While many Maryland truck accident cases do not require testimony from an expert witness, some do. Typically, these are the cases that present complex issues regarding causation. When a plaintiff intends on calling an expert, it is reasonable to assume that the defense will also present their own expert. It is important that Maryland personal injury plaintiffs anticipate testimony from a defense expert.
In a recent state appellate opinion, the court discussed the permissible scope of expert witness testimony that was designated as impeachment evidence. Impeachment is a term used to describe a party’s attempt to discredit an opposing witness by showing the jury that their testimony is biased or flawed.
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was arrested and placed in a county bus for transport. During the transport, the van struck a concrete barrier and the plaintiff was injured as a result. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the county. The plaintiff had been in one prior accident, and was involved in another accident after the bus accident, but before this case went to trial. The plaintiff provided notice that he was calling a medical expert.
At first, the county was not planning on calling an expert witness. However, after the plaintiff informed the defendant that he was involved in a subsequent accident, the county requested permission to call its own witness. The court granted the county’s request, but limited the county’s expert’s testimony to impeachment evidence. However, when the county’s expert testified, he listed several reasons why he disagreed with the plaintiff’s expert’s opinion. The plaintiff objected, and the court overruled the objection. Ultimately, the jury returned a verdict of just $5,000, and the plaintiff appealed.
On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the lower court improperly permitted the county’s expert to provide opinion evidence, which was beyond the permitted scope of his testimony. The plaintiff argued that this error was prejudicial in that the jury only awarded him $5,000.
The court agreed with the plaintiff, reversing the jury’s verdict and ordering a new trial. The court noted that the county’s expert was only to provide impeachment evidence, and that he testified to a list of reasons why he disagreed with the plaintiff’s expert. The court explained that the expert’s testimony went beyond the scope of impeachment, which consists of “testimony to the falsity or nonexistence of any fact used as the foundation for any opinion.” By listing the areas where he did not agree with the plaintiff’s expert, the county’s expert offered opinion evidence, which was not permitted by the court’s ruling.
Do You Need a Maryland Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we represent injury victims in all types of personal injury claims, including Maryland bus accidents, truck crashes, slip and fall cases, and wrongful death claims. To learn more about how our dedicated team of Maryland injury attorneys can help you pursues a claim for compensation, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.