsuit to obtain compensation for her harm.
The key thrust of Tobie’s argument was that the walkway was not sufficiently textured, and this failure to provide adequate texturing caused the sidewalk to be slippery and unsafe (as shown by her slip and fall).
Both sides had expert witnesses to testify in support of their respective positions. The defense expert stated that he conducted slip-resistance tests and that the section where Tobie fell was well in excess of the slip resistance requirement established by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Tobie’s expert conducted a visual inspection and, based on that, determined that the area of the sidewalk where the woman fell was different and smoother than the sections surrounding it. This surface was more slippery and contributed to the accident, according to the expert.
The defense in Tobie’s case attempted to argue that it should receive a summary judgment in its favor. Its expert had conducted slip-resistance testing, while the plaintiff’s expert had only done a visual analysis. The fact that the plaintiff’s expert did not do the same tests as the defense expert proved that his opinions were improperly “conclusory,” according to the defense.
The court rejected the defense’s argument. The expert witness you retain does not have to have the exact same credentials as the defense expert, but they simply must be “qualified” under the rules of evidence covering expert witnesses. Additionally, your expert witness does not have to use the exact same methodology as the defense expert either. The law simply requires that the expert’s methods meet the legal standard for reliability, and, as long as they do that, the expert’s opinions are admissible.
If you’ve been hurt while on the property of another person or entity, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you suffered. Talk to the diligent Louisiana premises liability attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm, where we have spent many years providing our clients with helpful litigation techniques to achieve successful results.
For your confidential consultation, contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.
More Blog Posts:
Louisiana Court of Appeal Awards Damages to Parents in High School Student’s Sidewalk Slip-and-Fall Case, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, May 22, 2018
What You Should Know About Choosing A Louisiana Venue For Your Personal Injury Case, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Nov. 30, 2017