When Is an Expert Witness Required in a Washington, D.C. Personal Injury Case?

Expert witnesses can provide useful testimony in a Washington, D.C. car accident case—and in some cases, their testimony is essential. Courts have held that in cases where the negligent conduct is “within the realm of common knowledge and everyday experience” a plaintiff does not need to present expert testimony to establish the standard of care or to prove that the defendant failed to meet the standard. However, in some cases, Washington, D.C. courts may require expert testimony to establish the standard of care, breach, or other issues.

If a case involves issues that are beyond the common knowledge of an average person, the court will generally find that an expert is essential to the case. For example, Washington, D.C. courts have held that an expert is required in cases that involve the operation of a juvenile detention center, the supervision of foster parents, the processing of credit card applications, and the maintenance of a water main system. A court has the discretion to admit or require expert testimony in a case.

In a recent case before another state appeals court, the court held that expert testimony was not required to rebut another expert’s testimony. In that case, the plaintiff had been injured in a car accident and filed a negligence claim against another driver involved in the accident, the owner of the vehicle, and an uninsured motorist claim against the plaintiff’s insurer. The plaintiff settled the claims with the driver and the owner but continued to trial against the insurer.

The plaintiff alleged that her knee was injured in the accident and that she had suffered an ACL tear. The woman called an expert witness, who testified that she suffered an ACL tear and that the injury was permanent. The defendant did not call an expert witness to rebut the doctor’s testimony. As a result, the court directed a verdict in favor of the plaintiff on the issues of causation and permanency.

The defendant appealed, arguing that it was not required to present an expert to rebut the plaintiff’s expert testimony. The appeals court agreed, holding that the trial court improperly directed a verdict on the issue of causation and permanency for the plaintiff’s knee injury claim. The court explained that there was other evidence that conflicted with the doctor’s expert testimony and that the jury could have discredited his testimony despite the defendant’s lack of an expert on the issue. The court found an expert was not required and that a jury could still have found in the defendant’s favor. Thus, the court erred in directing a verdict.

Contact a Washington, D.C. Injury Lawyer Today

If you have been injured in a Washington, D.C. car accident, contact an injury lawyer to have your claim evaluated. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The Washington, D.C. law firm of Lebowitz and Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, has over two decades of experience representing victims of medical malpractice throughout the Maryland and Washington, D.C. region. We will not recover any fees unless we obtain a settlement or a judgment in your favor. Call (800) 654-1949 or fill out a contact form online today to set up a free consultation.

Contact Information