In Maryland personal injury lawsuits, it is imperative that a plaintiff is not found to be even the slightest bit at fault in causing her injuries. This is because Maryland is one of the few states that applies the doctrine of contributory negligence when it comes to determining which plaintiffs are entitled to recover compensation for their injuries.
Under the doctrine of contributory negligence, a plaintiff is precluded from recovering for her injuries if the defendant can establish that the plaintiff shared some responsibility in bringing on her own injuries. This strict rule – disavowed in most states – can bar recovery for a plaintiff who is determined to be just 1% at fault.
Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a defendant’s claim that the plaintiff’s negligence played a role in her injuries. However, the court ultimately concluded that the defendant’s position was unsupported by any admissible evidence, and it affirmed the judgment in the plaintiff’s favor.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was a customer at the defendant day spa and had planned to have a chemical peel procedure. The plaintiff – who suffered from rosacea – completed the pre-procedure questionnaire indicating her diagnosis; however, the defendant aesthetician failed to review the plaintiff’s questionnaire prior to beginning the procedure.
The aesthetician performed the chemical peel, and the plaintiff’s skin was seriously damaged as a result. An expert witness testified on the plaintiff’s behalf, explaining that in his opinion, the plaintiff’s worsening rosacea was a result of the chemical peel.
The defendants also presented an expert witness, who planned on testifying that the chemical peel was not necessarily the cause of the plaintiff’s worsened symptoms. However, since that expert did not review pictures of the plaintiff prior to the procedure, the court deemed the expert’s methodologies unreliable and excluded the testimony. The expert also planned to testify that the plaintiff had stopped seeing her dermatologist and stopped taking the medication that was prescribed to treat her rosacea, and that this could have contributed to her worsening condition.
The defendant’s appeal centered on the admissibility of the expert’s testimony. Essentially, if the expert’s testimony was admissible, the defendant would have presented evidence that contradicted the plaintiff’s evidence, and judgment in the plaintiff’s favor would not have been appropriate.
The court, however, determined that the expert’s testimony was properly excluded. The court explained that the trial court had broad discretion in evaluating the expert’s qualifications and that a court’s exercise of discretion will not easily be disturbed. Here, the court was satisfied that the expert’s failure to review pre-procedure photographs of the plaintiff and the state of her condition called into question the expert’s methodology. Thus, the trial court was acting within its discretion when it precluded the expert from testifying. And without the expert’s testimony, the defendant had no evidence suggesting that the plaintiff was negligent.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland accident involving medical malpractice or negligence by a cosmetic specialist, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience representing victims and their families in a wide range of claims, including medical malpractice claims. We provide victims with free consultations at which we answer questions and explain how we may be able to be of assistance. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule your free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Holds Hotel May Have Voluntarily Assumed Duty to Provide Aid to Imperiled Guest, Maryland Accident Law Blog, February 15, 2018.
The Revisionary Power of Maryland Courts, Maryland Accident Law Blog, March 1, 2018.