Medical experts are expensive and drives up the cost of a trial for the plaintiff. Will the Doctor always have to testify? That question was the subject of discussion in March of this year, when the Kansas Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a personal injury lawsuit involving a motor vehicle collision. At the trial of the case, medical records were ruled as inadmissible unless there was actual testimony that the accident caused the treatment rather than a prior accident. The plaintiff had a two-car accident and received treatment for painful injuries to her back, torso, neck and head. The other driver admitted fault but denied that the collision resulted in any injury. The plaintiff intended to have lay testimony that the pains were different now than before. The district court judge decided expert testimony was needed.
In a lawsuit like this, the injured party must prove a duty is owed, a breach of the duty, causation between the breach and the injury, and of course that the plaintiff had damage. The issue was whether you had to have an expert testify. The court called the question a close call. The court went on to the next issue: whether the medical records were admissible. The court noted that the plaintiff did not include the medical records on appeal so the court could not decide the case and did not change the lower court dismissal.
The court left the door open under the right facts to present an entire auto accident case without expert testimony.