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New York Court Discusses Expert Testimony in Personal Injury Cases

It is not uncommon for a plaintiff in a personal injury matter to hire an expert to opine on the manner in which the defendant departed from the standard of care or otherwise caused the plaintiff’s harm. Even if expert testimony is not required it can often be helpful to help the fact finder determine the ultimate issues. A party seeking to introduce expert testimony must prove both that the expert is qualified and that their testimony will aid the trier of fact in understanding the issues, among other things. If they cannot meet this burden, their expert may be precluded from testifying, as shown in a recent New York opinion. If you suffered harm due to an accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may be owed damages, and you should confer with a Syracuse personal injury lawyer to evaluate your options.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff tripped and fell while exiting a plane owned by the defendant, fracturing her wrist. She was 87-years-old at the time of the fall. She filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, averring that she fell on a piece of metal that was part of the airplane doorway.

Allegedly, the defendant and plaintiff both engaged experts. The defendant moved to preclude the plaintiff’s expert from testifying pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and for summary judgment. The plaintiff opposed both motions, but the court ultimately granted them.

Expert Testimony in Personal Injury Cases Filed in Federal Court

Under Rule 702, the admissibility of expert testimony is permitted when a witness is qualified as an expert due to their skill, training, experience, knowledge, or education. If a person meets such qualifications, they can testify if their specialized knowledge will help the fact finder to understand the evidence or resolve a factual dispute, and their testimony is based on adequate facts or data and is the product of reliable methods and principles that the expert reliably applied to the facts of the case.

In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff failed to meet her burden of proof. While the plaintiff’s expert was an engineer, he did not have training or experience in the field in which he opined. Specifically, his understanding of how airplanes work was limited to his experience flying as a passenger. As such, the court found that he was not qualified to offer expert testimony and granted the plaintiff’s motion.

Speak to Trusted Syracuse Personal Injury Lawyer

Trip and fall accidents can cause significant injuries, and in many instances, they are the result of negligent maintenance of a property. If you suffered losses due to a fall, you may be able to pursue a premises liability claim, and it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer. The knowledgeable Syracuse personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers possess the skills and experience needed to garner favorable results in trip and fall cases, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us via our form online or by calling us at 315-479-9000 to set up a conference.

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