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Navigating the Complexities of Expert Testimony in New Hampshire Personal Injury Cases

June 26, 2020

Sometimes when an accident occurs, it’s because of unpredictable circumstances beyond our control. However, sometimes tragedies occur because of the negligence of parties who have a responsibility to make public areas safe for passing pedestrians. These individuals may be held accountable for their actions through a New Hampshire personal injury lawsuit. In order to explain a complex accident situation to a jury, an expert witness is often needed during a trial. Unfortunately, plaintiff’s are frequently prevented from presenting compelling expert witness testimony.

In a recent First Circuit appellate opinion, a plaintiff was struck by a car while working in a construction zone. While attempting to cross the street after grabbing dinner, the plaintiff was standing on the roadway’s divider when traffic suddenly rushed towards him from both directions. The change in traffic trapped the plaintiff on the divider, where he was subsequently struck head-on by a westbound SUV. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff has become quadriplegic and will require extensive medical care for the rest of his life.

Following his accident, the plaintiff filed a negligent-design lawsuit against several entities responsible for the construction project that laid the backdrop for his injuries. He also retained a single expert to testify on the standard of care that these entities owed to pedestrians in construction affected areas. Through this expert’s testimony, the plaintiff hoped that he would be able to successfully establish his claim that the defendants’ negligence caused the accident to occur. The evidence that was going to be provided through the expert’s testimony was crucial to the plaintiff’s claim.

Halfway through the trial, the plaintiff’s negligence case collapsed because the district court moved to exclude their crucial expert witness based on procedural and evidentiary discrepancies. The lower court entered judgment in favor of the defendant, and the plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, the First Circuit reversed the district court’s decision and sent the case back to the lower court for further consideration. In its decision, the court held that the trial court erred by wrongly excluding the plaintiff’s expert witness. In evaluating the procedural and evidentiary discrepancies that the lower court claimed were grounds for striking the witness, the appellate court felt that the district court had applied the sanctions too broadly and with unnecessary severity, and remanded the case back for further consideration.

In New Hampshire negligent-design cases, experts are often necessary to educate the jury on industry-specific standards of care that entities owe to pedestrians and regular citizens. When bringing forth a personal injury claim where an expert witness is a crucial part of the case, ensuring that their testimony will be utilized and heard by the jury can often be a complex and challenging process. This is why potential plaintiffs should contact an experienced personal injury attorney who understands both state and federal laws governing procedural and evidentiary requirements to maximize your chances of receiving full compensation following an injury.

Have You Been Injured in a New Hampshire Accident?

If you or someone you love has been recently injured in a New Hampshire car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates. Our team is composed of experienced, compassionate attorneys who have worked with a diverse portfolio of personal injury issues and clients. Our firm has years of experience working with clients both behind the scenes and in the courtroom, which has given us the confidence to navigate even the most complex cases. Because we work on a contingency basis, we will not charge you for representation unless we successfully help you recover for your injuries. To schedule a risk-free consultation with an experienced attorney from our firm, call 800-804-2004 today.