Earlier this month, a federal appellate court affirmed the dismissal of a product liability case against Kia Motor Corporation (Kia), based on the fact that the plaintiff presented no admissible expert testimony to meet the required elements. In the case, Sims v. Kia Motors of America, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision that the plaintiffs’ experts were unreliable, and thus their testimony was inadmissible. The court held that without the expert testimony, the plaintiffs were unable to prove their case, and it was properly dismissed.
The Facts of the Case
Sims was a backseat passenger in a 2010 Kia Soul. The driver of the Soul was involved in an accident that caused the vehicle to spin, colliding with several objects. At some point, the Soul collided with the immovable base of a “yield” sign. As the vehicle came in contact with the base of the sign, it sliced through the front bumper and pierced the gas tank. The vehicle began to leak gas.
The driver and front passenger were able to escape the car through their respective doors. However, the backseat passengers were unable to exit the vehicle because the rear doors were jammed. Shortly after the collision, the car went up in flames. Sims perished in the fire.
Sims’ surviving family members filed a wrongful death product liability lawsuit against Kia, arguing that the car manufacturer should have designed a gas tank capable of withstanding a collision without leaking gas and subsequently exploding. To support their case, the plaintiffs offered the testimony of two expert witnesses.
Kia reviewed the experts’ reports and asked the court to prevent the experts’ opinions from entering evidence, based on the fact that they relied upon unreliable methods. The court agreed and deemed the experts’ testimony inadmissible. Kia then asked the court to dismiss the case altogether because without the experts’ testimony, the plaintiffs failed to meet their burden. The court agreed, and the case was dismissed. The plaintiffs appealed, but the verdict was affirmed by the appellate court.
The Importance of Reliable Expert Witness Testimony
Many personal injury cases come down to expert testimony. Often, each side will present their own experts, resulting in what is known as a “battle of the experts.” In such cases, it is often the side with the more qualified and convincing experts that is victorious. For this reason, expert selection is a critical part of any personal injury case.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to help you cover the costs associated with being in an accident. This may include amounts for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident. The skilled personal injury attorneys at the Maryland law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience handling all kinds of personal injury cases, including those arising from car accidents and defective products. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up your free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
71-Year-Old Woman Struck by Electric Shopping Cart, Recovers $1.3 Million from Grocery Chain, Maryland Accident Law Blog, October 17, 2016.
Accident Victim’s Bad-Faith Claim Against Insurance Company Fails Based on Legitimate Dispute of Liability and Causation, Maryland Accident Law Blog, October 3, 2016.