Some Maryland personal injury cases present simple issues that are within the common understanding of the jurors. However, other cases present complex scientific or medical issues that may require the presentation of an expert witness who is familiar with that particular area.
It is important for Maryland personal injury plaintiffs to understand the law governing when an expert is necessary and the procedural requirements that arise when a party intends on calling an expert witness. A recent appellate opinion illustrates the consequences of not fully complying with the procedural rules pertaining to expert witnesses.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff asked her doctor to implant an intrauterine device (IUD) in her uterus as a long-term birth-control option. The plaintiff’s doctor agreed, and implanted the device in 2013.
Several years later, the plaintiff became dissatisfied with the IUD, and she asked her doctor to remove the device. The doctor attempted the procedure, however, as he was removing the IUD, the device broke and piece was left in the plaintiff’s body. The doctor later determined that removing the device would require the plaintiff to undergo a total hysterectomy.
The plaintiff filed a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the IUD. Believing that the issues in her case were straightforward, the plaintiff did not retain an expert witness. However, the state where the plaintiff lived required that an expert witness report be prepared in product liability cases where the issues presented are “not within the common understanding of a lay person.”
The defendant manufacturer asked the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s case due to her failure to comply with the expert-report requirement. The plaintiff unsuccessfully argued that the ultimate issue in the case was not beyond the common understanding of a lay person. In rejecting the plaintiff’s argument, the court explained that the issue was not as simple as establishing that the IUD broke when the doctor tried to remove it. Instead, the court explained, the question was why the IUD broke and what could have potentially been done to prevent it from breaking.
As a result of the court’s decision, the plaintiff’s case was dismissed and she will not be able to pursue compensation for her injuries from the manufacture of the IUD. Importantly, this case did not involve any claims made against the plaintiff’s doctor. Those claims, if they were made, would have been brought in a separate lawsuit.
Have You Been Injured by a Dangerous Product?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured due to a dangerous product, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland product liability lawsuit. At Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers, we represent injury victims in all types of Maryland product liability cases, including those involving medical devices. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney, call 410-654-3600 today. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
More Blog Posts:
Procedural Requirements in Maryland Personal Injury Cases Involving Government Defendants, Maryland Accident Law Blog, June 15, 2018.
Pre-Suit Requirements in Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawsuits, Maryland Accident Law Blog, June 1, 2018.