Recently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving an evidentiary ruling that precluded the plaintiff’s proposed expert witnesses from testifying. The case is relevant in Maryland truck accident cases because it illustrates how courts determine whether an expert’s testimony will be admissible and, thus, able to be considered by the jury.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff and her infant son were involved in a semi-truck accident. During the accident, the plaintiff’s vehicle was dragged under the side of the semi-truck’s trailer in what is known as a “side underride accident.” The plaintiff suffered serious brain damage as a result of the accident, and filed a personal injury case against several parties.
This particular case involved the lawsuit filed by the plaintiff against the manufacturer of the trailer. The plaintiff planned on presenting testimony of an alternate design that would have prevented, or at least mitigated, the plaintiff’s injuries through two expert witnesses. The expert witnesses intended on testifying about a telescoping side guard, which expands to protect other areas of the truck in the event that the truck’s sliding axle is in the rear position.
The experts based their opinion on the existing designs as well as computer simulations. However, the trial court granted the defendant manufacturer’s motion to exclude the experts’ testimony on the basis that it was unreliable. The plaintiff appealed the court’s evidentiary decision.
The Case on Appeal
On appeal, the court affirmed the lower court’s decision to preclude the experts’ testimony. The court explained that, although there had been designs for the telescoping underride guard for quite some time, the device had never been actually manufactured. Thus, there were not actual tests that had been performed using the telescoping underride guard. That being the case, the appellate court agreed that the experts’ testimony was unreliable and properly excluded from the jury’s consideration.
When a semi-truck is involved in an accident, other motorists in the immediate area are at risk of being wrapped up in an underride accident. An underride accident occurs when a vehicle collides with the rear or side or a semi-truck, and actually goes underneath the truck. Underride guards are required on the rear of all large trucks, and many trucking companies have installed underride guards on the sides and fronts of their vehicles. While these guards are not legally required equipment, studies have shown that these guards reduce the chances of fatal underride accidents.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a Maryland truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland truck accident attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience representing injury victims and their family members in all types of truck accident claims, including Maryland underride accidents. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a dedicated Maryland truck accident attorney.
More Blog Posts:
Maryland Roadside Truck Accidents, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published August 29, 2018.
The Dangers of Improperly Maintained Tires on Maryland Semi-Trucks, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published September 5, 2018.